Alabama Crimson Tide: Demarcus Walker

LB Kain Daub has two out in front 

February, 23, 2013
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ESPN Watch List linebacker Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) is zeroing in on two programs.

A former commitment to LSU, the 6-foot-2, 243-pound linebacker is still looking at the SEC West, but also an ACC program.

The O-zone: Replacing DeMarcus Walker 

January, 9, 2013
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- On Wednesday, seven recruits enrolled early at the University of Alabama, nine if you include walk-on quarterback Luke Del Rio and converted baseball player Jai Miller, but one player was significantly absent -- ESPN 150 defensive end DeMarcus Walker.

Walker committed to the Crimson Tide in August, and his plan was to leave for Tuscaloosa the day after the BCS Championship Game where he would enroll early. However, he flipped his pledge to Florida State immediately after the game, following former UA assistant coach Jeremy Pruitt to Tallahassee. He arrived on FSU’s campus Tuesday.

With Walker no longer a part of the class, Alabama will look to replace him and add at least one, if not two elite defensive linemen. This week’s O-zone breaks down potential options along the defensive line and also takes a look at who's all visiting the Capstone this weekend.

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Walker flips from Alabama to FSU 

January, 8, 2013
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ESPN 150 defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) decided to stay in-state after all...in Tallahassee.

"I prayed," Walker said. "I just had to follow my heart. I am committed to Florida State University."

In a shocking last-minute switch, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound senior flipped from Alabama to Florida State and announced his decision just moments after the Crimson Tide defeated Notre Dame 42-14 to win back-to-back BCS National Championships. He will enroll in school tomorrow according to Sandalwood head coach Adam Geis.

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UA Game: Breaking down the Tide 

January, 4, 2013
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The University of Alabama was well represented at the Under Armour All-America Game this week with six commitments. The Crimson Tide contingent didn’t just show up during the practice sessions. They made an impression. ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill was in Florida all week, and he breaks down each and every Alabama pledge.

QB Cooper Bateman (ESPN 150 -- No. 89)
Bateman has exhibited some leadership qualities this week that we have not seen from him before. Each day he has made huge strides and you can see very clearly that he has some intangibles that you cannot coach. The physical tools are present, but there is a presence about him within this group that is magnetic. He has been as advertised and even exceeded expectations in some areas.

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#UAGame practice: Day 4 notebook 

January, 3, 2013
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With just a player walk-through Thursday, things were relatively easy in Day 4 of practice at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports. A four-star defensive tackle gave further explanation about his decision to decommit from an SEC school, several players talked about who impressed them the most, and an ESPN 150 safety changed his decision date.


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4-star DE Walker torn between Bama, UF 

January, 1, 2013
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Four-star defensive end commit DeMarcus Walker (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) is torn between Florida and Alabama. The 6-foot-4, 271-pound four-star athlete has been committed to Alabama since August but will visit Florida this upcoming weekend.

Walker, the No. 4-ranked defensive end in the country, said the loss of Alabama secondary coach Jeremy Pruitt to Florida State was a big loss to him.

"For me it was a real big loss," Walker said. "Because that's the coach who I trusted the most out of their whole staff. Seeing that he left it was kind of hard."

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DeMarcus Walker wavering? 

December, 30, 2012
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Four-star defensive end DeMarcus Walker (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) will take an unofficial visit to Florida this upcoming weekend.

The 6-foot-4, 271-pound ESPN 150 member has been committed to Alabama since Aug. 24, but Walker said taking a trip to Florida has been on his mind for a while.

"It's just been on my mind for a long time," Walker said. "Even though I've already taken a 1,000 visits, I'll just take another one."

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Forecasting the Tide: Linebacker 

December, 27, 2012
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the linebackers.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama didn't lack for options at linebacker this season. What the Crimson Tide lost in experience from a year ago, it made up for with depth. Their best and most productive linebacker wasn't even a starter technically.

C.J. Mosley, the junior inside linebacker who leads the team with 99 tackles, wasn't the clear-cut No. 1 at his position. Instead, he shared time with either Nico Johnson or Trey DePriest depending on the formation and down and distance. Next season he won't have to. It's part of the reason why he put the NFL on hold and announced last week that he would return for his senior season.

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The O-zone: Fitting the pieces together 

December, 19, 2012
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TideNation recruiting writer Greg Ostendorf brings you another edition of The O-zone, a confidential look inside Alabama recruiting. Get the latest updates from the gridiron and the hardwood as it pertains to the Crimson Tide.

Staying home?

ESPN 150 wide receiver Robert Foster is set to make his decision on Friday between Alabama and Pittsburgh. Many people believe the Pennsylvania native is leaning toward staying close to home and playing for the Panthers, but don’t count out the Crimson Tide just yet. His father wants him to play at Alabama so he can one day play for a national championship. He also enjoyed his official visit to Tuscaloosa during the season, so much so that he nearly committed the week after. More than anything, he felt comfortable when he was in Alabama. The news of wide receiver Eldridge Massington’s commitment to UCLA late Tuesday night could also be an indicator that the UA staff feels a little more confident about Foster than they’re leading on. Foster indicated to ESPN’s Jared Shanker this week that he’s already made up his mind. He’s just waiting to go public with the decision.

