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Alabama Football Impact Players

Patrick Surtain II, No. 5 impact player for Alabama versus LSU

Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

With this being the biggest week of the college football regular season, ESPN’s College Football GameDay has chosen to take in the Alabama-LSU matchup.

Both teams will square off on Saturday inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, as CBS Sports will have the call at 2:30 p.m.  

In honor of the game, Touchdown Alabama Magazine is doing a series of the top five marquee players for the Crimson Tide against the Tigers.  

The fifth most important player is cornerback, Patrick Surtain II. 

After garnering Freshman All-American honors last season, Surtain has picked up where he left off – in terms of being a playmaker.

He stands among the team leaders in tackles (27), breakups (six, tied for first), forced fumbles (two, first on team) and interceptions (two, tied for second). 

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 203 pounds, supporters of Louisiana State University still are bothered by Surtain’s father, Patrick Surtain Sr., in not having his son pick the Tigers.

The five-star chose Alabama over LSU in the 2018 signing class and his decision has paid off thus far.  

RELATED: Tua Tagovailoa can snatch the Heisman with a marquee game this week


During player interviews last week, Surtain said he remembers the 2011 game between both schools and what he loved most was it not being a shootout. As a sophomore, he will face someone who has taken the Tigers’ offense to the next level in his second year. Joe Burrow is regarded by most as the favorite for the Heisman Trophy and is growing as the potential No. 1 quarterback taken in the 2020 NFL Draft. He looks to put a 29-0 embarrassing loss to the Crimson Tide behind him; however, Surtain will not make it easy at the right corner spot. 

In the aftermath of Justin Jefferson calling out the Tide in an interview, Trevon Diggs will look to put him on his island and shut him down. This leaves Ja’Marr Chase to deal with Surtain. 

It is actually a matchup that favors Alabama, seeing how Chase gives up one inch and three pounds to Surtain at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds.

A sophomore at wide receiver, Chase is one of four main targets for Burrow.

He is second on the team in receptions (43) and receiving yards (749), while sharing the team lead in touchdowns (nine) with Jefferson.

Regardless of Jefferson having the bigger name, Chase is actually the deep threat. He leads the Tigers in both yards per catch (17.4) and yards per game (107), showing he can destroy opposing defensive backfields. 

Three of his four 100-yard performances have come against Southern Conference schools – including one 200-yard outing versus Vanderbilt. For Surtain, his ability to press, jam and play the ball in the air will all be important. He must stay in step and in phase with Chase on routes. 

One of the problems Alabama tends to have with its corners is guys getting their heads turned to face the ball. If Surtain can play the ball, hands and eyes of Chase, then he will succeed in forcing Burrow to target a player that he has not success with establishing chemistry. 

Since many teams have not targeted Diggs this season, Surtain can expect some passes thrown his way against LSU.  

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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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