A minor knee injury kept him from participating in Alabama’s preseason scrimmages; nevertheless, DJ Dale has returned and is working toward getting back into shape.
The freshman at defensive tackle was one of six linemen that signed in the Crimson Tide’s top-ranked recruiting class in February. Hailing from Pinson, Ala., the product of Clay-Chalkville High School was a standout in spring ball and was having a stellar fall camp, until sustaining a sprained knee.
At 6-foot-3 and 308 pounds, Dale possesses the strength, quickness, footwork and motor to be an exceptional run stuffer and inside pass rusher for Alabama.
Per Leonard Stephens of Step-By-Step Performance Training out of Birmingham, Ala., he told yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine that Dale will get 10 sacks this season.
Stephens worked with Dale through spring and into the summer.
The training has paid off with how Nick Saban and his staff – especially defensive line coach, Brian Baker – have showered the freshman with praises. He has been taking first-team reps alongside Raekwon Davis and LaBryan Ray, and according to Saban, Dale “does not act like a freshman at all.”
“He was really doing well, until he got hurt,” Saban said of Dale on Thursday.
“So, he missed maybe a week or 10 days. He’s probably just now getting back to normal, but we’ve been really pleased with his initial quickness. He played with power, he’s a very smart player, he learns well and he executes well.”
During the time he was out, Phidarian Mathis took Dale’s place with the first group.
The idea for Saban is getting the projected starter at nose tackle prepared to go versus Duke next week in the season-opener at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Dale is a vital part of this freshmen class that wants to see Alabama get back to a College Football Playoff title game and win it all.
*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*