Spring football returned to the University of Alabama on Friday, March 19.
Fans of the Crimson Tide are excited for this edition of athletes taking the field, as Nick Saban and the program look to repeat as national champions. With 15 practice sessions – including the A-Day Game – the staff writers for Touchdown Alabama Magazine will provide in-depth previews on marquee players.
We have made it to the defensive side of the ball. Our first profile piece is on Phidarian Mathis.
-Classification: Redshirt Senior
–Position: Defensive Lineman
-Hometown: Wisner, La.
-Weight: 312 pounds
-Strengths: Power, athleticism, quickness, pass rush abilities, experience, run stopper
-Weaknesses: Needs to become more explosive in creating negative plays
–Summary: The departure of Christian Barmore to the NFL Draft means Phidarian Mathis emerges as the energetic leader and production leader on Alabama’s defensive line.
He turned in a strong junior season, totaling 31 tackles (five for loss), 1.5 sacks, three quarterback pressures, three pass breakups, and one forced fumble in 2020. Mathis was one of the reasons behind the Crimson Tide’s pass rush and overall defense improving during the latter portion of last year. The 6-foot-4, 312-pounder got stronger as the year went on, en route to helping Alabama capture a Southeastern Conference title and a College Football Playoff National Championship. He was a solid performer during the Tide’s SEC-only schedule, including a performance of two tackles (one for loss), one sack, two breakups, and one quarterback pressure against Mississippi State.
Mathis earned Defensive Player of the Week honors from the coaching staff for his efforts.
He has played in 40 career games across four seasons, but this fall is crucial for Mathis.
Alabama has an opportunity to field a defense that resembles its 2016 group. Defensively, the Tide has veteran leadership across the board for the first time since 2017. Mathis possesses the ability to stop the run and rush the quarterback; however, he has to become more explosive in creating negative plays. Alabama will get production from Christopher Allen and William Anderson, but Mathis needs to be a consistent force too. The power, athleticism, and quickness in his game and he has experience as well.
Mathis is limited this spring (recovering from an injury), but he will be ready to go in the fall.
He has been on two SEC Championship teams (2018, 2020) and two national title teams (2017, 2020) since arriving as a four-star in the 2017 class. This season, Mathis looks to secure a valuable draft stock.
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