Sidelines with John Clay

Former Lafayette star Jedrick Wills could start Alabama’s season opener

Former Lafayette star Jedrick Wills displayed the jersey he wore in the ninth annual Under Armour High School All-America Game on Jan. 1 in Orlando, Fla. Wills is in competition to be a starting tackle for Alabama in the Crimson Tide’s opener against Florida Stat eon Sept. 2.
Former Lafayette star Jedrick Wills displayed the jersey he wore in the ninth annual Under Armour High School All-America Game on Jan. 1 in Orlando, Fla. Wills is in competition to be a starting tackle for Alabama in the Crimson Tide’s opener against Florida Stat eon Sept. 2.

When Lafayette five-star offensive tackle Jedrick Wills signed with Alabama back in February, the thought was the true freshman might have to wait his turn to make an impact with the perennial national power.

That may not be the case.

Talking to the media after the Crimson Tide’s practice on Thursday, head coach Nick Saban said Willis is competing with Matt Womack to be the team’s starting right tackle for Alabama’s opener Saturday night against Florida State in Atlanta.

“Jedrick has really done a good job for us. He’s very athletic, he’s physical,” said Saban, according to SEC Country. “I think he’s going to be a really good player. I think he’s in competition with Matt at right tackle. It’ll be interesting to see how he progresses this week, and if he does get an opportunity in the game, I’m sure we’ll watch closely to see how he responds when he gets in a competitive situation being a freshman.”

[Jedrick Wills receives Under Armour All-America Game jersey]

Cam Robinson in 2014 and Jonah Williams in 2016 are the only two true freshman to start at offensive tackle during Saban’s 10 years in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama beat out Kentucky for Willis, a 6-foot-5, 31-pounder who was rated as the No. 7 offensive tackle prospect and No. 34 prospect overall for the Class of 2017 by 247Sports.

Womack is a 6-7, 316-pound sophomore from Hernando, Miss. who redshirted in 2015. Womack played in nine games last season as a backup.

On Monday, Chandler Rome reported for the Montgomery Advertiser reported that Wills was starting to make his presence felt.

“A guy with huge potential,” left guard Ross Pierschbacher said of Wills. “Even if he’s not taking the right footwork, he’ll still blow a guy off the ball. It’s stuff you can’t teach that he has. He’s got a very bright future and a guy like him being a young freshman who didn’t even come early, just trying to work with him and have him learn as much as soon as possible.”

Alabama 2017 football schedule

Date

Opponent

9/2

vsFlorida State

9/9

Fresno State

9/16

Colorado State

9/23

@Vanderbilt

9/30

Ole Miss

10/7

@Texas A&M

10/14

Arkansas

10/21

Tennessee

11/4

LSU

11/11

@Miss State

1/22

Mercer

11/25

@Auburn

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