People aren’t exactly sure where Kendall Sheffield is.
The freshman cornerback has missed three practices — two on Monday and one on Tuesday — and has not given any form of an explanation.
“I don’t really know what his status is so there’s no need to ask me,” coach Nick Saban said.
As a former five-star recruit, Sheffield was on track to be a key addition to the Crimson Tide’s roster. Redshirt sophomore Marlon Humphrey and sophomore Minkah Fitzpatrick lead the cornerbacks, but Sheffield has been presented the opportunity to follow in their footsteps with the third spot.
The only thing standing in Sheffield’s way is redshirt junior Anthony Averett. That is if Sheffield returns to practice.
“Anthony Averett has played really, really well and is a really good third corned and would be a solid guy to play, Saban said. “I think after that, we’ve got young players that we have to develop. Kendall Sheffield was certainly a guy that was in that mix, but it is what it is.”
Without Sheffield, the Crimson Tide’s overall depth among the defensive backs would take another hit. Alabama graduate transfer Maurice Smith was granted his release and is now at Georgia. Junior Tony Brown is facing an indefinite suspension and will miss an unspecified number of games.
The question mark next to Sheffield’s name is not ideal, but it’s Alabama’s reality right now.
“We’ll just do the best we can with the players that we have,” Saban said. “We recruited some freshmen, three freshmen. We’re working hard with them right now.”
Nigel Knott, Shyheim Carter and Jared Mayden, according to 247Sports, were all dubbed four-star recruits. These are the players Saban will need to develop this season, especially if any other players plan to take a hiatus and not tell anyone.
Alabama had its first scrimmage Saturday, which was the last time Sheffield was seen on the field, and fall camp wrapped up Tuesday.
Also worth noting, as Sheffield is a student-athlete, classes start Wednesday.
“It’s really important that our players develop the right habits, have success in school,” Saban said. “That’s what they’re here for, and hopefully he’ll make a decision so he doesn’t get behind from that standpoint.”
Sheffield, however, is locked in come Aug. 24. It’s the last day to add or drop a class without any repercussion. His schedule will be finalized — if he stays at Alabama.
Saban wants Sheffield to return. He said the Fort Bend Marshall (Texas) High School product has worked hard and already made improvement while on campus. He’s willing to make it work and keep Sheffield’s name on the roster.
“We want what’s best for the team on our team,” Saban said. “If there’s something we can do to help resolve this from their family’s standpoints, we’re certainly available to do that. There’s no pressure from our standpoint.”
The Crimson Tide’s regular season is quickly creeping up on it, too. Alabama opens its season in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 3 against USC.
Saban won’t set a deadline for Sheffield’s return, though.
“We enjoy having him be a part of the team if that’s what he chooses,” he said. “We’ll continue to work with him in a positive way to help him develop academically and athletically.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports