Alabama Football News

Justin Woodall, former Alabama safety, sees big things for Malachi Moore and Ga’Quincy McKinstry next season

Malachi Moore returns an interception for Alabama versus UGA
Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Alabama’s defensive secondary will serve as a strength of the team next season.

With its returning players, one former Crimson Tide safety has the defense restored to dominant form in the fall — especially with the veterans on the back end. Justin Woodall, the founder of All In One Training Academy in Hoover, Ala., was recruited by Mike Shula to Alabama in 2006 but played for Nick Saban from 2007 to 2009. His best season was in 2009 as he was one of a few Shula recruits that helped Saban capture his first Southeastern Conference title and BCS National Championship at Alabama.

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Woodall played in 14 games that year and totaled 45 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, and three interceptions.

After being a strong player, Woodall is currently training a pair of Crimson Tide student-athletes.

In working with Malachi Moore before the 2020 season, he got the former four-star prepared to have a Freshman All-SEC and Freshman All-American year.

Moore took Woodall’s training and posted 44 tackles, four tackles for loss, six pass breakups, two quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, three interceptions (team-high), and one touchdown. Before an injury forced him out of the College Football Playoff, Moore started in 11 games last year.

He allowed only one touchdown reception, and it was in the SEC title game. While he excelled in Alabama’s nickel defense, Woodall sees Moore as someone who can play on an island at cornerback too.

*Justin Woodall talks Malachi Moore at the 33:10 mark

*Justin Woodall talks Ga’Quincy McKinstry at the 35:48 mark

“He is very versatile,” Woodall said of Moore via In My Own Words. “I would even put him at safety. He is going to be physical. You have to think more at the ‘star’ position, but he would get to play a little faster at cornerback. He is good on the outside. He showed that in high school, and I think he can do it in college. If he has to move on the island, I think he will do well.”

Woodall wants to see Moore continue to excel at learning the playbook.

“I think he got a good grasp on it as a freshman, but it’s about really dissecting the playbook to be able to play fast and put everyone else in position,” Woodall said. “I think he can be the type of leader that anybody else needs help on the defense, he can put them in the right position. That is going to help him play faster.”

Ga'Quincy McKinstry poses for picture doing Alabama visit

5-star athlete, Ga’Quincy McKinstry posing in his Alabama uniform on his visit/ Photo comes from McKinstry’s social media

When it comes to Ga’Quincy McKinstry, the five-star athlete from this signing class has Tide fans excited.

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He played wide receiver and defensive back at Pinson Valley High School, but Alabama has positioned him for the defensive backfield.

Per Woodall, McKinstry’s athleticism immediately jumps out at people.

“His ball skills jump off the board,” Woodall said of McKinstry. “Talent-wise, he has all the talent in the world to go and play early. Now, it is all about him learning the system and getting stronger. To me, it is going to be weight room and playbook for him.  If he is good with the weight room and the playbook, then he will play early.”

For Woodall, he said McKinstry’s biggest challenge will be learning concepts.

“He has to learn football at this level,” Woodall said. “In high school, they don’t throw as much at you. At the collegiate level, learning those concepts … the faster you learn those concepts in Nick Saban’s system, the faster you are going to play. He likes people that play fast and know what they are doing. If he can pick the playbook up and stay healthy, McKinstry will play early.”

Moore developed his voice last season, but McKinstry will have to find his role.

RELATED: Pro Football Focus names Alabama’s Will Anderson as one of its top DL for next season

Alabama returns four starters to its secondary and others that were contributors. Spring football will show us if McKinstry’s athleticism pushes him to take someone’s spot.

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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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