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Alabama Football Impact Players

Breaking down five impact performances from Alabama’s spring game

Marvin Gentry - USA TODAY Sports

Over 74,000 people filed into Bryant-Denny Stadium during the weekend to watch what could be an exciting football team for Alabama next season.

Despite struggles from Jalen Hurts at quarterback and numerous players not participates due to injuries, there were quite a few positives to take from the spring exhibition.

With Tua Tagovailoa (thumb) sidelined, redshirt freshman Mac Jones ran the second-team offense and an exceptional job moving the ball. 

While Crimson earned a 24-12 win over White, Tide fans witnessed a pleasant site as five field goals were made — including four for White. Before we start the grueling offseason process, which includes summer workouts, SEC media days and speculation, yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine recaps the A-Day game in listing the five best performances from last week. 

Mac Jones, QB 

He is not on AJ McCarron’s level yet, however, wearing No. 10 looked good on Jones throughout the spring game.

The moment was served for Hurts to show the masses that he has closed the gap between he and Tagovailoa in the passing game, instead he struggled and Jones dominated. 

A four-star out of Jacksonville, Fla., Jones completed 23 of 35 attempts (66 percent) for 289 yards with two touchdowns to one interception. He hit on three passes for 20-plus yards – including his two scores to Chadarius Townsend (65 yards) and Xavian Marks (46 yards).

His leadership of second-team impressed Nick Saban so much, that it made him turn on Hurts in the second half. One of the ESPN microphones caught him saying “Two years and the third-string quarterback is moving the team down the field throwing the ball” in reference of his frustration toward his third-year player. Jones made strides all spring, but to see it come out in a live scrimmage and winning the Dixie Howell MVP award gives him a lot of confidence. 

Trevon Diggs, CB

He does not want to lose his spot at cornerback again. 

Trevon Diggs turned in a strong game, where he collected eight total tackles (second on Crimson) and recorded an interception off Hurts in the fourth quarter.

Throughout spring, Saban’s message to Diggs has been ‘play the man and don’t just stare at the quarterback.’ 

The second-year defensive back did that, allowing one big play on his side — a 59-yard reception from receiver Devonta Smith in the fourth quarter. Three talented freshmen will arrive on campus in the summer, but if Diggs can hold his own he’ll start at one of the two corner spots. 

Brian Robinson, RB 

Robinson was a load at Hillcrest High School and he was productive when given opportunities during the regular season in 2017. Najee Harris draws more comparisons to ex-Tide running back and 2015 Heisman winner, Derrick Henry, but it’s Robinson that carries Henry’s playing style. 

The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder showed fans his pass-catching abilities on Saturday. 

Robinson totaled six receptions for 59 yards (long of 19 yards) and was credited with the first score of the game: a one-yard run in the first quarter for Crimson. His vision and cutback abilities are smooth, but it’s the four-star’s power between the tackles and in space that’s exciting. 

Quinnen Williams, DL

Jonathan Allen told reporters in 2015 that Williams is the next biggest star on Alabama’s defensive line for years to come, and on A-Day the current Washington Redskin was right. 

Defensive ends Isaiah Buggs and Raekwon Davis will demolish quarterbacks next season – en route to getting a first-round draft stock – but the question all spring was who would emerge to replace the departed Da’Ron Payne at nose tackle?

Now, insert Williams into the equation. 

After seeing a Birmingham native dominate the roll for three years, it only makes sense to have another Birmingham product (Williams, out of Wenonah High School) take over. Williams was constantly harassing Hurts from inside, to a tune of two sacks (-13) and two tackles for loss. 

He had six tackles and led the first team defense with three quarterback hurries. 

Special Teams 

It’s a rare thing when the biggest applause from the crowd is directed at special teams, nevertheless, give Jeff Banks a ton of credit for what he has done thus far. 

In coming over from Teas A&M, he has injected confidence and consistency into both Joseph Bulovas and Skyler Delong as the duo performed well on A-Day.

Following rough outings from Adam Griffith and Andy Pappanastos, Bulovas hit on five of seven field goals. He nailed a pair of 40-plus yard attempts and shared most valuable players honors with Mac Jones afterwards. 

As for Delong, he dropped six of 10 punts inside the 20-yard line and recorded longs of 46 yards and 45 yards respectively for Crimson and White. Although he’s still learning how to get kicks off in time, working more with Banks and his long snapper will help Delong improve. 

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 @CoachingMSmith.

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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