As a true junior, Kouandjio will rate among college football's top tackles.
Five Alabama offensive performers who will take on starring roles in 2013:
OT Cyrus Kouandjio
What he's done to date: Rebounded from season-ending knee injury as a freshman to make 14 starts at left tackle as a true sophomore. Named freshman All-SEC in 2011. Allowed only 3.5 sacks, as a first-year starter in 2012. Graded out at 90 percent or better in six games: Florida Atlantic, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Western Carolina and Auburn.
What's needed from him moving forward: With Alabama breaking in a new starter on the right side in 2013, Kouandjio will likely find himself working without the benefit of much help in pass protection. Dream scenario: Alabama vs. South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game, which would give us a Kouandjio-Jadeveon Clowney matchup in Atlanta. You'll hear and read in the coming months about Kouandjio needing to improve as a run blocker, but that wasn't much of a problem against Georgia, when he racked up a team-high four pancake blocks.
OG Anthony Steen
What he's done to date: The redshirt senior has made 25 career starts, including all 14 games of the 2012 season. Graded out at 90 percent in Alabama's 21-17 win over LSU last November.
What's needed from him moving forward: Assuming he remains at right guard, Steen's presence should help make the transition to a new starting center and right tackle go more smoothly. With Chance Warmack moving on to the NFL, Steen will need to provide some punch on the Crimson Tide's signature Power O run play.
RB TJ Yeldon
What he's done to date: Became first true freshman to rush for 100 yards in his first game at Alabama when he went for 111 against Michigan in the 2012 season opener. Posted five 100-yard rushing games as a reserve. UA freshman record 1,108 rushing yards on his way to picking up freshman all-SEC and freshman all-america honors.
What's needed from him moving forward: At least early in the season, Yeldon will be counted on to carry the load. And he'll do it while running behind an offensive line that will feature three new starters and a new starter at tight end. With the attrition up front, yards after contact will be the stat to keep an eye on in the first half of the 2013 campaign.
WR Amari Cooper
What he's done to date: Set UA freshman marks for receptions (59), receiving yards (1,029) and touchdowns (11) in 2012. Freshman all-SEC and freshman all-america a season ago. Finished the season with100-yard receiving performances in four of his last five games.
What's needed from him moving forward: Stay healthy. Injuries in August and October slowed Cooper more last season than any cornerback he faced. In terms of production, Cooper achieved star status as a freshman. He'll enter his sophomore season as a proven commodity and opposing defenses will plan accordingly.
WR Kenny Bell
What he's done to date: Given his absence in the final two games of the season, people forget that Bell averaged 25.5 yards per catch in 2012. Was responsible for one of the best offensive stats from last season: Of Bell's 17 receptions a season ago, eight went for 29 yards or longer.
What's needed from him moving forward: Given Cooper's large presence in opposing game plans and the return of AJ McCarron at quarterback, Bell should be able to continue in his role as a consistent deep threat. With Cooper, Kevin Norwood, Christion Jones and Chris Black eating up receptions, Bell's touches might be limited. But don't be surprised if his receiving yards and touchdown totals rank second only to Cooper.
Also see: Defense: From solid to star.
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