TUSCALOOSA, AL (WSFA) - Alabama announced that eight student-athletes have begun classes and will be eligible to participate in spring practice with the Crimson Tide in 2012.
The group includes six high school players that graduated early to enroll at Alabama for the spring semester, and two junior-college signees. Alabama welcomes two defensive lineman, two wide receivers, two defensive backs, one running back and one linebacker for the start of the spring semester.
The January signees include defensive lineman Ryan Anderson (Daphne, Ala. /Daphne), wide receiver Chris Black (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast), wide receiver Amari Cooper (Miami, Fla./Northwestern), linebacker Dillon Lee (Burford, Ga./Burford), defensive lineman Alphonse Taylor (Mobile, Ala./Davidson) and running back T.J. Yeldon (Daphne, Ala./Daphne).
The Crimson Tide also inked junior college defensive backs Deion Belue (Tuscumbia, Ala./Northeast Mississippi/Deshler) and Travell Dixon (Miami, Fla./Eastern Arizona/Norland). Belue, who originally signed with the Crimson Tide out of Deshler High School in 2010, is rated the No. 7 JUCO prospect in the nation by 247sports.com. Dixon checks in at No. 3 in the Rivals.com JUCO Top 50 and No. 9 in the 247sports.com rankings.
Yeldon gives the Tide one of the nation's most coveted running backs. He is listed as the No. 1 running back nationally in the 247sports.com rankings and the No. 16 player overall nationally. Rivals.com has him at No. 12 overall and the No. 2 running back. Yeldon rushed for 2,193 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2011 while catching 19 balls for 244 yards and a score.
A pair of wide receivers, fresh off the Under Armour All-America game, also arrived on campus to bolster the receiving corps. Black, the No. 2 wide out nationally by ESPNU.com and the No. 3 pass-catcher by 247sports.com, caught 55 passes for 881 yards in 2011 after recording 990 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns a season ago. Cooper, considered the No. 8 wide receiver by Rivals.com and No. 9 by ESPNU.com, turned in an impressive performance at the Under Armour All-America game, hauling in a 75-yard touchdown catch and the following that up with a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown.
The Crimson Tide also added a pair of defensive linemen and a linebacker to round out its January enrollees. Lee is 53rd in the ESPNU 150 and ranked as the website's No. 4 outside linebacker while Rivals.com lists Lee at No. 3. He had 84 tackles as a senior at Buford (Ga.) High School along with nine sacks, 17 tackles for loss and five interceptions.