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February 10, 2013TUSCALOOSA | Leon Brown can hardly wait for spring practice to begin at the University of Alabama. Brandon Hill knows he's got to put in his time conditioning first.
Two of seven new faces to the Crimson Tide football program, offensive linemen Brown and Hill are the biggest of Alabama's seven scholarship January enrollees who will be eligible for spring drills in March, and the only two to come to Alabama from other colleges.
Brown expects to compete at right tackle, where UA has lost D.J. Fluker to early NFL Draft entry. At 6-foot-6, 305 pounds, Brown was a quick and athletic tackle for ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y., who excelled in pass protection. Hill, who spent last year at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., said he's still got some weight to lose before he'll feel ready to compete.
Hill said he weighs 390 pounds, with a goal of 350, and already has lost 16 pounds in his first three weeks at the Capstone.
"My weight," Hill listed as his primary objective. "Get it down, get in shape better, try and get out there on the field as fast as I can."
To that end, Hill has been working with the athletic department's nutritionist, Amy Bragg.
"She's great. She taught me how to cook food, how to actually eat what I have to eat," Hill said. "To be honest, I thought Gatorade helps with that, but they said, 'Wait a minute, if you take water you'll be good.'"
Although Hill played primarily at right tackle at Hargrave, he said he could also compete at guard for the Crimson Tide. Hill signed with Alabama's 2012 signing class but was unable to academically qualify and went to Hargrave to secure his eligibility.
Brown is expected to compete this spring with Austin Shepherd and others for the right tackle position vacated by Fluker. But the Maryland native isn't waiting for spring drills to begin preparing.
"I'm here early to learn the system, get in the weight room, get stronger so I can produce the best I can when I get on the field," Brown said.
He played left tackle at ASA.
"My time in Brooklyn was very, you know, needed," Brown said. "I needed to get the experience of getting a higher level of college football in. It prepared me very well to be here right now."
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Reach Chase Goodbread at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0196.