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Early spring practice positional battles: Who steps up at defensive end for Alabama?

Byron Young (#47) tackles Texas A&M receiver Ainias Smith
Photo by Kent Gidley of Alabama Athletics

Spring practice begins next month for Alabama football.

Crimson Tide fans are ready to see their team make a return to the College Football Playoff National Championship stage, but the work starts in March and April. Nick Saban has graduated a lot of experience to the NFL Draft, but the Tide has retooled its deck of players and coaches.

RELATED: Early spring practice positional battles: Who wins backup QB job between Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson?

The staff at Touchdown Alabama Magazine is getting everyone prepared for spring football with a new series.

We will be highlighting early spring positions battles and which players will earn starting roles. After a breakdown of the defensive tackles, we continue with the front line. We dissect the defensive end position for spring ball.

Byron Young

Byron Young decided to forgo the NFL Draft and return to school for his senior season.

He will start as a defensive end for the Crimson Tide. As a native of Laurel, Miss., Young arrived at the University of Alabama as a talented four-star in the 2019 signing class. The 6-foot-3, 292-pounder has improved his numbers each year, totaling a career-high for tackles (39), stops for loss (nine), and sacks (two) in 2021. He also recorded two quarterback hurries for the Tide.

RELATED: Early spring practice positional battles: Who wins the starting defensive tackle job for Alabama?

Young has collected 91 tackles (17 for loss), four sacks, three quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery, and one pass breakup in 41 games across three years. He’s been effective as a contributor, but now Young gets his chance to shine in a starting role.

Coach Saban has mentioned that Young is one of the quickest linemen on the team.

Justin Eboigbe

Justin Eboigbe will serve as the other starting defensive end — opposite Byron Young.

He came as a four-star from Georgia in the 2019 recruiting class. Eboigbe totaled 19 tackles in 2021, but he has 48 tackles, four stops for loss, six quarterback hurries, two breakups, and one interception in 38 games. The 6-foot-5, 285-pounder is good against the run and does have some pass rush moves. He is not as dynamic as Young, but Eboigbe will get an opportunity to secure the starting role. He will have several players pushing him in spring practice to try and supplant him in his senior year.

Contributors that can be starters

-Stephon Wynn Jr.

-Jahmil Burroughs

-Jah-Marien Latham

-Braylen Ingraham

Young names to watch in spring

-Monkell Goodwine

-Khurtiss Perry

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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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