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30 Alabama players to watch for in spring practice: Damon Payne Jr.

Alabama DL Damon Payne Jr. (#44) at practice for the Crimson Tide in the 2022 season.
Photo comes via SEC Media Portal

Alabama football’s first spring practice session under Kaleb DeBoer is approaching. 

The staff at Touchdown Alabama Magazine will spotlight 30 players to watch over this spring with spring practice starting next week. 

After looking at three early enrollees as freshmen, veteran defensive lineman Damon Payne is next.

Damon Payne Jr.

Position: Defensive Lineman

Classification: Redshirt junior

Height: 6-4

Weight: 303

2023 stats: nine tackles, one tackle for loss, 0.5 sacks

Summary: Alabama signed eight 5-stars in its 2021 class, but only one remains for this upcoming spring.

Damon Payne Jr., a Michigan native, came as one of the most explosive interior defensive line prospects. The 6-foot-4, 303-pounder chose the Crimson Tide over in-state Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Southern California among others. 

He redshirted his initial freshman season, but Payne has seen action in 20 career games.

RELATED: 30 Alabama players to watch this spring: Zabien Brown

He played in 14 matchups in 2023, posting nine tackles, a tackle for loss, and half a sack. Payne has the burst and quickness to pressure quarterbacks, but he also possesses the strength and power to draw double-teams and stop running backs.

In the 4-2-5 defensive scheme of Kane Wommack, Payne could factor in as a “bandit” tackle. He may have more of a role pressuring quarterbacks than run stopping; however, he still has to disrupt offensive timing by collapsing the pocket.

Payne is one of the older guys now with experience. He understands the scheme under Freddie Roach and has had time on the field. This spring is crucial for him to secure a starting position or at least get more marquee playing time.

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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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