Alabama’s coaching staff excited about a young Crimson Tide linebacker for future
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Alabama signed three promising linebacker prospects in its 2022 recruiting class.
All of them have stepped in during this week of Allstate Sugar Bowl prep in New Orleans for Kansas State. Pete Golding, the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator, highlighted one of the linebackers during Thursday’s press conference.
RELATED: Alabama DC Pete Golding unveils future plans for the Crimson Tide
Jihaad Campbell, a New Jersey native, graded out as a five-star via Touchdown Alabama Magazine’s Director of Scouting/Recruiting, Justin Smith. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder played wide receiver and defensive end at Timber Creek High School for three years before spending his senior year at IMG Academy. Coach Nick Saban recruited him to be an outside linebacker; however, Campbell has transitioned to an inside linebacker. He’s earned a lot of reps in practice because fifth-year senior Jaylen Moody is dealing with a right arm injury. According to Golding, Campbell is behind Deontae Lawson at weakside “Will” linebacker. Golding said the extra practices have helped Campbell, and he is ‘excited’ for his future with the Crimson Tide.
“Jihaad was an outside linebacker in high school, so the transition from outside to inside is hard,” Golding said.
“As an outside piece, you are not reading or diagnosing the box. You do not have keys, and you don’t have a run-and-pass responsibility. The spring and summer were big for him. One thing about these bowl games is the players get 11 extra practices. Jihaad Campbell and Shawn Murphy, those two freshmen linebackers, have taken advantage of these practices. I think he’s (Campbell) become more comfortable at the position. I think he has trained his eyes this season so he can trust them. He has good twitch and pass-rush abilities, but he has learned to read and diagnose the box. He has picked up on motion, flashers, and things like that. He has taken a big step.
Campbell’s growth is significant, especially with Henry To’oto’o and Moody leaving after the bowl game.
He has an opportunity to possibly snatch a starting job at middle or weakside linebacker next season.
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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.