By firstname.lastname@example.org (Tyler Waldrep)
Alabama linebacker Tim Williams ignored the confetti that rained down around him following the Crimson Tide’s Peach Bowl victory for just a moment—he had a message. He spun freshman tight end Miller Forristall around and tapped the 87 on his back.
“Best upcoming tight end right here,” Tim Williams said. “He get me better everyday.”
If Tim Williams is right about Forristall, who finished with the season with five receptions for 73 yards and several big blocks that don’t show up on the stat sheet, then the freshman will get the chance to prove it in 2017.
He finished the season as the No. 7 pass-catcher for Alabama (excluding running backs), and now three of those guys are onto the next phase in their lives. Someone will have to step up and take pressure off of receiver Calvin Ridley or at least take advantage of the opportunities playing alongside him will create.
Forristall’s predecessor, tight end O.J. Howard, did his part to make defenses pay for forgetting about him. He finished the season with 45 receptions for 595 yards and three scores.
When asked if the freshman is up to the task of replacing him in the offense next year, Howard responds quickly without reservations.
“Oh yeah, absolutely,” Howard said. “He’s going to get the job done.”
Howard and the rest of the offense has watched Forristall come in and have an immediate impact as a blocker and pass-catcher, but those aren’t the moments that stand out to the freshman.
“The LSU game, I think, was a defining game for us as a team too,” Forristall said. “That game was just really intense. It was a lot of fun.”
He finished that game with one reception for a 22-yard gain. That catch helped the Crimson Tide convert on second and 15 and kept, what would become Alabama’s lone touchdown drive during that game alive.
The win against the Tigers was just one step along the way that brought Forristall and the rest of the Crimson Tide to Atlanta for the first bowl game of his career.
However he had a small part in helping Alabama claim its 16th national championship the year before. Back then he worked alongside fellow early enrollee Jalen Hurts on the Crimson Tide’s scout team.
“[It’s] a little intimidating getting out there and you have [former Alabama defensive linemen] A’Shawn [Robinson] and [Jarran] Reed and all these guys,” Forristall said. “You watch these guys on TV and now you’re out there practicing with them. It was pretty cool.”
When the Crimson Tide faced Clemson, Forristall watched the game in wide receiver T.J. Simmons’ room along with the rest of the early enrollees. Watching his new team win the championship was a special moment for the freshman tight end. He even allowed himself to take a little pride in the victory himself.
“Being able to come and practice for national championship work, do spring ball and like pay my time- I think that was the biggest factor in me being able to play [so much this season],” Forristall said.
Arriving early also gave him a chance to develop some chemistry with two freshmen that would see the field a lot in 2016- left tackle Jonah Williams and Hurts.
“He’s really talkative,” Jonah Williams said of Forristall. “He’ll be the first one to make fun of himself for that. Because I am a lot more, like I said, to myself and a little more laid back and quiet. He’s always going and talking.”
On the practice field, Forristall quiets down— at least long enough for his actions to speak for themselves. There, Jonah Williams said he watched his friend earn the respect of the Crimson Tide’s defense.
“Man, I’m just knowing what he do for me. He get me ready every play,” Tim Williams said. “He always come hard like he be trying to kill me in practice. Sometimes I feel like I don’t like him, but I’m knowing he really truly want to get me better.”
The linebacker said he watched the tight end step his game up even more in the practices leading up to the Peach Bowl. The freshman even held his own when the two went head-to-head in practice.
“He’s a dog. He has it in him. There’s no quit,” Tim Williams said. “Like, you can see if he don’t block you after the play, he’s clapping his hands like man he’s into it… He’s special.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports