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Alabama players explain why freshman DB Caleb Downs is a potential impact playmaker

Alabama freshman DB Caleb Downs (#2) on the field for the 2023 spring game.
Photo comes via John Ivory of Touchdown Alabama Magazine

The University of Alabama had three student-athletes with head coach Nick Saban at SEC Media Days.

On Wednesday, JC Latham, Dallas Turner, and Kool-Aid McKinstry had a message for reporters at the Grant Hyatt Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. Turner and McKinstry — both defensive leaders for the Crimson Tide — highlighted a true freshman that is prepared to excite Alabama fans. Caleb Downs, a five-star defensive back from Georgia, looked impressive in spring practice.

RELATED: Alabama freshman Caleb Downs projects as a breakout safety, per sports tech company

Defensive backs Minkah Fitzpatrick, Patrick Surtain II, and Malachi Moore were impactful freshmen. Fitzpatrick recorded two interceptions in 2015 for touchdowns, helping the Tide to a College Football Playoff National Championship. Moore posted six pass breakups, three interceptions, and returned a fumble for a touchdown in 2020, assisting Alabama to a CFP National Championship. Surtain collected seven breakups and an interception to propel the Tide to a Southeastern Conference Championship and a CFP berth in 2018. McKinstry and Turner see more significant things from Downs in the fall.

McKinstry said Downs does all the little things right.

“I feel like a guy like Caleb, he’s very dedicated,” he said.

“Every time I pop up at the facility, he’s already been there for maybe an hour or two getting extra work in with the coaches, learning the defense, doing small things like that is very important to learn the defense. I feel like I see him doing a lot of small things in the weight room. Even when we get done working out, he works on his abs one day, might be stretches one day.”

RELATED: Caleb Downs will be Alabama’s defensive freshman impact player for 2023

Turner, who enters his junior season as an outside linebacker, said Downs is a ‘guy you can depend on.’

“Caleb can be an immediate impact player,” Turner said. “Very smart, very cerebral. He’s a young guy, but he also knows what he’s doing. Communicates very well. He is very confident, too, in his game. If you look at him physically on the field, you can tell he’s ready to play.”

Downs, who stands at 6 feet and 203 pounds, could serve as a free safety or strong safety for Alabama.

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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.

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.

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