Freshman to watch: Alphonse Taylor
Taylor chose the Crimson Tide over offers from Florida State, Auburn and Georgia. He was a PrepStar All-Southeast Region selection following his senior year. He was a consensus four-star prospect by all major scouting networks and was selected to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.
The 6-foot-5, 340-pounder spent most of his high school years on the defensive line. Heading into spring practice, Taylor was one of the many players who was thought to be in the running for the nose tackle spot.
For a good portion of spring practice Taylor worked with the interior defensive linemen. Senior Jesse Williams seemed to take Taylor under his wing and tried to give him advice to guide him along during certain drills. Williams spoke highly of Taylor’s strength and size, which gives him a clear advantage at the position as he towers over nearly every other lineman in the unit.
It wasn’t long after Taylor began to make a lasting impression in his competition with Brandon Ivory to be Jesse Williams’ backup that head coach Nick Saban moved Taylor to the offensive line at left guard. The switch came a little more than a week before the Tide’s annual A-Day Game.
“I’m so excited for him playing guard, man. He’s an exciting player,” said Chance Warmack during spring practice. “He knows a lot already. Came in with a positive attitude. Just want to take him up under my wing and help him as much as I can.”
“He’s a really athletic guy. You can’t really tell, but he’s really athletic and real quick for his size. I respect his level of play already, as a freshman,” Warmack said. And he isn’t the only one. Nick Saban noted that the move to left guard was on a trial basis, but it would appear that Taylor’s work at left guard may provide him the ability to see the field sooner.
Warmack is a senior, and if Taylor continues to progress at the spot it will be interesting to see if the coaching staff keeps Taylor at left guard to prepare himself to replace Warmack somewhere down the road. The Tide has a number of options at both the interior defensive line positions as well as at left guard, but with Taylor’s massive size he definitely fits the mold of offensive linemen in past Nick Saban-offenses.
“He’s going to be really special someday – sooner than you think,” Warmack said of Taylor during the spring. Whether its this season or next, Alphonse Taylor is a name to remember and a player to keep an eye on. He should be pretty easy to spot.
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