Men's fall countdown: No. 5 Alabama
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Next up on our men's 2014 fall countdown, No. 5 Alabama:
Editor's note: The rankings are those of our college expert, Lance Ringler, as he looked ahead to the collegiate preseason. The official Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings won't be available until a couple of weeks into the fall season. Our staff of Andy Zunz, Cassie Stein and Brentley Romine are writing the individual profiles of the teams.
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Preseason rank: 5
Final 2013-14 Golfweek/Sagarin ranking: 1
2013-14 in review: With four of five players from the 2013 NCAA Championship team returning to Tuscaloosa, Alabama was set for another title run and didn’t disappoint. The Crimson Tide won the 2014 title while winning five consecutive tournaments to start the season and three more to end the season. Robby Shelton was tabbed as the Phil Mickelson award recipient as freshman of the year.
Notable departures: Cory Whitsett, Bobby Wyatt and Trey Mullinax
Key returnees: Sophomore Robby Shelton and junior Tom Lovelady
Newcomers of note: Freshmen Jonathan Hardee, Tyler Hitchner and Steven Setterstrom
Circled on the fall calendar: Carpet Capital Collegiate, Sept. 5-7; Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational, Sept. 12-14
Fall outlook: It’s typically hard to replace one guy on a college golf team, let alone three players who were All-Americans. Losing Whitsett, Wyatt and Mullinax is going to be hard for the Crimson Tide, but with help of Shelton and Lovelady, who played key roles in the 2014 title run, the team should still be headed in the right direction. Irishman Gavin Moynihan, who played in three tournaments last season and was a member of the GB&I Walker Cup team last September, should make his way into the lineup. Also keep an eye on sophomores Dru Love and Robby Prater.
Coach’s perspective: “It’s a new day. They had a huge impact for our program (Whitsett, Wyatt and Mullinax) and I look forward to seeing the younger guys, who we’ve had on our team, step up in our leadership. We will be a little bit more under the radar than we have been in years past, but we’re all looking forward to it.” – head coach Jay Seawell