TRips: Sunseri, Yeldon and Black

Sunseri wears multiple hats in the UA secondary.

Breaking down the 2012 Crimson Tide roster three players at a time. Up next, safety Vinnie Sunseri, running back T.J. Yeldon and wide receiver Chris Black.

3 S Vinnie Sunseri (So.)
2011 season: Played in all 13 games as a true freshman, posting 31 tackles while working mostly on special teams. Saw meaningful snaps at safety late in the season after Will Lowery went down with a knee injury. A five-time special teams player of the week selection by the UA coaching staff, Sunseri was named Freshman All-SEC a season ago.
2012 spring practice: Moved into the starting lineup at safety and also worked at star and money in the Crimson Tide's nickel and dime defensive packages. Recorded 14 tackles, three tackles for loss, two interceptions and a fumble recovery in three spring scrimmages. Recipient of the Bart Starr Most Improved Player Award.
What he brings to the table: Sunseri is a tweener. That's right, between playing safety, money and perhaps even star, he may not come off the field in 2012. Sunseri makes plays and he's not going to give up plays as a result of busted assignments. What more could you want from a defensive back?

4 RB T.J. Yeldon (Fr.)
2011 season: Ranked as the nation's top running back recruit by, Yeldon rushed for 2,193 yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior at Daphne High School. Racked up 1,502 receiving yards during his high school career.
2012 spring practice: One of eight midyear enrollees, Yeldon received the Dixie Howell Memorial Most Valuable Player Award after rushing for 88 yards and catching five passes totaling 91 yards in the annual A-Day Game.
What he brings to the table: Take one look at Yeldon and it's obvious that he has all the physical tools needed to carry on UA's tradition of great backs. Most encouraging, though, was the toughness and pass catching ability the true freshman showed during spring drills. Those attributes don't always come standard with young backs. With Yeldon competing with Jalston Fowler and Dee Hart competing for carries behind Eddie Lacy, it will be interesting to see how the running back rotation takes shape as we move through the fall.

5 WR Chris Black (Fr.)
2011 season: In helping Jacksonville-First Coast to Florida's Class 7A state title game, Black caught 55 passes for 881 yards and 12 touchdowns. Ranked as the nation's No. 4 wide receiver prospect by, he also rushed for 222 yards on 22 carries.
2012 spring practice: Another midyear enrollee, Black quickly established himself as a factor in the rotation while working behind Christion Jones in the slot. In the spring's final two scrimmages, Black caught five passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.
What he brings to the table: Was actually more impressed by Black in the spring than when I saw him in a high school playoff game in December. Responded well to the large step up in competition and looks to be in the top six in the rotation heading into fall camp. Reps behind Jones may be hard to come by, but Black looks to be farther along at this point in his development than most of the receivers UA has signed in the Nick Saban era. Also in the mix as a return man.

Up next: 6 S HaHa Clinton-Dix; 6 RB Blake Sims; 7 LB Ryan Anderson.

Also see: Hart, White and Patrick

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