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June 24, 2014

TideSports.com Top 40 for 2014: 31-35

Voting Criteria: Player's importance to the team in 2014, talent and potential for the upcoming season. A player's long term/NFL potential was not taken into consideration.

Voting Panel: TideSports.com beat writer Aaron Suttles, TideSports.com Managing Editor D.C. Reeves and former Alabama defensive end and TideSports.com contributor John Copeland.

No. 35 WR Chris Black Analysis
First Coast
Jacksonville, Fla.

Height: 5-11
Weight: 182
Year: Sophomore

Depth Chart Projection: Second-team WR

2013 Stats: 8 catches for 79 yards, 2 TD

It could be a breakout year for the redshirt sophomore. Black was used inside at slot receiver, where he is a back-up to starter Christion Jones, and outside during spring practice. His speed, quick change of direction and acceleration are what make him so dangerous in the open field. How much time he logs this season depends on how new offensive Lane Kiffin plans to use him, and how much Black makes of the opportunities he's given. The top three wide receivers are set with Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Jones, but Black will continue pushing for more playing time.
Voting Rundown: Aaron Suttles - No. 33 /D.C. Reeves - No. 31 / John Copeland - No. 39

No. 34 LB Reggie Ragland Analysis
Bob Jones
Madison, Ala.

Height: 6-2
Weight: 259
Year: Junior

Depth Chart Projection: First-team LB

2013 Stats: 17 tackles, 1 TFL

Reggie Ragland used the 15 practices and scrimmages during spring to get a leg up on the starting position at Will linebacker. It's certainly big shoes to fill, stepping in for the departed C.J. Mosley, but by all accounts Ragland had a great spring. His main competition for the starting job is Reuben Foster, who sustained a neck stinger injury during the spring, which hampered him. Ragland has good size but isn't as natural in coverage as Mosley. Then again, there aren't many who could duplicate Mosley's contribution.
Voting Rundown: Aaron Suttles - 34 /D.C. Reeves - No. 33 / John Copeland - No. 31

No. 33 DL Dalvin Tomlinson Analysis
Henry County
McDonaugh, Ga.

Height: 6-2
Weight: 287
Year: Sophomore

Depth Chart Projection: Second-string DL

2013 Stats: 4 tackles

He played in just one game in 2013 before sustaining a knee injury that forced him to miss the rest of the season. Although Alabama fans have never seen it, Dalvin Tomlinson's teammates swear by his ability to get after the quarterback. That skill is something the Crimson Tide defense needs in 2014, and one that should be on display in bunches if he can remain healthy. Tomlinson's strength is his quickness off the ball. Last season Alabama did not get the pressure on the quarterback at the same rate as previous defenses did, so having a healthy Tomlinson and getting D.J. Pettway back should be a big boost.
Voting Rundown: Aaron Suttles - No. 32 /D.C. Reeves - No. 24 / John Copeland - 37

No. 32 OG Arie Kouandjio Analysis
DeMatha Catholic
Hyattsville, Md.

Height: 6-5
Weight: 315
Year: Senior

Depth Chart Projection: First-team OL

2013 Stats: Started 13 games in 2013

The value of Arie Kouandjio is as great as it's been during his time at Alabama. He's one of three starters returning to the offensive line, and he'll need to help break in the new guys. Communication was an admitted problem for the unit in 2013 and similar problems could arise this season, especially for Kouandjio, who will play next to a new left tackle and not his brother, Cyrus Kouandjio. Cameron Robinson is penciled in as the likely starter, so Kouandjio would be wise to develop a chemistry with the young talented five-star freshman. Kouandjio is limited in his athleticism due to previous injuries, but his experience should help guide the new-look line in 2014.
Voting Rundown: Aaron Suttles - No. 35 /D.C. Reeves - No. 35 / John Copeland - No. 20

No. 31 OL Dominick Jackson Analysis
College of San Manteo
San Mateo, Calif.

Height: 6-7
Weight: 312
Year: Junior

Depth Chart Projection: First-team OL

2013 Stats: Unavailable

Although he's not suited up for an Alabama practice yet, a lot is expected of junior college transfer Dominick Jackson. Watching his film gives a good clue why, too. His size alone should be exciting for Crimson Tide fans, but it's his athleticism, especially for his size, that is expected to pay immediate dividends for the Alabama offensive line. Think back to the athleticism that Chance Warmack brought to the guard position. That's what Jackson is capable of. It is wise, however, to recognize that he's not as polished technique-wise as others along the line, but Jackson has the chance to make a big difference in the Alabama running game.
Voting Rundown: Aaron Suttles - No. 15 /D.C. Reeves - No. 29 / John Copeland - Unranked

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