Early enrollees adjust to Cochran, walking in rain

The new blood in Tuscaloosa is getting used to the college routine while their classmates are back in high school. Read about their experience in today’s newspaper:

TUSCALOOSA — Alphonse Taylor played it cool at first.

Nah, college isn’t that much different for the defensive lineman who left high school a semester early for Alabama’s spring practice schedule. School is school, right?

But Davidson High in Mobile doesn’t have a Scott Cochran. Alabama’s eternally red-lining strength and conditioning coach, Taylor and the other early enrollees said, separates the culture shift of the last month.

“Oh man, the guy’s intense. He’s intense,” a wide-eyed Taylor said, suddenly dropping the nonchalant exterior. “He does some of the craziest workouts ever. He’s very intense, but that’s what you have to expect out of one of the top programs in the nation.”

The 26-member signing class finalized Wednesday includes eight players who started classes in January. Six were high school seniors and two came from junior colleges.

None had an experience that compares to the head-first dive into an educational environment shared by 30,000 others.

T.J. Yeldon, a 5-star running back who left Daphne a few months early, can list one shortcoming of his new environment.

“Walking to class in the rain,” he said. “I didn’t know you had to do that.”

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