Connect with us

Alabama Football News

Alabama’s OL, defensive front, and secondary pushing physicality

Seth McLaughlin prepares to snap to Bryce Young
Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

The Fourth Quarter Program has presented Alabama football with a stronger roster ahead of spring practice.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban has returned the emphasis on physicality, mental toughness, and strength to the group.

RELATED: Bears head coach Matt Eberflus details time with Nick Saban

The Crimson Tide has updated weight gains/losses for several players. The position groups that benefitted the most were offensive linemen, defensive front players, and defensive backs. A breakdown is below for all three areas.

Offensive Line

-Right tackle: Elijah Pritchett (6-6/312)

-Right guard: Tyler Booker (6-5/335)

-Center: Seth McLaughlin (6-4/301)

-Left guard: Kadyn Proctor (6-7/354)

-Left tackle: JC Latham (6-6/335)

Summary: Alabama could potentially win its third Joe Moore Award with this offensive line.

The Crimson Tide could put Tyler Booker at left guard to create more experience on that side.

Alabama has been its best under Coach Saban when it runs the ball off the left side. However, it does create a balance with Booker at right guard to help a potential first-year starter (Elijah Prichett) at right tackle. JC Latham would help Kadyn Proctor, a five-star, adjust at left guard as he would play left tackle. Seth McLaughlin has hovered between 290 and 295 pounds throughout his college career, but he’s now crossed the 300-pound threshold. The Tide has more physicality up front with a center that has the weight to sustain. Alabama has two tackles that are 6-6 or taller and two interior guards that will be massive run blockers. McLaughlin has experience running the center position, and Saban loves his leadership there.

Defensive Front Players

-Defensive tackle: Jaheim Oatis (6-5/328)

-Defensive end: Tim Smith (6-4/302)

-Defensive end: Jamil Burroughs (6-3/309)

-Defensive end: Damon Payne Jr. (6-4/303)

-Linebacker: Chris Braswell (6-3/255)

-Linebacker: Deontae Lawson (6-2/230)

-Linebacker: Jihaad Campbell (6-2/230)

-Linebacker: Kendrick Blackshire (6-2/233)

Summary: Alabama is more athletic on its defensive front, but it packs power.

Jaheim Oatis started his recruitment to the Crimson Tide at over 400 pounds. He is down to 328, making him a three-down nose tackle for Alabama’s defense. He can now consistently reset opposing offensive linemen, and create lanes for linebackers to shoot gaps and make tackles. Tim Smith and Jamil Burroughs came in the 2020 class at 330+ pounds. Both are under 310 pounds, which promotes agility, quickness, and explosion off the ball. Damon Payne added eight pounds to his 6-4 frame, improving to 303 pounds. He has the quickness to slip through offensive linemen and get into the backfield, but the healthy weight allows him to fight off blocks. Chris Braswell, a former five-star, came to Alabama’s 2020 class at 220 pounds. He is now the biggest linebacker on the team at 255 pounds. He should be able to convert speed to power and get huge numbers.

Deontae Lawson and Jihaad Campbell added five pounds as inside linebackers. Both improved from 225 to 230 pounds.

Kendrick Blackshire dropped from 240 to 233 pounds, but he brings the quickness and strength needed at linebacker.

Defensive Secondary

-Defensive back: Malachi Moore (6-0/198)

-Cornerback: Kool-Aid McKinstry (6-1/195)

-Cornerback: Terrion Arnold (6-0/196)

-Defensive back: Kristian Story (6-1/211)

-Defensive back: Devonta Smith (6-0/194)

-Cornerback: Earl Little II (6-1/186)

-Defensive back: Caleb Downs (6-0/203)

-Defensive back: Tony Mitchell (6-2/205)

Summary: Alabama could have a very interesting rotation in its secondary.

Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold return with experience as cornerbacks. Both arrived as five stars in the 2021 class at 180 to 188 pounds. McKinstry and Arnold are near 200 pounds at 195 and 196. Both have the physicality to re-route receivers, box out receivers to make plays on the ball, and help in run support. Malachi Moore returns after dealing with injuries, now he looks like a safety at 198 pounds. He came in 180 pounds in the 2020 class from Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.) High School.

Kristian Story, Devonta Smith, Earl Little II, Caleb Downs, and Tony Mitchell will be competing for roles in the secondary.

Each player has added weight in the defensive backfield.

Other players that added weight: QB Jalen Milroe (6-2/220), Ty Simpson (6-2/203), RB Roydell Williams (5-10/214), LB Quandarrius Robinson (6-5/231), WR Isaiah Bond (5-11/182), TE Amari Niblack (6-4/233), WR Kobe Prentice (5-10/182), WR Shazz Preston (6-0/202)

Click here to follow the Bama Elite Podcast

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber-only content!*

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.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

More in Alabama Football News