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Alabama Football Impact Players

How patience turned this Alabama LB into a possible high draft pick

Gary Cosby Jr. - USA Today Sports

No one talks about how fun it is, but patience brings out the best in all of us.

For Alabama football, it is the players who embrace a waiting period who are the most rewarded.

RELATED: Watch: Several Alabama players react to huge victory over Vols

The Crimson Tide signed three incredibly talented outside linebackers in its 2020 recruiting class. All three were five stars, and two are now in the National Football League. One was the No. 3 overall pick of the NFL Draft, another became a draft selection from a different program, and the final name is making his presence felt in his fourth season at Alabama. Chris Braswell, a Maryland native, was a superstar at St. Frances Academy. He was on the Tide’s 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship team, but it took him a while to grow into what he’s become now on a good defensive team for Alabama.

Braswell added muscle to his frame to become the biggest linebacker on the team.

The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder can keep offensive linemen off of him and drop quarterbacks for sacks. He waited behind Will Anderson and Christopher Allen, watched Drew Sanders transfer, and grew with Dallas Turner, but it was all worth it.

Turner gets the All-American attention, and he deserves it, but Braswell is dominating as well.

He is having the best season of his career and NFL scouts are documenting it. Braswell has transformed himself into one of the best pass rushers in the Southeastern Conference and the nation. He totals 6.5 sacks, nine tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries, and two forced fumbles. He’s made impactful plays all season, including an interception returned for a touchdown.

RELATED: Alabama defensive breakout player early candidate: Chris Braswell

Braswell nearly had his second score of the season against Texas A&M.

He blocked a field goal and returned it for a touchdown, but a penalty negated his efforts. The talented edge rusher had the biggest impact in Saturday’s 34-20 victory over Tennessee at Bryant-Denny Stadium for the “Third Saturday in October” rivalry. 

He sacked Joe Milton twice, including one that forced a fumble. Jihaad Campbell, a sophomore linebacker, picked up the fumble and returned it for a touchdown. Braswell’s performance ignited a boisterous crowd as he had four tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks, a quarterback hurry, and a forced fumble. He was impactful in forcing three turnovers on downs and shutting the Volunteers out in the second half. Braswell came into the University of Alabama undersized, but now he has taken over.

He is tied for eighth in the nation for sacks as Alabama heads into its bye week.

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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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