MOBILE — Bradley Bozeman says not much has changed in his football-centric world, but in so many ways everything has changed for the Alabama center.
He walked off the Mercedes Benz Stadium a two-time national champion and an engaged man. He also walked off no longer an active Crimson Tide football player. Now he’s just one of hundreds of hopeful football players trying to make an NFL roster. The first step in that journey for Bozeman is this week at the Senior Bowl.
He’s met with scouts to discuss his game. The conversations involved strengths and weaknesses. He’ll practice in front of NFL coaches and scouts and they’ll nitpick every part of who he is as a football player, including height, weight, power and athleticism. It’s something he’s taking in stride.
“I’ve talked to a couple of teams,” Bozeman said. “They’ve said I’m a hard worker, not the most athletic, I don’t give up, I play hard, I use my strengths to cover up my weaknesses, I don’t put myself in bad situations.”
Bozeman took a circuitous route to center, beginning his Alabama career as a guard. He redshirted his freshman year and was involved with the competition at right guard with Alphonse “Shank” Taylor in 2015. Bozeman lost out, but the next season he eventually won a starting spot at center. Ross Pierschbacher was supposed to be the heir apparent to Ryan Kelly at center that year, but Pierschbacher eventually stayed at left guard and Bozeman too advantage of the opportunity at center.
During those uncertain times, Bozeman wondered if he’d ever play at Alabama.
“That’s a natural thing to think,” he said. “‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ But you have to push past it. People said I’d never play, this that and the other. You just have to believe in yourself.”
As for next year’s offensive line, Bozeman projected a starting offensive line, or at least who he thinks will start at a few positions.
The next center?
“Ross,” Bozeman said. “I think it’s Ross. Jonah (Williams) is a tackle. He could easily play center, but Jonah’s a tackle.”
Who would replace Pierschbacher at left guard?
“Alex Leatherwood. If you had to make the least amount of moves, that’s what it is.”
College is over for Bozeman, so he’ll now turn his attention to preparing for the draft and planning a wedding. The big day comes next March, and the baby-faced offensive lineman is already answering questions about his future bride like a veteran.
“She deserved the grand stage (of a proposal on national television),” he said. “She keeps me straight. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for her.”
Reach Aaron Suttles at email@example.com or at 205-722-0229.