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Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Crimson Countdown: Harrison Jones

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. 82 Harrison Jones
Redshirt junior tight end/H-back

Expectations for 2013: Jones saw the field plenty his first three years on campus, but he never really had an opportunity to start until now. Michael Williams' three-year tenure as the Crimson Tide's starting tight end had something to do with thatm and now that Williams is gone, the logjam at the position is over. After playing 10 games last season, Jones is in position to expand his role in the offense and possibly start in 2013.

Best-case scenario: He's not flashy, he's not overwhelmingly athletic and he's not what you'd call a threat in the passing game. One career reception pretty much tells the story of Jones' ability in the open field, but it doesn't tell the entire story. Because of his intangibles -- a solid blocker with experience in the system and a firm grasp of the playbook -- Jones has a leg up in the race to start opposite Brian Vogler, who is projected to start at tight end.

Worst-case scenario: Jones faces plenty of competition for playing time, though. Malcolm Faciane has the potential to be a more physical blocker and O.J. Howard has the potential to be a far more athletic option at the position. In fact, keeping Howard off the field his freshman year might not be an option because of his ability to stretch the field and create matchup problems for the defense. And that's not to mention the possibility of running back Jalston Fowler taking snaps at H-back where the staff can utilize his ability to run, block and catch the football out of the backfield.

Future impact: It seems as if it's only a matter of time before traditional H-backs such as Jones are made to be outdated by expanding offenses and dynamic athletes such as Howard and Fowler who can do multiple things on the football field. Still, Alabama's offense will always need strong blockers like Jones in goal line and red zone packages. At the very least, Jones provides a strong option off the bench and on special teams for the Tide over the next two seasons.