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Impact Players

Brian Branch has stepped up in a major way and has elevated Alabama’s defense

Brian Branch (#14) of Alabama sacks Desmond Ridder (#9) of Cincinnati in 2021 Cotton Bowl Classic
Kevin Jairaj - USA Today Sports

Brian Branch came to the University of Alabama in 2020 as one of the top safety prospects during the recruiting cycle.

A native Georgian, he became known for his ball skills, coverage skills, and tackling skills at Sandy Creek High School.

RELATED: Alabama opens as an underdog to Georgia in CFP National Championship

Branch graduated as the school’s leader for interceptions and came to the Crimson Tide.

He was impactful on Alabama’s undefeated College Football Playoff National Championship team.

Branch totaled 27 tackles, seven pass breakups, and two interceptions as a freshman.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder has stepped up more this season and has elevated the Crimson Tide’s defense. Since the loss to Texas A&M, Branch’s energy and production have guided the secondary to improvement. Branch totaled 15 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, and four breakups in Alabama’s matchups with Auburn, Georgia, and Cincinnati. 

He collected two breakups apiece against Georgia and Cincinnati.

Branch was everywhere at AT&T Stadium for the Cotton Bowl. He pressured Desmond Ridder, played well in run support, led Alabama in tackles (eight), and broke up two passes.

Cincinnati did not record a touchdown, and Branch helped limit its offense to 218 total yards, 74 yards rushing, 58 total plays, 3.8 yards per play, and two conversions on third down in 12 attempts.

He has been on fire since the Iron Bowl, and Branch adds another element of swagger to an Alabama defense that continues to feel disrespected by the media.

Branch helped the Tide to a 27-6 victory over the Bearcats, and he is prepared to set the tone for the rematch versus the Bulldogs in the CFP National Championship Game on Jan. 10.

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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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