50 Days Away from Bama Kickoff: Alphonse “Shank” Taylor
Each day counting down to Alabama's Week 1 matchup with Utah State, I will highlight one former player whose jersey number coincides with the amount of days until the game. Today, let's look at key piece of the Crimson Tide's 2016 national title run, Alphonse "Shank" Taylor.
Alphonse Taylor suited up for the Crimson Tide from 2012-16 and was an important member to the offensive line both on and off the field in his time with the program.
A four-star recruit from Mobile, Taylor played for W.P. Davidson High School and was the 13th ranked player in the state of Alabama, per 247Sports.
Many fans likely remember the big-bodied lineman for his nickname, "Shank," which seemed to fit perfectly with the ferocity he played with on the field. Taylor revealed to AL.com in a 2015 interview that the moniker had been given to him at a young age and stuck with him ever since.
"I've had that nickname since park-league football, I'm talking like 10-years-old," Taylor said, "My park-league coach gave me that name. I've never understood it, really. It just stuck with me all the way until now."
After redshirting in his first year with the Tide, "Shank" saw time in eight games in 2013. The next season saw the guard take on a larger role, appearing in 12 games and earning a consistent role on special teams as well as his first career starts against Florida Atlantic and Arkansas.
2015 was possibly the most memorable year of Taylor's career. The Mobile native started all 15 games for Alabama, and the Tide went 14-1, winning its 16th National Championship. Taylor was a massive contributor to an offensive line that allowed just 16 sacks all season, and even led the team in pancake blocks.
Heading into his final season, the senior returned to his spot at right guard, and started the first six games of the year before an injury would unfortunately sideline him. Taylor suffered a concussion against Arkansas that effectively ended his football career.
In another interview with AL.com, Taylor, ahead of Alabama's Peach Bowl matchup with Washington in 2017, opened up on the injury and the subsequent fallout from it.
"The symptoms weren't going away, so it was really my call and the doctors call to stop playing," said the then-senior, "You just feel lost. Terrible migraine. Everything's spotty. You just don't feel right. You feel out of body. You don't feel like yourself. You just feel sluggish and laggy. That's how I knew."
Though his career was cut short by an unfortunate injury, Taylor remained a key leader on the team and took on his new role with just as much passion as when he attacked defensive linemen.
Now, Taylor resides in his hometown of Mobile with his wife and two daughters and works as an Academic Advisor for South Alabama.