During spring practice, head coach Tommy Tuberville stated that he wanted to find 25 players on defense that he thought could play. With the season just around the corner, it's time to speculate who those 25 players might be (for offense and defense) and how they might fit into the grand scheme of things. This is not a top 25 list and the players are not listed in any particular order other than they're the top 25 players who I think will make an impact on each side of the ball. We'll alternate between offense and defense.
Here's my top 25 for the offense. Tell me who should have made the list and who shouldn't have made the list. Reasons in the comments why would be most helpful.
Offense: 25-21 (IR Cornelius Douglas; TE Bo Whitney; RG Deveric Gallington; QB Steven Sheffield; C Justin Keown) | 20-16 (OL Beau Carpenter; RB Harrison Jeffers; IR Austin Zouzalik; OL Chris Olson; WR Lyle Leong) | 15-11 (WR Derrick Mays; LT Mickey Okafor; QB Taylor Potts; WR Alexander Torres; RB Eric Stephens) | 10-6 (LT Terry McDaniel; WR Shawn Corker; RB Baron Batch; IR Tramain Swindall; IR Detron Lewis) | 5-1 (LG Lonnie Edwards; WR Jacoby Franks; WR Eric Ward; OT LaAdrian Waddle; TE Ryan Haliburton)
And just in case you're wondering, here's who made my "just missed" list:
OL Kyle Clark, OL Joel Gray, TE Julia James, WR Aaron Fisher, WR E.J. Celestie, and RB Benjamin McRoy.
And just to give you some insight into my thought process, when I started doing this bit, I thought that this would be relatively simple, especially for the offense, but what I found was that it was tough coming up with 25 players that I thought would make an impact this year. Here's a few things that I think that I thought as I made the list:
*Lack of Depth at OL: Because of the relative lack of depth at offensive line, players like Gray and Clark aren't mentioned much by the staff, although by this time next year, we're going to either see some true freshmen step up (Tony Morales) or Clark or Gray will need to step up their play;
*Versatile Line: The offensive line has players that move around quite a bit, except for the center position. The players along the line are versatile which leads to the need for fewer players to be included (i.e. Olson is the starting right tackle right now, but he's also the back-up center);
*Solid Two-Deep at WR: The fact that the receivers are a solid two-deep would seem to keep some of the younger players like Corker, McRoy, Fisher, and Celestie, on the sideline.