Fresh off its first scrimmage of the year, Alabama is entering the third week of its preseason camp. With eight practices and a scrimmage in the books, we have a better understanding of how the Crimson Tide could line up this season. With that in mind, here is our latest projected look at Alabama’s depth chart.
Mac Jones, R-Jr
Bryce Young, Fr
Paul Tyson, R-Fr
Outlook: Barring an injury, Mac Jones will enter the season as Alabama’s starting quarterback. That’s been the case even before five-star freshman Bryce Young missed Saturday’s scrimmage and the majority of last week’s practices.
Jones performed well during his four starts last season, including back-to-back 300-yard games against Auburn and Michigan to end the year. According to Nick Saban, the redshirt junior put in a solid showing Saturday, completing 21 of 36 passes while throwing three touchdowns. Now the trick is making sure Jones can maintain that confidence moving forward.
“I just think that Mac’s gotta play within himself,” Saban said following Saturday’s scrimmage. “Be confident, be positive, not beat himself up when he makes bad plays and that’s part of the maturity level of a competitor that his game experience is going to help him do and I think his experiences leading up to the game will help him do as well.”
Young is set to return to the team Monday and should see plenty of playing time this fall. Redshirt freshman Paul Tyson has also shown plenty of improvement this offseason and will offer much-needed depth at the position.
Najee Harris, Sr
Brian Robinson Jr., Sr
Trey Sanders, R-Fr
Roydell Williams, Fr
Jase McClellan, Fr
Kyle Edwards, Fr
Keilan Robinson, So
Outlook: Coming off his first 1,000-yard season, Najee Harris will lead arguably the deepest running back unit in the nation. After serving as the bell-cow back last year, the senior should get more relief this season as offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian said he plans on spreading the ball around more in the backfield.
Sources at Alabama’s practices have told BamaInsider that Harris and fellow senior Brian Robinson Jr. have pulled away as the two primary options. However, redshirt freshman Trey Sanders should also factor into the offense after missing all of last season with a foot injury.
Roydell Williams has been making the most noise out of Alabama’s three freshman arrivals. The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder has drawn comparisons to former Tide back Josh Jacobs and could develop into a change-of-pace option down the road. Sophomore Keilan Robinson has not worked with the team since camp. His status remains unknown for the coming season.
DeVonta Smith, Sr
Xavier Williams, R-So
Thaiu Jones-Bell, Fr
John Metchie III, So
Javon Baker, Fr
Traeshon Holden, Fr
Jaylen Waddle, Jr
Slade Bolden, R-So
Outlook: After losing two first-round receivers this offseason, Alabama should produce another pair of first-rounders at the position this year. DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle return to lead a unit that shouldn’t experience much of a drop-off this season.
Sophomore John Metchie III leads the race for the lone remaining starting spot, while redshirt sophomore Slade Bolden and freshman Javon Baker are hot on his tail. Bolden has made significant strides this offseason and could be a do-it-all weapon for Alabama this season. During Saturday’s scrimmage, he resumed his role as the Wildcat quarterback, scoring a touchdown out of the formation.
“He’s grown tremendously,” cornerback Patrick Surtain II said. “He’s obviously a great route runner, but also he understands the game. He’s a very consistent route-runner, and knows ins and outs of defenses, which makes him a better player.”
Miller Forristall, R-Sr.
Major Tennison, R-Jr
Jahleel Billingsley, So.
Carl Tucker, R-Sr
Cameron Latu, R-So
Michael Parker, R-So
Outlook: Alabama didn’t use its tight ends too much last season. Although that could change this year as the Tide has more depth at the position.
While Miller Forristall and Major Tennison are projected to resume their starting roles, sophomore Jahleel Billingsley and North Carolina graduate transfer Carl Tucker are both names to watch. Redshirt sophomore Cameron Latu has also looked promising after switching from outside linebacker last season.
Alex Leatherwood, Sr
Tommy Brown, R-So
Amari Kight, R-Fr
Javion Cohen, Fr
Deonte Brown, R-Sr
Emil Ekiyor Jr., R-So
Seth McLaughlin, Fr
Chris Owens, R-Sr
Darrian Dalcourt, So
Emil Ekiyor Jr., R-So
Landon Dickerson, R-Sr
Pierce Quick, R-Fr
Tanner Bowles, R-Fr
Evan Neal, So
Kendall Randolph, R-Jr
Damieon George, Fr.
Outlook: Evan Neal was always expected to shift from left guard to right tackle to fill in for departing first-rounder Jedrick Wills Jr. However, Alabama has shuffled its front a bit more than that during camp.
Along with Neal’s move, the Tide also switched Landon Dickerson from center to right guard and Deonte Brown from right guard to left guard. Both Dickerson and Brown have starting experience at their new spots and should be able to adapt seamlessly to the changes.
The interesting battle comes at center where redshirt senior Chris Owens, sophomore Darrian Dalcourt and redshirt sophomore Emil Ekiyor Jr. have all seen first-team reps. Owens, who started four games at center last season, was the starter for Saturday’s scrimmage. Right now he’s the favorite to deliver the first snap for Alabama against Missouri on Sept. 26. Although, Saban said he feels good about all three options Saturday.
