Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Early enrollees show true face of program’s future

Leave it to National Signing Day to make a man’s world revolve around someone else’s fax machine.

As big-time recruits announce their decisions, fan bases across the country will stay glued to cameras fixed on their fax machines to watch the signed letters of intent roll in and begin the countdown to those players arriving on campus in August.

My message to them: Wipe the drool from your face. If the class coming into your school is going to win a national championship, the big pieces are already on campus.

Student-athletes that elect to skip the spring semester of high school or junior college to report early to a major football program in order to enroll early, begin taking classes and be eligible for spring practice are, to follow the cliché, the future.

The benefits a coaching staff sees from a recruit that comes to school a semester early are remarkable. These recruits get to experience taking college classes before they have to balance it with their first college football season. They get to be around the team and build up the ever-so-important team chemistry, as well as learn the playbook so their transition to the college game is as smooth as possible.

The biggest benefit of being an early enrollee is being eligible for spring practice. These young pups get to be there and soak in the valuable lessons in fundamentals and mindset that coaches tend to instill in their players in spring practice, which puts them a step ahead of the rest of their recruiting classmates when they make their debut appearance on campus.

Look at the success that early enrollees have had in recent memory. Auburn’s national championship run in 2010 revolved around an early enrollee, some guy named Newton. Ever heard of him?

Early enrollees even made an impact for the Tigers last season, as the eventual winner of their quarterback battle, Clint Moseley, was an early enrollee alongside Newton.

The most recent owners of the coveted crystal ball have early enrollees to thank as well. The world’s most frightening Aussie, Jesse Williams, came to the Capstone early from Western Arizona Community College. Williams started from day one of the Crimson Tide’s national championship run.

Two other early enrollees were Trey Depriest and Vinnie Sunseri. Depriest was named Southeastern Conference co-Freshman of the Week for leading the team with 10 tackles in his college football debut against Kent State. Sunseri ended the season eighth in overall tackles with 31 and second in special teams tackles with 11.

Alabama’s early enrollees for the Class of 2012 are a stellar bunch, as well, including running back T.J. Yeldon, considered the second-best running back in the country according to Yeldon was Auburn’s best recruit until he made the switch to the Tide on Dec. 18.

Also arriving in Tuscaloosa early with Yeldon are Amari Cooper and Chris Black, considered the sixth and eighth best wide receivers in the country according to Alphonse Taylor also arrived at the Capstone early. He was considered to be the 16th best prospect from the state of Alabama according to

So, while you are watching Travell Dixon and Cyrus Jones sign with the Tide from Arizona and Maryland, respectively, thinking you’re seeing the future of Alabama’s next championship run arrive right before your eyes, you probably are.

But, let’s not forget that the future of Alabama’s wide receiving corps, Cooper and Black, could be watching the same television you are — at the table right next to you.

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