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November 22, 2014

Position profiles: Special teams Tide needs new kicker, punter, but Jones back as top return man

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Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014 4:10 pm | Updated: 6:10 pm, Thu Jul 31, 2014.

TUSCALOOSA — Alabama lost both its starting place-kicker and punter as Cade Foster and Cody Mandell have moved on.

Mandell, a former walk on, was a four-year starter. He improved every season and became one of the nation’s best punters during his senior year. Mandell’s ability to flip field position was a weapon in 2013.

After splitting kicking duties with Jeremy Shelley for two seasons, Foster was the No. 1 guy last season. Through 11 games, Foster connected on 11 of 12 field goals, including 10 straight makes. Replacing two senior specialists won’t be easy.

Heading into spring practice, Alabama had just one scholarship kicker and a few walk-ons at punter. Redshirt sophomore Adam Griffith was the team’s lone place-kicker. Unless someone beats him out, Griffith will likely be the starter this season. The Tide experimented with quarterback Alec Morris at punter during spring. Morris handled the punting duties for both teams on A-Day.

JK Scott, a 2014 signee, likely will start at punter. Alabama will also have walk-ons in camp when preseason practice starts.

Wide receiver Christion Jones returns as one of the nation’s top return men, ranking eighth nationally in kickoff returns and 15th in punt returns. Jones has been named to multiple preseason award watch lists and hopes to build on his performance from last season.

Two deep

Kicker: Adam Griffith (5-foot-10, 188 pounds, sophomore)

Punter: JK Scott (6-4, 185 pounds, freshman)

Holder: Alec Morris (6-3, 230 pounds, sophomore)

Long snapper: Cole Mazza (6-1, 251 pounds, sophomore)

Punt return: Christion Jones (5-11, 187 pounds, senior); Chris Black (5-11, 185 pounds, sophomore)

Kick return: Christion Jones (5-11, 187 pounds, senior); DeAndrew White (6-foot, 190 pounds, senior)

Quotable

“There's always room to improve. I don't even think I did that good of a job last year. That's just as honest as I can be. But I also feel there's a ton of room for improvement.”

—Christion Jones on his return game last season

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