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Alabama safety Deionte Thompson ready to give team more against Mercer

Alicia Devine - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

It may not be what Alabama fans want to hear, but in looking toward next season, Deionte Thompson returns as the leader of the secondary.  

Before facing the loss of six defensive backs to graduation or National Football League, head coach Nick Saban wants to see how Thompson along with others will perform against Mercer for senior day this weekend. Junior safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who had a hamstring injury versus LSU and was not 100 percent healthy last week, did not practice on Tuesday or Wednesday. 

He’ll probably make an appearance in spots, however, the New Jersey native’s presence and full participation for the following matchup is more important. After being fluctuated between wide receiver and safety for quite some time, Thompson became settled as a defensive player in 2016. 

His exploits on special teams have increased – especially with him receiving multiple honors from the Crimson Tide’s coaching staff this season. When asked to come in on defense, Thompson embraces the moment by making tackles and dissecting the flow of plays. 

Now at 6-foot-2 and 194 pounds, the product of Orange, Texas is not only a physical specimen, but he also carries a high football IQ and was Fitzpatrick’s understudy before the year started. 

Saban praised Thompson for his efforts on special teams and defense on Wednesday, but he mentioned in his presser that he wants to see more from the redshirt sophomore. 

“I hope that some of these guys will have roles in this game for whatever reason, that will give them some experience that will enhance their growth and development as players and their confidence, but that goes into how they play,” Saban said. 

In weeding out the real from coach speak, what Saban is saying is Saturday’s contest will be Thompson’s audition in being a critical part for this team moving forward.  

Should he play well, his role shall be increased. 

“Look, I think the most important thing is this game is that we execute, play well, take care of the ball,” Saban said. “Nobody is taking this game lightly in my opinion in terms of how we respect the other team and their ability to do things. So, we really have to focus on executing and playing to our standard.” 

Once a four-star recruit, Thompson anticipates playing to that standard in sending the senior class off right at Bryant-Denny Stadium. He worked at safety all week in practice with Ronnie Harrison, and it will be interesting to see the level of intensity Alabama shows toward Mercer. 

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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