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Alabama’s success on the OL next season lies in Landon Dickerson’s versatility

Alabama offensive lineman, Landon Dickerson (No. 69) celebrates TD with Mac Jones versus Auburn in 2019 Iron Bowl/Photo comes via John David Mercer - USA Today Sports

Regardless of losing Jedrick Wills and Matt Womack to the upcoming NFL Draft and Scott Lashley to the NCAA transfer portal, Alabama is still loaded on its offensive line. 

It has the depth to experiment with a few different rotations, and this is because of the versatility of multiple players.

One person to focus on this offseason is Landon Dickerson.

After a good year at center, the former graduate transfer will return to the Crimson Tide for the 2020 season. 

A native of Hickory, N.C., Dickerson was a great addition to the Tide that started 13 games at center and right guard.

The 6-foot-6, 308-pounder graded out at 88 percent in both spots, while allowing just one sack and four quarterback hurries in 381 pass attempts. He tallied a success rate of 99.4% in missing only four assignments in 688 snaps.

Dickerson was named All-SEC second team by the league’s coach at center and second team at guard by the Associated Press. 

He anchored an offensive unit that surrendered just 12 sacks all season and helped Alabama perform in the top-10 nationally for total offense (510.8 ypg, No. 6), scoring offense (47.2 ppg, No. 2) and passing offense (342.2 ypg, No. 3).

Prior to his injury versus Mississippi State, Dickerson protected Tua Tagovailoa to 2,480 passing yards with 33 touchdowns to three interceptions. When it came time for Mac Jones at quarterback, the former five-star aided the sophomore to 1,172 yards passing with 13 scores to three picks in four games as a starter. 

His efforts in pass protection were strong; however, Dickerson was even better at run-blocking. 

Najee Harris collected five 100-yard rushing performances and recorded his first career 1,000-yard season (1,224) in 2019 with 13 touchdowns.

Dickerson cleared the way for him and Brian Robinson (five scores) to have success and both will be back next fall. Despite Tide fans loving the idea of keeping Dickerson at center and kicking Evan Neal to right tackle, the versatility of Dickerson could be a huge advantage for Alabama if it’s attacked quickly. 

RELATED: Alabama loses four-star OT Scott Lashley to NCAA transfer portal

Before the start of the 2019 season, Nick Saban mentioned how Dickerson was good at both center and guard for Alabama. At Florida State, he was used at center, guard and tackle – handling all positions with ease.

Aside from Barrett Jones, Jonah Williams and Jedrick Wills, the prototypical offensive tackle for Saban is someone that is at least 6-foot-6 with a wingspan. 

He likes for his guys on the outside to have long arms, hands and fingers, in shielding edge rushers away from the quarterback. Dickerson fits the height requirement and while he brings a toughness at the controls, rising sophomore Darrian Dalcourt is honestly a natural born center. 

Hailing from Havre de Grace, Md., Dalcourt was a four-star in the 2019 class and saw 69 snaps as a backup center in seven games. He secured the key block on two of the longest touchdown runs by a running back – Jerome Ford (37 yards, vs. Duke) and Keilan Robinson (74 yards, vs. New Mexico State). With him being so smooth at the position, having a starting lineup (left to right) of Alex Leatherwood, Neal, Dalcourt, Deonte Brown and Dickerson would still be nasty. 

The Tide also has Emil Ekiyor to rotate in as well. 

Spring practice will be here soon and we shall see how this line shakes out. 

Dickerson at center is a good move, but him at right tackle could be even better.  

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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 15 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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