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August 5, 2010University of Alabama signee Blake Sims was cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse on Thursday in time to join new teammates during their first practice later that evening.
Sims took summer classes in order to qualify academically. Although he could potentially play a number of positions, the product of Gainesville, Ga., lined up at safety and wore Rod Woodson's former number, 18.
Also at safety was Kendall Kelly, wearing No. 26, along with true freshmen Nick Perry and Jarrick Williams.
Although numerous players enrolled early to participate in spring workouts, it was the first time the 2010 signing class was together with players in uniform working with the full coaching staff.
Of note, Arie Kouandijo was taking snaps at right tackle and Austin Shepherd at left tackle, Alfy Hill lined up at outside linebacker with Glenn Harbin and C.J. Mosley was at middle linebacker.
Also, Petey Smith practiced with the interior linebackers, Mike Marrow was at running back and Brandon Lewis was at defensive end.
It should be noted, though, that players were frequently moving around to different positions, and some took snaps at different spots to help the numbers work out during the split sessions. It was also obvious that some veterans worked in the evening to get extra reps.
The NCAA released single-year Academic Progress Rates for Division I head coaches in six sports on Thursday, including football, men's basketball and baseball. Although no penalties will be handed out for los scores, in part because low team scores may already result in sanctions, a primary aim of the database is to make coaches more accountable.
APR is the standard by which the NCAA measures whether student-athletes are on pace to graduate. A 1,000 is a perfect score while repeated scores below 925 is the level that could result in penalties, which translates to 60 percent graduation. The NCAA did not release average scores for coaches, in part, because during academic years coaching changes are made the score is listed under both coaches.
No players wore black to signal no contact due to injury.
Fans won't help but be reminded of former players when they get their first look at the newcomers in their uniforms. For example, 6-foot-7 tight end Brian Vogler not only physically resembles Colin Peek but also wears his No. 84.
Notably absent when reporters were observing was junior running back Jeramie Griffin.
Players in the evening session caught a break with the temperature only 83 degrees, with a heat index of 87, after sunset with breezy conditions. Alabama will hold its first full-squad practice at 2:30 p.m. Friday. The forecast is for 96 degrees with a heat index of 110, and possible rain/thunderstorms in the area. All practices are closed to the public except for Sunday's Fan Day at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Defensive end Darrington Sentimore and wide receiver Michael Bowman appeared to be going through individual drills last at their respective positions.