Christian Barmore, R-So/Justin Eboigbe, So
Byron Young, So
Braylen Ingraham, R-Fr
D.J. Dale, So
Ishmael Sopsher, R-Fr
Stephon Wynn Jr., R-So
Jamil Burroughs, Fr
LaBryan Ray, R-Jr
Phidarian Mathis, R-Jr
Timothy Smith, Fr
Jah-Marien Latham, Fr
Outlook: Unlike last year, Alabama returns plenty of experience and depth on the defensive line. LaBryan Ray (foot) and D.J. Dale (knee) are both back from season-ending injuries and retain their starting roles at defensive end and nose guard, respectively.
Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore Christian Barmore is thought of as possibly the best pass rusher on the team. The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder can provide pressure through the middle or on the outside. Sophomore Justin Eboigbe and Byron Young both received starting experience in Ray’s absence last year and should also see plenty of snaps this season.
“Both of them are great guys, first,” defensive coordinator Pete Golding said of Eboigbe and Young last week. “Secondly, they come to work every day and last year they took big strides. They’re getting better every day, even in fall camp this year, they’re coming to work and they try to do their jobs to the best of their ability.”
Christopher Allen, R-Jr
Will Anderson, Fr./ Kevin Harris II, R-Fr
Jarez Parks, R-So/Chris Braswell, Fr
Ben Davis, R-Sr
King Mwikuta, So/Drew Sanders, Fr
Quandarrius Robinson, Fr
Outlook: At the beginning of camp, the outside linebacker position was one of the biggest question marks in Alabama’s defense. While Alabama still lacks experience among its pass rushers, the unit has been one of the most promising aspects of camp.
Following Saturday’s scrimmage, Saban was asked what he thought of Alabam’s outside linebackers and if he felt the Tide had multiple players in the unit capable of playing winning football. His response: “Yeah, I sure do.”
“I really like — Chris Allen and Ben Davis are older guys that have experience at the position, and they’ve done well, and we have several freshmen — Drew Sanders and Will Anderson both have shown some promise,” he said. “They’re still working through understanding exactly what to do and how to do it, but they’re both guys that I think can probably contribute to the team. I think we have some other guys at linebacker in general who might be able to develop and help us this year, as well.”
As Saban pointed out, Anderson and Sanders have separated themselves a bit from the other two freshmen at the moment. Alabama also has several emerging returners such as Kevin Harris II and King Mwikuta who could develop into a role this season.
Dylan Moses, R-Jr
Shane Lee, So
Jaylen Moody, Jr
Christian Harris, So
Joshua McMillon, R-Sr
Ale Kaho, Jr
Demouy Kennedy, Fr
Jackson Bratton, Fr
Outlook: After being forced to start two true freshmen at inside linebacker last season, Alabama has a luxury of options at the position. Dylan Moses and Joshua McMillon return from season-ending ACL injuries suffered during last season’s fall camp while last year’s starters Christian Harris and Shane Lee both displayed their talent last season. Junior Ale Kaho, who began camp with a knee injury, is back in action and could also contribute at the positon this season.
So far during camp, Alabama has lined up Moses and Harris on the first team while Lee and McMillan worked on the second team.
Patrick Surtain II, Jr
Marcus Banks, R-Fr
Jahquez Robinson, Fr
Josh Jobe, Jr
Jalyn Armour-Davis, R-So
Brandon Turnage, R-Fr
Brian Branch, Fr
Malachi Moore, Fr. /Ronald Williams, Jr.
Outlook: The last time Alabama lined up a true freshman at Star was in 2015 when Minkah Fitzpatrick manned the position during the Tide’s national title run. According to early reports, Brian Branch could be the next to take on the feat as the four-star signee started in the slot during Saturday’s scrimmage.
Branch, the No. 4 safety and No. 82 overall player in this year’s class, has generated rave reviews and is thought to be the next big thing in Alabama’s secondary. Saturday, Saban said he and fellow freshman Malachi Moore have both performed well at Star so far in camp.
“They’re both young players and they both have shown the potential to play the position and to play winning football at the position,” Saban said. “It’s certainly a position of need for us.”
Patrick Surtain II and Josh Jobe are both capable of playing Star but are valued more on the outside as Golding described the duo as lockdown options at cornerback. Saban mentioned redshirt freshman Marcus Banks as someone who has progressed nicely at cornerback, while redshirt sophomore Jalyn Armour-Davis and JUCO transfer Ronald Williams Jr. can contribute at multiple spots.
Jordan Battle, So
Eddie Smith, R-So
Daniel Wright, R-Jr
DeMarcco Hellams, So
Kristian Story, Fr
Outlook: Jordan Battle made four starts as a freshman last year while working his way into the dime unit. Now the sophomore returns as the secondary’s most experienced defensive back outside of Surtain. So far during camp, Battle has lined up next to redshirt junior Daniel Wright as the duo has proven to be a productive pairing.
“I think obviously Jordan Battle was thrown into the game early last year,” Golding said. “I think he’s playing right now like he’s played a year. He’s communicating, doing well. I think D-Wright, obviously he’s been here for a while, long time. Really athletic. Can run. I think he’s getting to where he’s understanding what to do — his keys and reads, and training his eyes.”
Sophomore DeMarcco Hellams appears to be the third option at safety and should play in the dime unit. Redshirt sophomore Eddie Smith should also provide depth while reigning Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year Kristian Story is a name to watch for the future.