A program chock-full of talent at every single position, Alabama possesses perhaps the deepest roster in all of college football.
As such, it isn’t easy for a true freshman to come in and play an integral role for Nick Saban — despite how decorated the athlete may be. In the case of Alabama’s 2016 class, it’s perhaps the best collection of high school talent one program has put together. Within the group, there are four signees capable of not only playing right away — but impacting the depth chart.
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The defensive back out of Mississippi is a ridiculously talented athlete. He played all over the field on both sides of the ball for his high school program. While defensive back is where Knott will call home in college, he also figures to impact on special teams in the return game.
Alabama does return a lot next year in the secondary. Cyrus Jones and Geno Matias-Smith graduate, but the rest of the rotation is essentially intact. Knott will also be battling fellow freshmen Aaron Robinson, Shyheim Carter, and Jared Mayden for playing time.
With that said, Knott has potentially the highest upside of the group, and has special traits athletically. Don’t be surprised to see him impact on special teams — as both a returner and as a gunner in kick coverage.
Perhaps the crown jewel in a class full of diamonds, Davis is an immensely talented athlete. An Alabama legacy, he possesses the size, aggressiveness, instinctual prowess, and maturity to contribute right off the bat.
From a depth chart standpoint, Alabama graduates Reggie Ragland, Denzel Devall, and Dillon Lee from its linebacker corps. Rashaan Evans and Shaun Hamilton figure to see an increase in snaps, but Davis shouldn’t be counted out from this equation.
At the very worst, he should be in line for second-string snaps.
The top-ranked offensive lineman out of the state of California according to Rivals.com, Williams figures to fight in order to crack Alabama’s two-deep.
Right tackle Dominick Jackson has graduated — opening up a spot in the starting lineup. Junior college transfer Charles Baldwin also likely will be in the running for the vacated spot.
Williams — an early enrollee — is exceptionally athletic for a player his size. His combination of length and lateral agility is rarely seen on the high school level. His ability to be an early enrollee into Tuscaloosa is massive from a development standpoint. Not only has he began the acclimatization process, but Williams has already immersed himself in Scott Cochran’s vaunted conditioning program.
Emmons may be one of the more under-the-radar backs in the entire Southeast. He terrorized prep defenders during his time at Freedom High School in Morganton, North Carolina.
Emmons is a bigger running back with a wide base. His one-cut-and-go style fits in quite nicely with Alabama’s offensive scheme. Although not a burner, he does possess above-average speed.
With Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake headed to the NFL, there’s an opportunity for Emmons to come in and compete with the likes of Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough for play time.