College football season is a little over four months away, ‘Bama fans. It is as good of a time as any to learn a little bit more about the next crop of star players who will be lacing ’em up on Saturdays for years to come. Nick Saban is eyeing another championship run and if the Crimson Tide wins No. 16, these players will certainly be major reasons why. We profiled the three potential future stars for Alabama who we believe will succeed the most in Tuscaloosa.
Bo Scarbrough: 5-Star, Running Back, 6-foot-2, 225 lbs.
As a recruit, Scarbrough was considered an “athlete”, and he will begin his time in Tuscaloosa as a running back, though he also has high school experience as a receiver. Nick Saban explained the decision after signing Scarbrough back in February:
“We think Bo is a multi-talented guy but we look at him as a running back first… He has really a diverse skill level for a big guy, he’s a physical guy. He has really good running ability but he also has great receiving skills. He’s actually played as much wide receiver as he has running back.”
His weight is somewhat of a mystery – various sites have him listed as light as 215 pounds, while others have him as heavy as 234 pounds. This could certainly factor into how he’s used in Alabama’s offense. One thing that isn’t a question with Scarbrough, however, is his speed – he can fly. With his combination of size and quickness, expect him to give SEC defenses nightmares for years, no matter where he lines up.
Scarbrough doesn’t seem to have a major preference towards a specific position: “I think I bring a lot to the table…I can be a (feature) player for that offense. I can play wide receiver. I can play tight end. I can play running back. As long as it’s on the offensive side, I can do it.” Fans of the Crimson Tide must be pretty excited about a player with Scarbrough’s versatility, especially considering the running back depth that already exists at Alabama. The ability to play multiple spots could help the freshman reach the field early.
Da’Shawn Hand: 5-Star, Defensive End, 6-foot-4, 262 lbs.
Hand is a powerful athlete with elite size and speed, but descriptions of his motor and work ethic are what should get ‘Bama fans the most excited. By all accounts, he’s a smart and motivated player with ambitions outside of football, too. Much like Bo Scarbrough, Hand is a versatile player. He will most likely have his hand in the dirt for the Crimson Tide, but can play standing up as well. As a sophomore in high school, he recorded 21 sacks on the varsity team – now imagine him three years older and stronger. He has the potential to make an early impact for Saban’s squad and don’t be surprised if he comes in and tries to outwork the upperclassmen. Hand’s high school position coach John Harris was effusive in his praise of the blue-chip defensive end:
“Da’Shawn is the type of kid that will come by on a Saturday morning and my doorbell will ring and it’s him like, ‘Come on coach, I’m ready to lift weights… His dream is to become an engineer and design stadiums and buildings just as much as it is to get to the NFL. I think Alabama did a great job of understanding both dreams.”
Hand chose Alabama over more than 90 other schools that extended offers, including other powerhouse programs like Florida and Michigan. His father Sharif is certainly glad the recruitment process has ended. “I’m glad it’s over with,” Sharif said. “More importantly, I think any one of the schools would have been a great decision. … I’m still taking it in now. I’m definitely proud of him.”
Hand was the No. 1 player at his position across the board and one would be a fool to think he won’t succeed on the collegiate level. Not only is he a premier football player, he is a kid who values his education and endeavors outside of the game. Hand’s high school coach, Karibi Dede at Woodbridge high school in Virginia, said “he’s an explosive player with a champion’s mindset, which I think will help him fit in very well at Alabama. But he’s also one of the smartest, most hard-working kids you’ll ever meet.” As you can tell, Hand is the type of player that may very well end up as a captain for Alabama – do not be surprised if that happens sooner than later.
David Cornwell: 4-Star, Quarterback, 6-foot-5, 235 lbs.
Cornwell is next in line as a prototypical Alabama pocket passer and is looking to carry on the legacy of that position in Tuscaloosa. He possesses the right body type and seems to have the right mind set. He is humble and isn’t looking to change what has worked at Alabama. Cornwell knows that Saban’s system is one that has a proven track record of success. “I know they have their system, and I’m not going to be that recruit that interrupts that,” Cornwell said, “Whatever coach Saban says, goes.” It is interesting that Cornwell graduated high school in Norman, Ok., but did not receive a scholarship offer from the Sooners. That is a possible chip on the quarterback’s shoulder.
Growing up, Cornwell’s family moved around a lot between various football-crazy states. He has lived in Nebraska, Florida, Oklahoma, and will make Tuscaloosa the next stop in his football education. “I’ve been so many places,” Cornwell said, “but I always take the positive memories. And I’ve always had that focus. Even when nobody else thought it could happen, I always knew I could play college football.”
It wasn’t always so clear that Cornwell would be playing college football. His former offensive coordinator at Millard South, Trevor Longe, said “He was a good kid, a smart kid, but you wouldn’t have said as a freshman, ‘Now, that kid’s going to get to the Division-I level.’ He’s been through a lot of fires,” Cornwell proved his mental toughness and maturity in 2011, when he sacrificed a year of football to help take care of his mother, who faced a serious illness, which his family has chosen to keep undisclosed. After her health improved, he returned to the sport. After an impressive season and camp in Tuscaloosa, Cornwell received his offer from Saban’s staff.
Cornwell is still learning and improving his arm, as any quarterback his age is. When his physical abilities finally catch up with the maturity he possesses, look out. Cornwell went through more adversity in 2013, missing most of his senior season after an early October knee injury, but he should be healthy for practice this summer. I don’t think it will shock anyone if Cornwell seizes his opportunity to start for the Crimson Tide in the near future. He is the type of person you don’t bet against.