- Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer
During the summer, TideNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Alabama roster -- excluding the Tide's 2013 recruiting class -- in our Crimson Countdown series. Starting with No. 1 Dee Hart, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Brandon Ivory.
No. 85 Malcolm Faciane
Redshirt sophomore tight end
Expectations for 2013: He's got the raw size and talent you want to see in a tight end, but Faciane hasn't evolved into the playmaker on offense many imagined when he signed with Alabama in 2011. The former No. 4-ranked tight end prospect out of Mississippi saw the first action of his career last season, playing in eight games last season as a backup to Michael Williams and Brian Vogler. And while he could see a rise up the depth chart in 2013, it's not expected he'll start for the Tide.
Best-case scenario: At 6-foot-5 and 267 pounds, Faciane compares favorably to Williams, who started three seasons for the Tide. If he can improve in the passing game, Faciane's playing time and role in the offense could expand. Ideally, offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier could use him the same way he did Williams, where he served as a short-yardage and red-zone passing target while often staying on the line to block as what amounted to a third offensive tackle.
Worst-case scenario: With Vogler and Harrison Jones already ahead of him on the depth chart and freshman O.J. Howard quickly coming on, look for Faciane to remain an option off the bench in jumbo packages and late in games. Until he makes his first career catch, it's hard to project him coming out of nowhere to make an impact for the Tide in 2013.
Future impact: It's not going to be easy for Faciane to break through in the coming seasons as both Vogler and Jones have two seasons of eligibility remaining and Howard is just now getting his start in Tuscaloosa. Should Alabama sign Tyler Luatua, the No. 1 tight end in the ESPN 300 and brother of current Alabama offensive lineman Isaac, Faciane could be looking at an even steeper hill to climb.
During the summer, TideNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Alabama roster -- excluding the Tide's 2013 recruiting class -- in our Crimson Countdown series.