2012 brings yet another crop of star-studded signees to Tuscaloosa . This comes as no surprise as Nick Saban has clearly established such success as being nothing more than an annual routine . This class includes quality players at every position and is particularly strong on the defensive side of the equation with 5 new defensive linemen , 5 linebackers and 4 defensive backs . The Tide was also able to land a high profile kicker . On offense , Alabama brings in 1 quarterback , 2 running backs , 4 receivers and a tight end . There are 3 offensive linemen included as well , but one could eventually end up moving over to the defensive line at some point . This does provide some genuine cause for concern since in a perfect world many to most schools would prefer to sign at least 4 offensive linemen each and every year . One immediate and already available option would be talented freshman defensive line signee Alphonse Taylor who is already enrolled and participating in Spring practice . If not , the Alabama coaching staff could always end up heading back to the JUCO circuit in search of the next James Carpenter in order to eliminate any upcoming gap along the offensive front .
1 (26) OL/DL - Caleb Gulledge - 6'4" 270
Prattville HS - Prattville , AL
Alabama-Mississippi All-Star participant .
ASWA 6A All-State selection .
Overview: Gulledge is the latest addition from the pipeline than has become Prattville High School . He committed early on in the process after having received an official offer before his junior season . He’s a rangy kid who played on both sides of the ball in high school . Caleb chose Alabama over Florida State .
What he brings: Gulledge is an intelligent player with good technique . He’s versatile and uses his hands extremely well which can help him on either side of the line of scrimmage .
2012 Outlook: Caleb’s versatility , much like former Prattville star and Alabama lineman Kyle Tatum , could prove to be a big plus or it could tremendously hinder him due to the lack of having a true position . However , his intelligence could allow for him to pick up the playbook quickly enough to possibly become a viable option if a rash of injuries were to hit the offensive front . That said , the most likely and best case scenario for Gulledge would be redshirting this year while applying his lunch pail work ethic towards adding more mass .
His film brings back memories of former Tiders Paul Hogan and , to a lesser extent , Kyle Tatum .
1 (25) DL - Dakota Ball - 6'1" 280
Pepperrill HS - Lindale , GA
GSWA 2A All-State selection .
Under Armour All-America participant .
Overview: With the recent departure of Nick Gentry it's ironic that Alabama coaches managed to sign a player who is pretty much identical as Ball is solid combination of run stuffer and inside pass rusher . Dakota chose the Tide over offers from Georgia , Tennessee , South Carolina , Georgia Tech and Clemson .
What he brings: As indicated above , some of the same intangibles recent Bama grad Nick Gentry brought to the field will be seen from Dakota Ball . He’s simply a slightly larger version of Gentry . He's tenacious at the point of attack , a relentless pass rusher who uses his hands and pad level to gain leverage . Ball is able to fend off blockers very well for a player of his size .
2012 Outlook: With all of the defensive line depth already on campus it will be a tall order for Dakota crack the rotation at any point this Fall . While a redshirt season is expected , there is a slim opportunity for Ball to become an instant factor inside on passing downs .
On film Dakota has the look of former Tiders Nick Gentry and Jarrett Johnson .
2 (24) K - Adam Griffith - 5'10" 175
Calhoun HS - Calhoun , GA
GSWA 2A All-State selection .
Semper Fidelis All-America participant .
Overview: Griffith is a kid with a powerful leg who committed to Alabama early in the process . In much the same manner as the backup quaterback is often the most popular man on campus , Adam has drawn heavy interest from eager fans ever since the 2011 kicking debacle of missed kick after missed kick against LSU . Needless to say , his arrival is much anticipated . Griffith selected Alabama over Georgia , LSU and Vanderbilt .
What he brings: Griffith has a huge leg . His leg strength appears to be on par with Cade Foster’s coming out of high school , only better along with more accuracy . In addition , he gets the ball up quickly and puts a good deal of hang time on his kicks .
2012 Outlook: With 2 incumbent kickers on campus , it’s tough to see where Griffith will fit in right away . He could likely perform at a higher level place kicking than Cade Foster , but Foster’s size and experience as a linebacker make him a better last line defender in the event that kick coverage breaks down . Adam might be an immediate improvement in terms of combined accuracy and strength over Jeremy Shelley , but when it comes down to crucial kicks Shelley has a huge edge in experience . However things shake out , be it August or on into the early part of the season , the competition should make each player better . A redshirt season is probable .
Adam will remind fans of Ryan Pflugner and the more recently departed Jamie Christensen .
2.5 (23) OL - Brandon Hill - 6'5" 345
St. George's HS - Collierville , TN
2A All-State selection .
Overview: Hill is a mammoth offensive tackle in need of across the board conditioning and develpement as his stature alone was more than enough to assure success on the high school level , but is not nearly enough to close any deals in the SEC . Brandon pledged his services to Alabama over offers from Georgia , Mississippi State , Ole Miss and Kentucky .
What he brings: Size , size and more size . Brandon does not have the best footwork in the world right now and is generally lacking when it comes to overall athleticism and technique .
2012 Outlook: While one can never completely count a player out , Hill is a near lock to redshirt this season while dedicating his time to conditioning and more conditioning .
Brandon is built similarly to current Tider DJ Fluker and should somewhat remind fans of former offensive tackle Will Cuthbert .