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3 reasons why this Alabama freshman DB will be the most impactful newcomer

Alabama freshman DB Red Morgan (#16) at spring practice for the Crimson Tide.
Photo comes via SEC Media Portal

The University of Alabama made sure it signed a talented defensive backs class for its football program before Nick Saban announced his retirement from coaching at the institution.

Two names left for the NCAA transfer portal — Jameer Grimsley and Peyton Woodyard — but the Crimson Tide hung on to five freshmen in the secondary. All five specialize in different aspects, but one has an opportunity to be the most impactful newcomer in the backfield in the fall.

Rydarrius “Red” Morgan, a former four-star, came to the Tide as a marquee safety prospect.

RELATED: OPINION: 3 reasons why Kalen DeBoer will win first national championship at Alabama faster than Nick Saban did

He was special at Central High School in Phenix City, Ala.

Morgan plays bigger than his 6-foot, 175-pound frame and had a very good spring session on campus. He is in a position to start on defense, but here are three reasons why he’ll be the most impactful freshman defender. 

1. Elite Athleticism

The freshmen that have started in the defensive secondary at Alabama, especially in the Nick Saban era, all had elite athleticism.

Morgan is no different, and he showed it in spring practice.

Every assistant coach talked about the athlete he is during the Crimson Tide’s 15 practices.

Colin Hitschler, Alabama’s co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach, said Morgan ‘jumps out the gym’ athletically. Kalen DeBoer stated how the in-state talent made one to two really impressive plays at each practice. Malachi Moore, a fifth-year player, referred to Morgan as ‘crazy athletic.’

He said when Morgan learns the entire defense he will be very special. He created turnovers at practice, including two scrimmages.

Morgan also possesses the physicality to come downhill and make punishing tackles on running backs and receivers.

RELATED: Transfer linebacker commits to SEC program over Alabama

He wants to be the best and his athleticism will help him.

2. Versatility

Versatility had Minkah Fitzpatrick, a former Alabama safety, nearly win two spots in the secondary as a freshman in 2015.

Morgan earned first-team reps at ‘Husky’ and free safety in spring practice.

He rotated with DeVonta Smith and Keon Sabb, but Kane Wommack is impressed with Morgan’s range in the secondary.

His ability to fly to the ball, break on passes, dislodge passes from receivers, generate interceptions, make secure tackles, and pressure a quarterback on a blitz if needed is the reason why Alabama’s coaching staff wants to get Morgan on the field as quickly as possible. Coach DeBoer is about playing the best players, regardless of age, and Morgan showed in spring he’s one of the best.

The versatility he brings is second to none.

3. In-state passion for Alabama football

Athletes from Alabama that get an offer from the Crimson Tide care deeply about it.

It means more to them that they can be successful at the big-time program of their home state. Coach Hitschler paid Morgan the ultimate compliment as an Alabama native in spring practice as to why he sees the freshman being successful.

“First of all, Red is from Alabama,” Hitschler said. “He grew up an Alabama fan and to be out here as a freshman, playing with the ones, and earning it every day … he is fun to coach. He is elastic. He jumps through this roof every day. His work ethic is special.”

Morgan wants to be great. He has a coaching staff and teammates pushing him to be great.

He could have left the program upon Nick Saban retiring, but he chose to stay because all he wants is Alabama.

His passion for the school makes him someone that will be an impact freshman on defense.

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Stephen M. Smith is the 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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