Originally written February 12, 2013 on Crystal Ball Run:
On Monday, four players fresh off the Crimson Tide’s National Championship team were arrested on a variety of charges, according to information posted on the Tuscaloosa County Sherriff's Office web site. Those players and their charges, read as follows: Linebackers Tyler Hayes and D.J. Pettway were charged with second-degree robbery, running back Brent Calloway was charged with fraudulent use of a credit card, and wide receiver Eddie Williams was charged with both. For Williams, it was a double-dose of jailhouse blues, as he was arrested on Sunday for carrying a pistol without a license. Calloway himself had been previously arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession in October 2011. All four players posted bond and were released from jail early Monday morning. Of course since the law says that all parties are innocent until proven guilty, we’ll save the sweeping judgment for another day. Instead, let’s talk about football, and let’s start by saying that only time will tell on what Nick Saban and his staff decide to do with the four accused football players. At the same time, regardless of whether any of them see the field in the future at Alabama- or ever again, for that matter- it will hardly be a blip on the radar for college football’s deepest and most talented team. Of the four, only Hayes was even listed on Alabama’s two-deep entering this upcoming spring, and that was as a third-string linebacker. Hayes finished the 2012 season with 14 total tackles, and Pettway and Calloway each had eight. As for Williams, he was a highly-touted wide receiver prospect coming out of high school (some actually had him ranked ahead of last year’s leading receiver Amari Cooper in the recruiting cycle), before he was moved to safety in the preseason, after a slew of injuries in Alabama’s defensive backfield. Williams finished the year without making a single tackle. So again, in football terms, these arrests will affect the Crimson Tide minimally if at all. We’re not implying that we know what Nick Saban will do with these four players, or if any of them will ever wear an Alabama uniform again. But if none do, the Tide will keep rolling as they have. None of the four was expected to make any sort of major contribution in 2013 beyond special teams, with the possible exception of Williams at either safety or wide receiver. And (again) in football terms, these arrests could actually serve as a blessing in disguise, and one which relieves any type of summer scholarship crunch or playing-time issues in the fall. It could also help get several of Alabama’s top recruits in this past class (a group which was rated by Rivals.com as the best it’s ever graded since the service began in 2002) onto the field early, especially on special teams.   And finally (and maybe most importantly), this could serve as a wake-up call to everyone at Alabama that nothing is guaranteed, not even in defending a National Championship. Again, these four players will get their day in court, and until then, they are innocent until proven guilty. At the same time, whether they remain at Alabama or not, the Crimson Tide football program will continue to roll on without them. For all his opinion, analysis and insight on college football, be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres. Follow Crystal Ball Run on Twitter @CrystalBallRun.
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