Spot available

Sources say that ESPN 150 tight end Josh McNeil will not qualify for Alabama, which opens up a scholarship for the Tide to offer in the 2013 class. McNeil visited LSU over the weekend, but it’s more likely that he ends up going the junior college route. There were academic issues before he committed but Alabama took a chance on him, hoping he get it resolved by going up to Milford Academy in New York. With McNeil now off the board, the Tide have turned their attention to Arkansas tight end commitment Hunter Henry. Henry says the UA coaches have been by to see him nearly every week for the last month. He took his official visit to Alabama in November and plans to take one to Arkansas in January.

Safety help


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Introducing the class: DeMarcus Walker 

December, 18, 2012
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Editor's note: This is the first installment in a series that introduces Alabama's 2013 recruiting class.

In August, ESPN 150 defensive end DeMarcus Walker committed to Alabama in front of millions on national TV. He chose the Crimson Tide over offers from Auburn, Florida, LSU, USC and many others. Since his commitment, he's trimmed his weight in an effort to play the Jack linebacker position. He plans to participate in the Under Armour All-America Game next month and will enroll early at UA.

DeMarcus Walker
Derek Tyson/ESPN.comTide commit DeMarcus Walker shows off his Alabama gear on the night of his commitment.
Q: What made you commit to Alabama?

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Forecasting the Tide: Defensive end 

December, 18, 2012
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the defensive ends.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The defensive line has been a veteran unit at the University of Alabama this season, highlighted by seniors Damion Square and Quinton Dial. The duo has helped the defense uphold its lofty status as the tops in the country in yards allowed. Their ability to rush the passer as well as help in run support is something that comes only with age and experience -- knowing how and when to maintain their lanes and gap assignments.

But when Square and Dial leave for careers beyond The Capstone, who will inherit their positions on the defensive line? How will their replacements balance the desire to sack the quarterback with the responsibility of maintaining the integrity of coach Nick Saban's intricate 3-4 scheme?

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Tracking the Tide: Xzavier Dickson

December, 12, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Alabama's date with Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship, we will review the season for a key Crimson Tide player and attempt to project what’s next for him. Today we’ll look at linebacker Xzavier Dickson.

No. 47 Xzavier Dickson
Outside linebacker
33 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks

Role in 2012: Dickson was the starting Jack linebacker and one of the top pass-rushing threats for the Crimson Tide.

The good: The sophomore had some very large shoes to fill with the departure of Courtney Upshaw, who was picked at the top of the second round by the Baltimore Ravens. While he wasn't as dominant as his predecessor, Dickson filled in admirably considering he recorded just three tackles in seven games last season. The former four-star prospect showed glimpses of the tools necessary to play the Jack position: size, strength, agility and a high motor. He saved his best game of the year for last, tallying two sacks against Georgia in the SEC Championship.

The bad: While Dickson was able to get pressure on the quarterback in some games, others he struggled to get upfield and affect the opposing offense. Consistency has eluded the first-time starter. He'll need to learn to shed tackles better and bring it every week to make the jump from good to elite.

Crystal ball: Just because Dickson started at Jack this season doesn't mean he's destined to continue there next year and beyond. Alabama has recruited linebackers with the tweener linebacker-defensive end mold very well, which means that much more competition. Ryan Anderson, a former four-star who redshirted this season, will have a say. So will Denzel Devall, who was able to make a significant contribution off the bench this season. It's possible recruits like DeMarcus Walker and Jonathan Allen could make a run at early playing time as well.

Recruiting: Early impact commitments 

December, 4, 2012
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Saturday proved that no stage is too big for freshmen in college football. The freshman trio of Amari Cooper, T.J. Yeldon and Geno Smith all played pivotal roles in the win over Georgia, and showed how important last year’s recruiting class is to this year’s run at the national championship.

Whether or not Alabama defeats Notre Dame in Miami, the Crimson Tide will have the same goal next year, and they are hoping the 2013 class can provide the same type of instant impact.

Three names to keep an eye on

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Recruit reaction: SEC championship 

December, 3, 2012
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama is headed to its third national championship in four years after an epic clash with Georgia in the SEC championship.

The instant classic made an impression on the top recruits as well.

ATH Derrick Henry (Yulee, Fla./Yulee): “I thought it was a good game. I thought it was one of the best SEC championships that I’ve seen. Both teams fought to the end, and I love seeing something like that. I love seeing both teams hungry for a win. I thought both teams fought really hard.

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Derrick Henry helps Tide recruit Tunsil 

November, 21, 2012
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Nick Saban has never had any trouble when it comes to recruiting. But he’s getting a little extra help with the recruitment of five-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Henry
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.comDerrick Henry (above) is helping Alabama recruit Laremy Tunsil.
Ever since ESPN 150 stars Derrick Henry and DeMarcus Walker committed to Alabama at the beginning of the season, they have been doing their part to help lure their friend and fellow Florida native to Tuscaloosa.

Recently, Tunsil visited UA for the Texas A&M game, the same weekend Henry was in town. Henry had already taken his official visit to Alabama earlier in the year, but he spent most of his time talking with Tunsil on this go-around.

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