Alabama finishes spring practice with its annual A-Day game on Saturday. ESPN will broadcast the game at 2 p.m. Central time with Joe Tessitore, Kirk Herbstreit, Joey Galloway and Laura Rutledge on the call.
With the pain still fresh from Alabama’s loss to Clemson in the national title game, Tide fans will get their first good look at some new faces the team likely will rely on heavily this fall. Here are five players that all Alabama fans should keep a close eye on Saturday.
WR Robert Foster
The buzz: Foster, a fifth-year senior, arrived at Alabama as a can’t-miss five-star signee. But after four years on campus, he has only 21 receptions for 215 yards and two touchdowns. The bulk of that production came in early 2015, when he had earned a spot in the receiver rotation before a shoulder injury cost him the final 12 games of the season. Foster has good speed (4.47 in the 40) and has a max bench press of 355 pounds. With one season of eligibility remaining, it is now or never for the Pennsylvania native.
CB Trevon Diggs
The skinny: After spending his true freshman season at wide receiver, Diggs (6 feet 2, 195 pounds) appears to have successfully made the switch to cornerback. All signs point to Diggs starting opposite Anthony Averett when the Tide opens up against Florida State. With the expected format on Saturday being starters vs, starters and backups vs.backups, expect Diggs to be tested vertically by Calvin Ridley as well as on jump balls by 6-foot-5 Cam Sims. Diggs has big-time athleticism, but on Saturday we will see how his technique and instincts measure up.
QB Tua Tagovailoa
The skinny: Not since Tim Tebow arrived in Gainesville in 2006 has so much attention been paid to a true freshman quarterback backing up an all-conference player. Tagovailoa enrolled in January and a lot of hype came with him. Jalen Hurts’ late-season struggles as a passer last season have given life to a supposed quarterback controversy in Tuscaloosa. Tagovailoa should shine Saturday, and hopefully Hurts will as well. Tagovailoa likely will open the season as the backup, but his performance Saturday will give us an indication of how soon he will be ready to step in if his name gets called this fall.
RB Brian Robinson
The skinny: Robinson is the “other” true freshman running back on campus, along with Najee Harris. While Robinson did not bring the same type of fanfare as Harris, he seems to be turning as many heads this spring. Robinson is a Tuscaloosa native who has taken advantage of opportunities provided by some injuries in the backfield. Robinson (6-2, 210) showed he has more than power in his game when he ran a 4.41 in Alabama’s spring testing. Robinson will get carries this fall — and maybe as many as Harris, if not more. I would expect both will get plenty of carries Saturday.
OLB Terrell Hall
The skinny: Much of the talk surrounding the 2017 Alabama defense is how it will replace all the production lost up front. The short answer is it won’t. But Hall wis an interesting prospect. The 6-5, 250-pound edge rusher has a motor to match his physical traits. He has a frame that will allow him to play at 270 pounds without losing a step. After recording only one sack as a true freshman last season, expect Hall to show on Saturday why he anticipates double-digit sack totals this fall.
(You can follow Chris Reier on Twitter @seeryer)
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