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January 17, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Alex Scarborough

Alex Scarborough
  (12:01 PM)

Welcome to another hour-long chat about all things Alabama football. I'll abstain from any Manti Te'o jokes ... for now. Let's jump right into it. Fire away with your questions.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,N)

What Alabama College Football Players are Declared for the 2013 NFL Draft?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:04 PM)

A relatively light list of scholarship seniors: NG Jesse Williams, LB Nico Johnson, DE Damion Square, DE Quinton Dial, C Barrett Jones, G Chance Warmack, FB Kelly Johnson, S Robert Lester, K Jeremy Shelley. Throw in juniors RB Eddie Lacy, CB Dee Milliner and RT D.J. Fluker.

Darren (Decatur, Georgia)

Alex do you see any incoming freshmen having the same success as a Yeldon and Cooper next season and if so, who?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:08 PM)

I don't know if I expect the same kind of record-breaking success as Yeldon and Cooper. What they did as freshmen does not happen often. Of the incoming freshmen this year, I see a few as having the potential to make an impact: TE/H O.J. Howard is a freakish athlete at a position Alabama needs help at, ATH Derrick Henry is a five-star who enrolled early and certainly has the talent to play, CB Maurice Smith is entering a position with some needs depth wise but waiting to enroll after the spring could set him back too far in terms of learning the playbook.

J.R. (Atlanta)

Alex,Who do you see filling the voids on the O.L. and to what extent will JUCO/s and true freshman play a role?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:11 PM)

Ryan Kelly is a shoe-in at center. Barrett Jones said more than once that Kelly is more talented than him. Of course talent is only one part of the equation, though. I'd project Arie Kouandjio to slide in at guard for Chance Warmack, but it could be at RG and not LG. I wouldn't be surprised if RG Anthony Steen slid over to the left side to play next to Cyrus Kouandjio. The right tackle position vacated by D.J. Fluker is the wild card. Sophomore Austin Shepherd is the front-runner but juco Leon Brown and prep school product Brandon Hill have a chance to compete for the job.

Saban nation (Mobile )

Who do you see Alabama finishing their recruiting class with?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:13 PM)

Oh boy, I knew this question would be coming. I would have said Tim Williams out of Baton Rouge, La., but that obviously happened earlier than I expected. The recruits I'm keeping an eye on are OT Laremy Tunsil, LB Reuben Foster and DT Eddie Vanderdoes. You'll have to keep an eye on TideNationESPN.com for the latest as it's always a fluid situation. Signing day can't come soon enough.

Phillip (A stadium near you)

Alex, even though Bama has won the past two national championships, teams have to always find a way to improve.. What improvements do the 2013 team have to improve on from the 2012 team if they going to make a visit to Pasadena?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:16 PM)

First and foremost, restructuring the offensive line. If that doesn't come together nothing will. After that, I'd say there needs to be improvement made in the secondary and with the pass rush. And another thing I'm keeping a close eye on is the evolution of the offense. With a senior at quarterback and a deep, talented group of receivers, will offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier open up the offense even further. Not to constantly plug TideNationESPN.com, but I wrote about that very topic today.

Saban nation (Mobile )

Is Eddie Williams' switch to safety permanent or will he go back to receiver?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:17 PM)

I'd imagine it's where he'll start in spring camp but nothing I wouldn't say it's set in stone. I do, however, believe it's the best spot for him with his size and athleticism. He's very raw, but he reminds me physically of a young Mark Barron.

jd (andalusia,al)

What about Liner? Is he a lock for bama?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:17 PM)

Should have mentioned him. I'd say Alabama fans have a lot to feel good about with Dee Liner.

Hi (Atlanta)

Something I was thinking about during the season: with Saban's reputation as a great DB coach and Alabama's great recruiting classes how did we reach a point where this season we only had one really good and reliable cornerback? It just seemed odd that that would happen. I'm sure they would've liked to have another good cb so they didn't have to rely on Sunseri so much in coverage.

Alex Scarborough
  (12:19 PM)

There's two sides to that. One is the NFL draft. If Dre Kirkpatrick came back for his senior season, we wouldn't be having this discussion. But your point is still reasonable. I think it had something to do with former juco signee Travell Dixon not panning out like they'd hoped as well as Saban's particular nature about signing cornerbacks. He wants a specific type of guy with the right mindset to play under him and that's hard to find.

Austin Spraggins (Birmingham, AL)

Who do you think will be the punt return man next year with the struggles of C. Jones and Cy. Jones?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:21 PM)

My money -- if I had any -- would be on Christion just because of the seniority factor, but what he did in the title game didn't help his cause. He continues to take a lot of risks on punt return, something I'm sure Saban isn't fond of. With that said, I think Cyrus has a good shot to not only stay on the kickoff return team, but possibly steal the punt return duties from Christion.

