Alabama tight ends and linemen work in practice during two a days Thursday, August 11, 2016. Alabama tight end Miller Forristall (87) takes a break between drills. Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.

Miller Forristall



Key stat: Five receptions for 73 yards in 2016.

Buzz: It might not seem impressive, but Forristall’s receiving numbers make him the No. 4 returning pass catcher for the Crimson Tide (excluding running backs). There might not be an aspect of his game that improves more than his blocking, but it will likely go unnoticed by most. Forristall is the most likely replacement for Alabama tight end O.J. Howard (45 receptions for 595 yards in 2016), and his role as a weapon in the Crimson Tide’s passing game should make him a household name in 2017 under Alabama’s new offensive coordinator (and former Patriots tight ends coach) Brian Daboll.


Alabama running back Najee Harris (22) runs drills during Alabama’s Spring practice at the Thomas-Drew Practice Field Thursday, March 30, 2017. [Staff Photo/Erin Nelson]
Najee Harris



Key Stat: Harris rushed for 7,948 yards in his high school career (fourth most in California high school football history).

Buzz: Harris, the No. 1 overall prospect according to both Rivals and Scout, joins an already loaded Crimson Tide backfield that saw its top three running backs carry the ball a total of 356 times for 2,416 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2016.


Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa throws a pass during the opening day of Spring practice at the University of Alabama Tuesday, March 21, 2017. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
Tua Tagovailoa



Key Stat: Threw for 8,158 total yards in high school (a Hawaii high school football record) and 84 touchdowns.

Buzz: Tagovailoa is competing with fellow freshman Mac Jones for the chance to backup starting quarterback Jalen Hurts. Should the early fan favorite in the contest prevail then he could very become the future face of Alabama’s offense when Hurts leaves in two or three years. It would also place him in a position to become a leader for the Crimson Tide’s offense should any injury arise that causes Hurts – a mobile quarterback that took plenty of big hits in 2016 – to miss time.


Alabama defensive back Trevon Diggs (7) works during practice Monday, April 10, 2017. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Trevon Diggs



Key stat: Diggs is the only returning receiver outside of Calvin Ridley that caught a touchdown in 2016 – he caught one.

Buzz: Diggs saw playing time for Alabama at a number of different positions in 2016 so it’s clear the coaches want him on the field in some capacity. Lately those snaps have Diggs seeing time at corner opposite of returning starter Anthony Averett. Should Diggs lock down the position for good the rest of Alabama’s secondary will likely be remain identical to how it finished 2016 with Minkah Fitzpatrick back at safety and Tony Brown at the star position.


Alabama defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs (49), right, and Alabama defensive lineman Raekwon Davis (99) run drills during football practice at the Thomas-Drew practice fields at the University of Alabama on April 7. [Staff Photo/Erin Nelson]
Isaiah Buggs



Key stat: Recorded 75 tackles for Mississippi Gulf Coast College in 2016 (more than all Alabama defenders except former linebacker Reuben Foster and safety Ronnie Harrison).

Buzz: Buggs is still competing for a starting spot on the defensive line, but regardless of where he finishes he brings experience to a unit that is tasked with replacing both Dalvin Tomlinson and Jonathan Allen. Alabama coach Nick Saban and Buggs’ teammates have praised his rapid improvement throughout the spring. Learning to be patient and avoid doing too much might be the biggest hurdle he has to overcome if he wants to see significant time in the fall.


Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses (7) looks up at the ball as he runs a route during the final Spring practice before Alabama A-Day at the Thomas-Drew practice fields in Tuscaloosa Thursday, April 20, 2017. [Staff Photo/Erin Nelson]
Dylan Moses



Key stat: Recorded 116 tackles as a senior in high school in 2016.

Buzz: Moses, a unanimous five-star prospect and one of the highest rated prospects in Alabama’s recent class, figures to play a huge role for the Crimson Tide down the road. With Shaun Dion Hamilton still sidelined with an ACL injury, Moses could earn significant playing time if Hamilton’s recovery goes awry.