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January 16, 2013

Nine freshmen eligible for spring practice

TUSCALOOSA | Nine incoming University of Alabama football players have enrolled for spring classes and will be eligible for spring practice.

They include quarterbacks Cooper Bateman, Luke Del Rio and Parker McLeod, offensive linemen Brandon Hill and Leon Brown, running back Derrick Henry, wide receiver Raheem Falkins, defensive back Jai Miller and tight end O.J. Howard.

Henry (6-foot-3, 242 pounds) set national rushing records at Yulee (Fla.) High School and is considered among the nation's top running back recruits, while Howard, of Prattville's Autauga Academy, is considered the nation's top recruit at his position. Brown (6-6, 313 pounds) comes from ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y., as a two-year college transfer and is expected to compete for the right tackle position vacated by D.J. Fluker, who will enter the NFL Draft. Hill (6-6, 350) signed with Alabama last year but failed to academically qualify and spent the 2012 season at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va.

Miller (6-3, 210) - who turns 28 Thursday - will be a freshman after spending nine years in professional baseball, including 68 Major League at-bats with the Florida Marlins, Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics. Miller, of Selma, was recruited by Alabama in 2003 for football but instead signed with Stanford, then chose a pro baseball contract with the Marlins organization.

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