This year is going to be a big year for the offense of the Alabama Crimson Tide. With so many changes to the Tide’s offense, it would be comforting to the team to find some solidity or a surprise contender. We are just a few days from the start of the 2023 college football season. Alabama may have found that surprise contributor in sophomore tight Amari Niblack.
Niblack wasn’t a contributing player last season for the Crimson Tide. He played in 10 games thus far. He had one catch for 15 yards and a touchdown in the Tide’s 63-7 win over the ULM Warhawks. While he was not a player who stood out in his true freshman year this past season, the former four-star tight end is reportedly one of the most impressive breakout players for Alabama in this fall camp. Niblack is a tight end who is rising on the depth chart and may not have to take over C.J. Dippre’s starting role.
The Alabama Crimson Tide Might Have a Secret Weapon
Who is Amari Niblack?
Many Alabama fans might not know who Niblack is, but once they do, they may love him. Niblack is a 6-4, 223-pound tight end who lines up all over the field on offense. He can play traditional tight end and block efficiently in the run game. He can also line up on the outside as a much more aggressive receiver. Niblack possesses great size, huge but soft hands to consistently catch balls. Coaches say he has a solid motor to push for more yards after contact, and agility to burst through defensive backs in pursuit. This means that he is versatile, quick, consistent, and aggressive. A tight end having these attributes makes him a tough pass-catcher to bring down. Niblack is a combination of former Florida tight end Kyle Pitts and current Georgia star tight end Brock Bowers. This should make Alabama fans very happy to see develop.
What Can Amari Niblack Bring to Tommy Rees’ Offense?
No matter which starting quarterback will be under center for the Tide this season, offensive coordinator Tommy Rees is going to find a way to get his best players to contribute. With the wide receiver corps still facing some questions about their contributions, Niblack can find a way to the field at an opportune moment. It is highly unlikely that will start as an outside receiver, a slot receiver, or even as a starting tight end this season. Niblack can still find his way into the rotation with Dippre maintaining the starting spot.
Niblack has just as much opportunity to be a part of the Tide’s rotation due to the offensive philosophy of Rees. The offensive coordinator loves for his quarterbacks to get the ball out early. It’s one key aspect of getting quick and efficient passes are getting the tight ends involved.
In his three years as the offensive coordinator of Notre Dame, Rees utilized the talents and potential of tight end Michael Mayer. In his three seasons at Notre Dame, Mayer caught 180 receptions for 2,099 yards and 18 touchdowns. He is now set to start week one of his rookie season with the Las Vegas Raiders. Mayer is a reliable pass-catcher who has agility and is a tough player to bring down as a runner.
What to Expect From Niblack Now and in the Future
Niblack has the attributes to play like Mayer and will he play in a similar system that made Mayer a star. Niblack may not become an immediate star for the Tide’s offense. He has, however, gone from a player deep in the depth chart to a player who finds himself in the rotation in just a few short weeks. Saban has mentioned Niblack as one of the most developed players this off-season. If Niblack continues to earn favor from Rees and head coach Nick Saban through his work and development, he can be the next tight-end star at Alabama.
Photo courtesy: Gary Cosby Jr. / USA TODAY NETWORK