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Henry To’o To’o and Christian Harris would be an all-time great linebacker duo for the Tide

Henry To'o To'o waves hands to fans
Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin - USA TODAY Sports

Two thoughts are at war with each other when it comes to Henry To’o To’o and Alabama fans.

Some want the Crimson Tide to pull the inside linebacker out of the transfer portal, because of what he can provide in returning Alabama to being elite on defense. As for others, they would rather see Nick Saban looked toward players that are currently on the roster to emerge at middle linebacker. For those who desire to see a great defense, it starts with having game-changing talents.

He did not choose the Tide in the 2019 recruiting cycle, but To’o To’o has two years of starting experience in the Southeastern Conference.

The former four-star recorded 148 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, four pass breakups, five quarterbacks hurries, and one interception in 23 games at Tennessee. Despite having names such as Jaylen Moody, Shane Lee, Ale Kaho, Demouy Kennedy, and Jackson Bratton, To’o To’o brings a presence that could have Alabama’s defense be the reason it repeats as national champions. The experience he has is invaluable, and the California native would be a coach on the field.

RELATED: Sources: Alabama football looks to pull LB Henry To’o To’o out of NCAA transfer portal

Alabama’s best defensive seasons under Saban have come with excellence at inside linebacker.

The 2009 team allowed 11.7 points per game with Rolando McClain and Dont’a Hightower.

Two years later, it was Hightower and Nico Johnson that spearheaded a unit that allowed 8.2 points per game. During the following season, Johnson and C.J. Mosley led the Tide in limiting opponents to 10.9 points per game in 2012.

Three years later, fans got a taste of Reggie Ragland and Reuben Foster holding the opposition to 15.1 points per contest.

In 2017, Alabama had a combination of Shaun Dion Hamilton, Rashaan Evans, Mack Wilson, and Dylan Moses at inside linebacker. All four helped the team to allow just 11.9 points per game.

Alabama won national titles in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2017 with those defenses.

RELATED: Several early enrollees from Alabama’s top-ranked signing class are on the roster for spring practice

Regardless of coming up short of a championship in 2016, Foster and Hamilton teamed up to hold schools to 13 points a game.

It has had some great duos, but To’o To’o and Christian Harris could be all-time great for the Tide.

Christian Harris (No. 8) of Alabama tackles Jerrion Ealy of Ole Miss

Oct 10, 2020; Oxford, MX, USA; Ole Miss running back Jerrion Ealy (9) is tackled by Alabama linebacker Christian Harris (8) at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Newman via USA TODAY Sports

Harris is coming off a successful sophomore year, where he had 79 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, six quarterback hurries, two pass breakups, and one interception. He was snubbed from making an All-SEC team and carries a lot of motivation into next season. To’o To’o has the high football intelligence with production, and Harris brings the instincts, coverage skills, and consistent pressure to the quarterback.

If the Tide can pair them together, it can recapture the feeling of fans want on defense. Alabama has other players on the roster, but one does not pass up the opportunity of having To’o To’o.

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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 @CoachingMSmithT

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