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Friday, May 17, 2013
Crimson Countdown: Chris Black

By Alex Scarborough

During the summer, TideNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Alabama roster -- excluding the Tide's 2013 recruiting class -- in our Crimson Countdown series. Starting with No. 1 Dee Hart, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Brandon Ivory.

No. 5 Chris Black
Redshirt freshman wide receiver

Nick Perry
While Amari Cooper starred as a freshman, wide receiver Chris Black (in crimson) had to sit out with a shoulder injury.
Expectations for 2013: For a guy who didn't play a single down last season, Black has some high expectations. Most of the hopes pinned to the speedy wideout from Jacksonville, Fla., can be traced to last spring, when he entered camp alongside fellow freshman Amari Cooper. Black, who was rated slightly higher than Cooper by most recruiting services, wowed the Alabama coaching staff and appeared poised to make an instant impact on offense. Instead, he hurt his shoulder, missed the season and watched from the sideline as Cooper set all kinds of rookie records. Now he's back and eager to prove the hype was worth something.

Best-case scenario: If he can stay healthy -- a legitimate concern when competing at 5-foot-11 and 182 pounds in the SEC -- Black has the tools to be a special player for offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. He's lightning quick, runs good routes and has the kind of hands that cradle the ball as if it were tossed as lightly as an egg at Easter. Given Chrisiton Jones' troubles catching passes, stabbing the ball as opposed to cradling it at times, there's a chance Black could leap up the depth chart and steal the job as the starting slot receiver.

Worst-case scenario: Of course, there's more to it than raw talent. Black has the tools, but he has to show he can handle the intangibles as well: grasping the offense, developing a rapport with AJ McCarron and blocking downfield. If he does those things and can find a way off the trainer's table, he'll be in good shape.

Future impact: Because of the medical redshirt last season, Black has a full four years of eligibility remaining. He and Cooper have the chance to form what could be a devastating combination at receiver for years to come. He will, however, deal with some intense competition at the position as Alabama has continued to recruit very well, pulling in the No. 2 wideout in the 2013 class in Robert Foster and a guy in Raheem Falkins who looks like a diamond in the rough.