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Alabama returns a lot of talent at inside linebacker, but can Jackson Bratton find a role?

Jackson Bratton (No. 33) in warmups at LB for Alabama before a game in 2020
Alabama LB Jackson Bratton (No. 33) in warmups before games in 2020 season/Photo comes from Bratton's twitter, @jacksonbratton2

Alabama football is stacked with playmakers at different positions.

When it comes to inside linebacker, Nick Saban returns Christian Harris, Shane Lee, Jaylen Moody, and Brandon “Ale” Kaho as players with a lot of knowledge of the system. Demouy Kennedy and Jackson Bratton came in the 2020 signing class, while Ian Jackson, Deontae Lawson, and Kendrick Blackshire arrived in this year’s class. Harris will get the first opportunity at middle linebacker to replace Dylan Moses; however, Bratton needs a chance to create a role for himself and show his capabilities.

In a recent article, yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine broke down Harris, Lee, Moody, Kennedy, and Lawson in the conversation of “Mike” linebacker. Now, we switch to Bratton and discuss what makes him stand out as a candidate.

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A native of Muscle Shoals, Ala., Bratton enters his second year with the Crimson Tide.

He did not play last season, but he came to Alabama as one of the best in-state middle linebacker prospects in the nation.

Bratton garnered a four-star rating at Muscle Shoals High School — totaling 273 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks in his sophomore and junior seasons for the Trojans. As a senior, he was a semifinalist for the Dick Butkus Award. He was a two-sport athlete, juggling football and baseball, and earned Class 6A All-State first-team honors in 2018. One thing that stands out about Bratton is his versatility. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder can play multiple roles at linebacker and create game-changing plays.

He has the ability to dominate at either middle or weakside linebacker. Also, he brings pass rush skills too.

During his time at Muscle Shoals, his feel for the game drew one’s attention. Bratton sheds blocks, stops the run, plays coverage, runs down quarterbacks (lateral quickness), and covers a lot of ground. He was all over the field on his highlight tape and was constantly around the ball. If a comparison were to be made on him, Bratton resembles former Tide linebacker, Dillon Lee.

Lee, a native of Buford, Ga., played at Alabama from 2012 to 2015.

He was on three Southeastern Conference title teams and two national championship teams. Lee, like Bratton, had the versatility to play both inside and outside for the Crimson Tide. After his freshman year, he combined for 66 tackles from 2013 to 2015.

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Bratton, unlike Lee, has a quicker first step in attacking plays. He will produce more numbers but needs an opportunity.

The coming spring will be huge for Bratton to show the coaching staff he’s ready to be a star.

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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

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