With 17 seniors leaving the program, there are huge holes to fill on the Alabama State football roster for the 2013 season.
Most of those holes are on defense, but constant shuffling of the defensive line and injuries to the offensive line make those two areas a priority for signing day on Feb. 6.
“It’s so hard to get the type of guys you want, O-line wise and D-line wise,” ASU coach Reggie Barlow said. “You’ve always got to be looking for them and grab them a couple of them each year.”
The problem is, the best offensive linemen are 300-plus pounds and 6-3 or 6-4 for guards and 6-5 or 6-6 for tackles. There are similar numbers for the defensive side of the ball. But if those players are out there, they’re scooped up by FBS schools, leaving the FCS programs like Alabama State either grabbing leftovers or taking chances on players that are academic risks.
“We’ve got a lot of seniors so we’re going to have an opportunity to replace a lot of guys and it will definitely start with the O-line and the D-line,” Barlow said. “Then we’ll branch out and try to get some other guys lined up.”
There is always a need for receivers and the Hornets lost two (T.C. McWilliams and Landon Jones) from this year’s team, along with quarterback Greg Jenkins (a quarterback is on the recruiting list every year). Defensively, the Hornets have talented players at linebacker but will lose a pair of seniors at that position and in the secondary as well.
“I’m hoping to sign 20-25,” Barlow said. “Out of the 17 (seniors), I think about 13 were on scholarship but guys may leave or fail out.”
The recruiting season won’t heat up until late this month or early January when players start to commit, but already Barlow said he has heard from recruits about the controversy surrounding ASU president Joseph Silver. It’s a topic opposing coaches may use to steer recruits away from a program trying to highlight it new football complex and stadium.
“There have been some people asking about it,” Barlow said. “You try not to talk bad about anybody else’s program but you know it’s going to happen in recruiting. But we’ve assured everybody that all you have to do is look around and see the type of progress we have going on here.”