Darrin (Birmingham, AL)

Bama has only 21 recruits so far ... does this mean they have some big surprises in the next 3 weeks? Do we have any idea of how many of the top 20 undecided recruits might end up in Tuscaloosa?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:22 PM)

I wouldn't read into it that way. Alabama hasn't seemed intent to sign a full class from the beginning. There could be a few late signees to fill things out, but either way I'd have to think the staff is happy with what they have.

Daniel (Birmingham)

What will Alabama need to do next year in order to make the season a three-peat?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:22 PM)

See the answer on improvements below. The No. 1 thing, though, is that offensive line.

Perknee (Columbia, SC)

Why did Spurrier hint that Saban might go to the pros on the Dan Patrick show. Were there serious rumors about this in Tuscaloosa or was this just classic Spurrier playing head games?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:24 PM)

More of the head ball coach being the head ball coach, I'd say. There were reports of Saban pondering a move back to the NFL but they were always thin. He's publicly closed the door on the NFL enough times now that we ought to start paying attention.

Sheldon (Atlanta, GA)

Does Bama score another 5 star recruit? If so, who?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:25 PM)

The possible uncommitted five-stars remaining are Eddie Vanderdoes and Laremy Tunsil. While I'll stop short of saying Alabama will land both, I like their chances of getting at least one.

Terrell (Parts Unknown)

From Tunsil, Vanderdoes, Bell, Foster, Thomas, and Liner, which ones does Alabama sign?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:28 PM)

The most likely is Liner, in my opinion.

Elbert (Mexico)

Who do you think will replace Nico, Dee and Robert?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:30 PM)

C.J. Mosley will become a full-time starter at inside linebacker, thus replacing Nico Johnson in the base defense. As far as a young gun coming up in his place, I'd keep an eye on Reggie Ragland. As far as Dee Milliner, I expect Geno Smith to compete for his job at starting cornerback. Robert Lester's vacated safety position is an interesting one. I want to see how Landon Collins progresses, but don't count out a more seasoned guy like Nick Perry beginning the season starting at safety with Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix.

Greg S. (Cookeville, TN)

Do you think we get Von Bell ?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:31 PM)

Shoot, you never really know with these things. I like Alabama's chances better than most.

Jacob (New Orleans)

In the final 3 quarters we beat Texas A&M 24-9. Something tells me Nick and Kirby and company are going to figure that out offense by the 3rd week of the season this upcoming fall. Your thoughts?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:32 PM)

My thoughts? They still lost the game so the final three quarters don't mean much, and when they absolutely needed a stop late in the game they didn't get it. Is that a bit of a harsh criticism? Yeah, you could say that, but Alabama does need to figure out the spread offense and how to stop the trouble uptempo offenses give them.

Keenan (Atlanta, GA)

Would you add Jon Fulton to the list with Travell Dixon of corners that didn't pan out? Do you think he will step up his senior season now that Milliner is gone? Or be passed over again by another juco corner similar to year's past?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:33 PM)

I don't want to rule him out while he's still on campus, but I think his career thus far hasn't gone the way most had thought it would. He will have a dogfight on his hands with Geno Smith.

Harrison (New York)

Alabama Basketball- With the SEC being "down" does Alabama have a shot at winning the SEC tourney?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:35 PM)

Too early to say. Starting off 2-0 in league play is a nice start but they still have serious issues with depth and inside play.

dave (ATL)

Rueben seems very interested in bama again. Thoughts?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:36 PM)

I'd say he's definitely considering the Tide. He knows that as a linebacker there are few schools that have a better chance at sending him to the NFL than Alabama. Don't count out UGA, though.

Scratches (D'ham, NC)

Looks like the Tide is stocking up on a lot of good QBs. I think we'll end up with too many, and someone will end up transferring to another school when they don't get their chance to play. Do you think this'll happen, and if so, who's gonna be the odd man out?

Scratches (D'ham, NC)

Looks like the Tide is stocking up on a lot of good QBs. I think we'll end up with too many, and someone will end up transferring to another school when they don't get their chance to play. Do you think this'll happen, and if so, who's gonna be the odd man out?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:39 PM)

I don't think that's necessarily a forgone conclusion, but if one does I think it will be Phillip Ely. He's still young and could see a better chance at competing for a starting job elsewhere.

Saban nation (Mobile )

Who do you think will win the backup QB job? Sims has played so far but the true competition seems to be between Alec Morris and Cooper Bateman.

Alex Scarborough
  (12:40 PM)

I think we'll see Morris end up No. 2 on the depth chart and the staff try to redshirt Bateman. If McCarron were to go down, the competition would be wide open and at that point I would not count out a true freshman.

Charles (NY)

Who's the next starting QB after AJ leaves?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:41 PM)

Morris is the front-runner because he'll have more experience, but Bateman will be right there.

