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Alabama Football Impact Players

How the versatility of this Alabama player has the Crimson Tide’s defense playing for an SEC Championship

Alabama defensive back Terrion Arnold (3) runs the ball against USF at Raymond James in Tampa, FL on Saturday, Sep 16, 2023.
Photo comes via SEC Media Portal

Amazingly, a simple acronym has taken this Alabama team from reeling to playing for a Southeastern Conference Championship and a possible College Football Playoff berth.

The two players behind Let All Naysayers Know or LANK have Nick Saban in a position to win his ninth SEC Championship as the Crimson Tide’s head football coach. One-half of the duo brings versatility to an Alabama defense that has been the best second-half unit in college football. He has Kevin Steele on the verge of being an SEC Champion in his return to Alabama.

RELATED: Nick Saban details the most significant aspect for Alabama to beat Auburn

Terrion Arnold, a redshirt sophomore, is an incredible story. He never played cornerback in high school; however, the native Floridian has become arguably the best corner in the SEC. Arnold, a former five-star in the 2021 recruiting class, encountered growing pains last year, but it bettered him. He’s turned himself into an elite defender, as quarterbacks and wide receivers have not succeeded in challenging him. The 6-foot, 196-pounder ranks fourth on the defense for total tackles (52) and has six tackles for loss, a sack, 10 pass breakups (team-high), two quarterback hurries, a forced fumble, and three interceptions (team-high).

He’s become a vocal leader on defense, and someone Miss Terry Saban can depend on to keep players focused. 

Arnold has moved a lot in the secondary this season, playing cornerback, star, and safety. Coach Saban praised Arnold’s versatility as a primary reason for the Tide’s defense performing better.

“He’s had to play multiple positions … some star at times, without a lot of reps at it … his coverage ability has been very good,” Saban said about Arnold.

He called the third-year player ‘a trooper,’ because Arnold does not complain. He takes on challenges of different roles and wants to excel. Arnold’s diversity helps Kool-Aid McKinstry, Malachi Moore, Caleb Downs, and Jaylen Key be at their best as starters. 

RELATED: Terrion Arnold says this defense ‘will restore the Alabama standard’

It also helps Trey Amos, Kristian Story, and Devonta Smith as well. Alabama has depth in its secondary, but Arnold’s versatility makes it dangerous. He is ready to lead the secondary into Jordan-Hare Stadium for an Iron Bowl showdown against Auburn.

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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 15 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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