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NCAA Football Alabama Crimson TideSEC Football

Excitement and Speculation Occur after WR Chris Black Returns to Alabama Practice

John David Mercer-US Presswire

Could the University of Alabama receiving corps be receiving some help soon?

Reports surfaced late Monday afternoon that highly touted freshman receiver Chris Black was back on the practice field, donning a black no-contact jersey as he took repetitions with the receiving corps. The news comes nearly three months to the day when he was ruled out for 3-4 months after injuring shoulder in fall practice.

At the time Black was taking snaps with the first team and considered to be an impact player.

Now less than three months later, Black’s appearance has left many wondering if the 5’11, 180lbs receiver from Jacksonville, Florida may find his way into the lineup for Alabama, burning his redshirt season. After all, it was just a few weeks ago when Nick Saban said on his radio show Black would have been a “major contributor” for the Tide in 2012.

While the prospect of adding an additional playmaker to the offense is an exciting thought, the fact remains it would a difficult task for even the most seasoned veteran.  Although an early enrollee, it would be a lot to ask of Black to get himself into game shape and develop chemistry within the offense with just three games remaining in the regular season.

In my opinion, this is a situation very similar to the one running back Dee Hart found himself in last season.  After tearing an ACL during the summer of 2011, Hart was cleared to practice late in the season causing many to speculate, just as they are doing now.  Rumors spread of how Hart would be a secret weapon down the stretch for Alabama, even talk he could be the X factor in the national championship game.

The important thing to remember is while he has begun getting repetitions at practice, Black has yet to be cleared for contact; he has a long way to go before being thrown into the fire of a national stage, making an appearance this season unlikely. However, if he is cleared and the coaching staff feels he can make a serious contribution that redshirt may become just like his injury-a memory.