Alabama post-NSD/pre-spring position outlook: Tight ends

Courtesy of Alabama Athletics

With the departures of Irv Smith Jr. and Hale Hentges, Alabama has a bunch of question marks at tight end

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Like with any football team the University of Alabama’s roster and depth chart are always somewhat fluid as players come and go, improve, or in some cases don’t.

One the positions that Nick Saban may be interested in adding a graduate transfer for immediate help is tight end. Alabama added one player in recruiting, who won’t arrive until the summer, and tried to land another on National Signing Day.

Instead, the Crimson Tide will head into the spring with just four tight ends on the roster, one of whom will likely miss the start of the season due to a suspension. In terms of depth it might be Alabama’s biggest concern.

“We're constantly going to have our eyes peeled for anybody that can help us have a better team,” Nick Saban said. “But I think when you're looking at these kind of guys, whether they're graduate transfers or whatever, for their sake and yours, they have to be able to come in and contribute. They need to go someplace they can play, and we need for them to play.”

Alabama has the need, but finding someone who could come in over the summer, learn the offense and be ready to go for the season opener against Duke on August 31 would be a tall order.

Regardless, here’s how the position group shapes up:

Miller Forristall: The redshirt junior has the most experience with 33 games and played in all 15 last season after coming off a knee injury. Miller didn’t have a reception in 2018, but did field a couple of short kickoffs. Listed as 6-5, 240, he has three career receptions for 19 yards.

Kedrick James: Was primed to challenge for a starting spot, but was one of three players suspended for the College Football Playoff for violating an NCAA rule. He could sit for the first month of the season as well. James (6-5, 263) is big and versatile, yet played in just five games in 2018. “Kedrick is one of the freakiest guys on the team as far as physical prowess goes,” Forristall said last August. “I mean he’s huge and he can run and he can jump, and I’ve seen him throw a ball like 65 yards standing still. He is athletically, like, tremendously talented, and he’s got huge potential.”

Major Tennison: The 6-5, 246-pound junior got some more playing time while helping fill in for injured Forristall in 2017, but he’s only played in nine career games and has two receptions for 21 yards.

Michael Parker: He redshirted last season and is still listed as 6-6, 224 pounds, so his development in the weight room will likely be a big factor in regards to potential playing time. He caught 43 passes for 812 yards and nine touchdowns across 11 games as a senior at Westminster Christian in Huntsville.

Jaheel Billingsley: Recruited out of the Chicago area he’s listed as 6-4, 216, but is athletic and has good speed. He was the first player from Illinois signed by the Crimson Tide since 1997 and he played in the Polynesian Bowl along with some of his future teammates.

This is the fourth story in a series on BamaCentral:

Quarterbacks

• Running backs

• Wide receivers

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