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Justin Eboigbe on mentality for this Alabama defensive line: “It starts with us.”

Justin eboigbe going for tackle at Alabama football fall camp
Photo by Kent Gidley of Alabama Athletics

Alabama football has a veteran leader back on its defensive line, and he is thankful for his fifth year.

Justin Eboigbe was playing the best football of his career until a neck injury before the Arkansas game caused him to miss the remainder of last season. As a native Georgian, he came to the Crimson Tide as a four-star defensive end in 2019.

RELATED: How an IMG Academy connection has Alabama ‘ruthless’ on the offensive line

Eboigbe has helped the Tide to two Southeastern Conference Championships (2020, 2021) and a College Football Playoff National Championship in 2020, but him having another chance to play the game he loves is pushing him to want more.

The 6-foot-5, 292-pounder knows the dominance Georgia’s defensive front has had in the last two years. He wants Alabama’s defensive line to reclaim that crown. On Tuesday, Eboigbe shared the mindset this Tide defensive front has going into the fall.

“We are the heartbeat of the defense,” Eboigbe said about the expectation for the defensive line. “It starts in the trenches. The identity of a team is built in the trenches. The way that we play is going to be how the defense plays. It starts with us up front and we know we have a challenge in front of us. We have been preparing ourselves and getting better each day. It starts with us.”

Alabama has depth and experience at defensive tackle and defensive end. Jamil Burroughs, Tim Smith, James Smith, Damon Payne, Tim Kennan III, and others have excelled in spring practice. Freddie Roach has to trust his rotation on the field and put as many playmakers as he can out there. The defense can be a very strong group if the front line can set a physcial tone.

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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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