Scratches (D'ham, NC)

Is Kirby Smart staying in T-town next season for 100% sure? Is there any way you see him leaving before then?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:42 PM)

He's staying. I don't see any scenario where he leaves before the end of next season.

Hi (Atlanta)

What do you think happened with Lester this year? It seems he was exposed this year as being a weak link. Was there enough talent in previous seasons to help cover his weaknesses?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:43 PM)

I don't know if I'd go as far as to say he got "exposed." He still played quite well and improved on his interception numbers from a season ago. He didn't play as well as I thought he would, though, and I do think that has something to do with not having Mark Barron to play alongside.

Scratches (D'ham, NC)

What do you think of Del Rio? He turned down scholarships from other schools to walk on and start class early in Tuscaloosa. He's also in there with some higher rated QBs. Think he'll play, or end up transferring?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:45 PM)

I find it hard to imagine a walk on transferring. He knows the situation he's walking into. That said, I don't see him beating out Morris or Bateman in the long run.

Brad (Atlanta)

Who do you think will be starting on the DL next year? And will any of the recruits have a chance to play early to give us a better pass rush?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:47 PM)

I think we'll see Ed Stinson, Brandon Ivory and Jeoffrey Pagan starting out but it's always going to be a deep rotation. I don't know, though, if I see a true freshman playing on the line. Jonathan Allen and Tim Williams are both listed as DEs but they'll likely play outside linebacker at Alabama.

tonytider (hsv)

is montravius adams coming to Bama ?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:49 PM)

Too close to call. I'll take this opportunity to have you all follow our recruiting expert Greg Ostendorf's stories on TideNationESPN.com and follow him on Twitter at @GregO_ESPN. He's got the inside scoop.

Greg S. (Cookeville, TN)

What about Denzel Devall ? Seems like he will play alot next year ? What do you think ?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:50 PM)

He'll most definitely play at linebacker. He was a bright spot among the youngsters on defense this past year.

Hog (Wagon)

what chances do you give Alphonse Taylor of winning Warmack's guard spot next year?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:51 PM)

He's my darkhorse candidate. The only thing holding him back is experience. Remember he started out on the defensive line. Physically, though, he reminds me a lot of Warmack.

Brad (Atlanta)

How about a kicker question: What can we expect from Griffith? Will he share duties with Foster or does he have the leg to take all kicks?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:52 PM)

He could very well end up the short-range kicker behind Foster like Shelley did. He's looked good in practice, but we all know the true measure of a kicker is how he handles the pressure during games.

Sheldon (Atlanta, GA)

Any insight on how Dee Hart is doing or what we can expect from him next season?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:53 PM)

We saw him quite a bit during bowl practices rehabbing along with all the other players who suffered knee injuries. He seems to be coming along well but after two knee injuries in two years, he's got to be considered a major question mark.

Scratches (D'ham, NC)

What's the O-line looking like next year?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:54 PM)

My projection: LT Cyrus Kounadjio, LG Anthony Steen, C Ryan Kelly, RG Arie Kouandjio OR Alphonse Taylor, RT Austin Shepherd. Leon Brown and Brandon Hill will be fighting an uphill battle learning to play right tackle.

Mike (Columbus, OH)

Now that we know Logan Thomas is coming back to VT, what are your early thoughts about the 2013 season opener in Atlanta?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:55 PM)

Tough game. Although Thomas hasn't shown he can put it all together yet, it's hard to question his talent. The Va Tech, TAMU back-to-back schedule is a difficult one.

Keenan (Atlanta, GA)

Do you think Zach Mettenberger will build on his stats/progress at the end of the SEC season and light up the inexperienced Bama secondary?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:57 PM)

Hard to say after the up and down season he had last year. He has the talent to do well against SEC defenses but doesn't show up routinely. He reminds me of Mark Sanchez in that respect. That said, I don't see him throwing for just shy of 300 yards again against Alabama, if for nothing other than the game being played in Tuscaloosa this go round.

Hog (Wagon)

is Xzavier Dickson possibly going to lose significant playing time next year at the Jack?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:58 PM)

I wouldn't say that. I think he played quite well last season. He needs to improve, sure, but the raw talent and pass rushing ability is there.

Greg S. (Cookeville, TN)

Do you think LaMichael Fanning finally turns it onnext year ?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:58 PM)

He's too tough to read. Physically, he looks like an All-SEC guy. On the field, however, the light hasn't turned on. I question whether it ever will, but if it does watch out. He's what a defensive end is supposed to look like.

Mike (Columbus, OH)

How is dillion lee looking ?

Alex Scarborough
  (12:59 PM)

Good, but that screw up missing curfew and being sent home from South Florida was not a good way to head into the offseason.

Alex Scarborough
  (1:00 PM)

Well folks, that's all the time I've got. Come back at the same time and place next week and we'll do it again. If you can't wait, come find me at TideNationESPN.com or on Twitter at @AlexS_ESPN. Cheers!