At Star-Studded Alabama, There's Still a Place for Walk-Ons

By: and The Birmingham News
By: and The Birmingham News

TUSCALOOSA -- On this day two years ago, Will Lowery experienced his first day of college football. He was a little lost. He was a little little.

His former position coach at Hoover High School, Jeremy Pruitt, was in his second year at Alabama as the director of player development, and he had talked Lowery into joining the football team as a walk-on.

"It was intimidating," Lowery recalled. "I remember coach Pruitt told me to just come up to the football complex and get my physical done. I didn't even know where the complex was.

"I remember my first day here when I was walking in, one of the guys on the team, Alex Watkins, looked at me and asked what sport I played. He was so surprised when I said football, because I'm so much smaller than everybody."

Most of the football team already had been practicing for nearly two weeks. But on the first day of class -- which this year is today -- the 105-man roster expands when another 15 to 20 walk-ons join the walk-ons already are there along with 85 scholarship players.

The 5-foot-9, 188-pound Lowery recalls his initiation well.

"It was pretty intense," he said. "I remember they told us we were going to be in helmets and shorts, and then, just out of the blue, Tank (Conerly), our equipment guy, said we were going full pads. It was go time. ... We strapped it up, but we didn't do too much.

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