Next man up is a critical part of Nick Saban’s process at the University of Alabama.
He prepares each player for the moment it becomes a starter. Christopher Allen was in line for a huge season, but the fifth-year senior sustained a fractured foot against Miami.
According to Saban, the injury will require surgery and Allen will miss the remainder of the season. Drew Sanders, a sophomore, was behind the Louisiana native at strong-side “SAM” linebacker.
The 6-foot-5, 244-pounder totaled six tackles versus the Hurricanes and is ready to pick up the slack. Sanders arrived in Alabama’s 2020 class as a five-star from Texas. During Tuesday’s player interviews, Henry To’oto’o said Sanders is always working hard and in the weight room.
Coach Saban told reporters last week that the team has confidence in Sanders.
Dallas Turner is another player to watch. He and Chris Braswell are co-backups to Will Anderson Jr., but Saban highlighted Turner as something that could have a pass-rushing role. Turner, like Sanders and Braswell, was a five-star prospect in the Crimson Tide’s signing class. He was one of eight 5-stars in this year’s group. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder carries the height of Anderson but is two pounds bigger. A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Turner had a production fall camp and caught Sal Sunseri’s attention with his strength and technique. Anderson told reporters that Turner does a ‘great job’ of taking coaching well.
He played at two of the best high schools in the state of Florida.
Turner started his career at American Heritage and finished at St. Thomas Aquinas. He won Florida 7A State Championships at both schools, including a high school national championship in 2019 at American Heritage. During his lone season at St. Thomas Aquinas, Turner collected 36 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, and 13 sacks in 2020. He has violent hands and explosive speed off the edge. Per To’oto’o, Turner is growing as a player. The talented freshman has a lot of players in the outside linebacker room he looks up to.
Anderson, Allen, Sanders, and King Mwikuta will help him become an elite playmaker. Turner saw what Anderson achieved as a freshman, and it motivated him to come to Alabama. Now, he will have a chance to create an impact on defense.
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