Evan Neal Sheds Light on His Replacement
While the story of the day was certainly the incredible performances from Alabama's participants in this year's Pro Day, the show must go on for the Crimson Tide, and next year's team has many open spots to fill, most notably the two tackle positions.
Speaking to media following his impressive showing at Alabama's 2022 Pro Day, Neal was asked about the players who will be tasked with replacing him and Chris Owens this coming season for the Crimson Tide, and gave a response that many fans may not have expected.
Speaking on which players he has seen stepping up into the two open offensive tackle spots, Neal said, "When I went out to watch spring practice, I saw Kendall Randolph working at tackle and I saw JC Latham working at the opposite side. But you never know, coaches rotate guys and see what the best fit is. I do know those guys are extremely hard workers, so they're definitely gonna be in good hands."
Read More: Crimson Tide Position Preview: Offensive Line |
Neal did not specify which position each player was seeing reps at, but considering Randolph has never seen snaps at left tackle his entire career, the assumption that he would line up on the right side is not a far stretch.
While Latham is certainly a name that many Tide fans may expect to hear, Randolph is one that is a bit more intriguing. The former four-star from Madison, AL has the leg up in experience on any of the Tide's other options, entering his sixth season with the program, but his build is somewhat undersized for that of a typical tackle.
Randolph stands at 6-foot-4, 298 lbs., which is certainly not small, but is not quite as physically imposing as many of Alabama's other options at the position. Looking at another player that saw reps at right tackle in 2021, Amari Kight outweighs Randolph by nearly 25 lbs. and stands three inches taller.
While a slight size disadvantage can certainly be made up for with pristine technique, Randolph has also not seen much meaningful time at the tackle position, rather being used as a blocking tight end in goal line and short yardage sets, so could lack the experience necessary to overcome his smaller size.
Clearly; however, despite what Randolph may lack in size or experience at the tackle position, Nick Saban feels comfortable enough with his current body of work to allow him to make a push for the job. Whether or not Randolph secures a role as a starter on Alabama's offensive line will have to wait to be seen, but for now the sixth-year graduate is certainly a competitor for it.