TUSCALOOSA — Eyabi Anoma’s name has been removed from on Alabama’s active roster as of Friday, a week after it was announced the sophomore linebacker was no longer taking classes at the university following his dismissal from school.
Beyond that, there was little clarification on the former five-star’s status moving forward.
“The guy was dismissed from school, and that’s really all I can say about it,” Saban said of Anoma on Saturday morning, refusing to elaborate further.
The university’s communication department confirmed Anoma was “currently not attending classes at The University of Alabama” in an email to the Montgomery Advertiser last Friday.
It was widely reported that Anoma entered his name into the NCAA’s transfer portal a day later, the second time he’s done so since February.
With Anoma’s status in limbo, Alabama’s outside linebacker situation is weakened with just three experienced options at the position. Among those is a healthy Terrell Lewis, a redshirt junior who’s missed 25 games over the last two seasons with injuries, including a torn ACL suffered last summer that forced him to sit out the 2018 season.
Lewis, who was still limited during spring practice after undergoing another procedure this winter to clean up his knee, declared himself “100 percent – I’m good,” according to a video posted by Rivals.
“I know once gameday hits I’m going to be ready, and everything’s going to hit me,” Lewis told reporters. “But nowadays I just try to play it day-by-day and just cherish every moment like it might be my last day out there.”
Lewis, 6-foot-5 and 252 pounds, fully participated in the first two days of preseason practice Friday and Saturday and is showing some encouraging explosiveness, according to statistics obtained by the team’s catapult system. That said, Saban made it clear the team might limit his participation at times over the next few weeks to keep him fresh for the regular season.
“Terrell Lewis is able to practice. We’ll probably try to manage his reps to some degree, but he practiced all day yesterday, made a lot of plays, did a really good job,” Saban said Saturday. “He’s worked hard all summer. We keep these catapult numbers on guys, in terms of what their explosive movements are and how much they can duplicate it, and he’s back to a level higher than he was before he got hurt two years ago. ”
Saban also praised the progress of senior Anfernee Jennings and redshirt sophomore Christopher Allen, who like Allen missed the entire 2018 season with an ACL injury.
“We have three guys there right now who, I think, can be very productive players,” Saban said. “Anfernee Jennings has done a really, really good job around here. He’s a good leader and very productive player. And Chris (Allen) didn’t get to play much last year because he was injured, but we had big plans for him last year, too. So, hopefully, we can stay healthy at that position.
“That will be a real plus for our team. And I think we’ve got some young newcomers that might be able to contribute at the position, as well.”
Former Florida State offensive lineman Landon Dickerson officially joined the Crimson Tide for the first day of preseason camp Friday, providing some quality experience to an overhauled unit.
The 6-6, 308-pound Dickerson came to Alabama as a graduate transfer this summer following three injury-plagued seasons in Tallahassee, where he started 13 total games but never played a full season and missed the final 10 games last season with a severe ankle injury.
“We like the fact that he’s played a lot of good football against a lot of good football teams. He’s got a lot of experience,” Saban said . “He’s big. He’s a strong guy. He will have a physical presence on the offensive line for us in terms of his toughness.”
Dickerson, who played both guard and tackle at FSU, was spotted working at right guard with the third-team offensive line during Saturday’s open practice at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
“I think it’s too early to tell exactly where he can be the best fit for us, relative to the other players that we have,” Saban said. “We want to coach all the offensive linemen that we have to try to get the best five out there. He certainly is a guy that’s competing for one of those spots.”
Three players limited
Saban confirmed the Crimson Tide will be without the services of three players through the first week or so of preseason practice.
Redshirt junior tight end Miller Forristall (foot) – the team’s most veteran member at his position and a projected starter – could return to practice “in a few days,” while junior defensive end LaBryan Ray (ankle) is expected to be back in action “in a week or so,” according to Saban.
Meanwhile, redshirt junior cornerback Nigel Knott, a key reserve, could be out an “undetermined” period of time while dealing with “medical issues that we’re trying to work through.”