Friday, February 1, 2013
The Uncommitteds: Laremy Tunsil
By Alex Scarborough
Editor's note: From now until signing day, TideNation will examine the remaining uncommitted prospects still considering the University of Alabama. Today, we look at ESPN 150 offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- That vacant spot at right tackle is calling. When D.J. Fluker decided he would forgo his senior year and enter the NFL draft, he left Alabama with some pretty big shoes to fill.
The 6-foot-6, 335-pound former All-SEC selection won't be easily replaced. And he's just one of three offensive linemen who left Tuscaloosa in January.
While that might spell worry for the hopes of the offense as a whole, it also means opportunity for early promotions, and an added draw for potential recruits like ESPN 150 offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
OT Laremy Tunsil has the size to walk in and replace D.J. Fluker on Alabama's offensive line.
"I feel like I could step in at either [Georgia or Alabama] and play early," Tunsil said a few weeks ago. Georgia, Ole Miss and Alabama are all after the Florida native.
The five-star prospect has the frame (6-foot-6) and mass (295 pounds) to contribute right away. The last time Alabama landed an offensive lineman ranked as highly as Tunsil was two years ago in Cyrus Kouandjio.
And like Kouandjio, Tunsil is waiting until the last minute to decide where he'll be attending college. He's set to announce at 9:35 a.m. CT on ESPNU.
What his commitment would mean ...
Right now the front-runner to replace Fluker at right tackle is sophomore Austin Shepherd. The former three-star recruit took all the second-team snaps at the position this past season and performed well in mop-up duty. But if Tunsil chooses Alabama, the competition would become heated. Junior college signee Leon Brown will have his say, as will prep school product Brandon Hill, though neither boasts the same type of credentials Tunsil possesses on the hoof.
While it remains to be seen just how quickly Tunsil can grasp a playbook, his talent on the football field speaks for itself. Much like Kouandjio in 2011, he would likely be brought along slowly and worked into the rotation as he shows the necessary development. As his scouting report points out, he's raw but "shows very nice promise and his best football certainly seems ahead of him."
Even if he didn't play right away, he'd bring depth to a position that can never have enough of it. Alabama signed just one offensive tackle last year (Brandon Greene) and one the year before (Kouandjio).
Last we heard …
For the longest time it was just Alabama and Georgia as the top two schools in the hunt. After a trip to Oxford, Miss., this past weekend, the Rebels shocked many and entered the fold.
"Oh man, it surprised me a lot," Tunsil told ESPN following the visit. "I didn't think they would have many things to show me, but it was real good. I didn't think their facilities were like that. They showed me all of that. I didn't think the program would change as fast as it has."
Alabama coaches will make their final push with Tunsil early next week.