July 4, 2008

10 Impact Signees: Tyler Love

With Alabama drawing the Rivals.com No.1-ranked signing class in the nation last February, anticipation runs high among fans waiting to see how an especially gifted group of newcomers melds with a group of veterans with some obvious depth concerns. BamaOnLine.com bridges the 'dog days' of summer with a countdown of 10 signees - published in ascending order - who could have the most impact on the 2008 season. The listing is influenced by the Crimson Tide's depth at the positions they are expected to play, not just prep credentials.

#8 - Tyler Love

Position: Offensive line.
Size: 6-7, 305 pounds.
High school: Mountain Brook.
Rivals.com rating:

The film room: Love's athleticism, at his size, is especially impressive. He pass blocks with ease, and noted in an interview with BOL in May that his pass blocking may be slightly ahead of his run blocking. He can pull on sweeps, rare for a tackle, and make the block on a linebacker in open space. Despite being 6-7, he gets good leverage in the run blocking game and collapses defenses with his downblocks.

Who is in front of him: If he competes at left tackle, Andre Smith and Scott Deaton; if at right tackle, Drew Davis and Taylor Pharr.

Climbing the depth chart: Of course there will be no unseating Smith, owner of the Jacobs Trophy, at left tackle. Depth behind Smith is short, however, particularly with the loss of Charles Hoke, who had just moved to the offensive line in the spring before a shoulder injury ended his playing career. On the right side, where freshman playing time for Love would seem more attainable opposite Smith, he would compete with Davis and Pharr. Neither Davis nor Pharr has any significant experience, but both made strides in the spring, especially Davis. Whether Love starts out on the left or right side will be an interesting side note to the first day of practice.

What will make it tough: Offensive line is one of the most difficult areas for a freshman to make an early impact, particularly at the tackle spots where mistakes can be more costly and the blocking assignments require more athleticism. The Andre Smith exception aside, offensive linemen redshirt at a higher rate than any position other than quarterback. If Love plays his way onto the field in 2008, a midseason debut is much more likely than action against Clemson.

Tim Watts' take: xxx.

See Love here: Rivals.com video

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