TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The start of fall camp for Alabama football is upon us.
The Crimson Tide is slated to hit the field on Thursday for its first practice of the 2017 season. Alabama’s annual Fan Day is scheduled for Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
This season, Alabama has the weapons to put up historic offensive numbers under new coordinator Brian Daboll.
Players such as Jalen Hurts, Bo Scarbrough and Calvin Ridley are expected to have big seasons, but who else can Alabama count on?
Here are five unsung offensive players who could have breakout seasons:
Josh Jacobs | RB
Josh Jacobs seems to make plays every time he touches the football. He’s elusive and catches the ball exceptionally well out of the backfield.
Last season, Jacobs rushed 85 times for 567 yards and 4 touchdowns while averaging 6.7 yards per carry, second among Tide running backs. He added 14 receptions for 156 yards. He was selected as the SEC Freshman of the Week following his performance against Kentucky.
Making his first career start against the Wildcats, Jacobs ran 16 times for 100 yards while catching 3 passes for 44 yards — all career marks. He also added a touchdown on the ground.
Jacobs is the change-of-pace running back Alabama’s offense needs.
Robert Foster | WR
Foster, a redshirt senior wide receiver, was considered a 5-star prospect (according to the 247Sports composite) during the 2013 recruiting cycle, but has only 21 receptions for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns in his career.
Some of that lack of production was due to injury and having others ahead of him on the depth chart, but Foster didn’t always do the little things it takes to be successful at Alabama.
This is Foster’s last year on campus so there is no room for error. Foster should be the No. 2 option behind Calvin Ridley. Foster is arguably the fastest player on Alabama’s football team.
Foster totaled 115 yards and a score on 2 catches during Alabama’s A-Day spring game. He’ll need to build on that going forward.
Miller Forristall | TE
Miller Forristall projects to be an obvious replacement for O.J. Howard as a pass-catching tight end. Forristall caught 5 passes for 73 yards as a true freshman last season.
A former high school quarterback, Forristall has the size (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) and athleticism to be a tough matchup for defenses.
Jonah Williams | LT
Some would argue that Jonah Williams had a breakout year as a true freshman last season, but he was overshadowed nationally by teammate Cam Robinson. With Robinson gone to the NFL, Williams slides from right to left tackle for Alabama football.
He became the second true freshman to start at tackle during Nick Saban’s tenure at Alabama. Robinson did it in 2014.
Saban once called Williams one of the smartest offensive linemen he’s been around. He even mentioned Williams has what it takes to play center, if necessary.
Lester Cotton | RG
Lester Cotton had an up-and-down season in 2016. He earned a starting job after Alphonse Taylor was hurt, and started five games before injuries sidelined him.
From there, Cotton was moved to the backup spot at right tackle and never made his way back into the starting lineup as Korren Kirven replaced him at right guard.
This spring, Cotton lined up at right guard with the first-team offense. He started there during Alabama’s A-Day spring game. It would appear that he has locked up that spot.
Alabama worked Cotton at right tackle at times in case of emergency, but his power on the inside could help the Crimson Tide’s running game. If given the reps at one position, Cotton could develop into a standout offensive lineman.