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Will we see more usage of CJ Dippre for Alabama in 2024 season?

Photo comes via SEC Media Portal

Kalen DeBoer has at least one position for Alabama football overjoyed that he’s the new head coach.

Tight ends were heavily featured for the Crimson Tide early in the Nick Saban era.

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Players such as Colin Peek, Brad Smelley, and Michael Williams were red zone targets, good route runners, and consistent receivers for BCS National Championships in 2009, 2011, and 2012.

Alabama kept O.J. Howard, a former five-star in the 2013 recruiting class, hidden in 2015 until the College Football Playoff. The impressive specimen shined versus Michigan State (Goodyear Cotton Bowl) and Clemson, catching five passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns in the CFP National Championship matchup against the Tigers.

Howard earned Most Valuable Offensive Player honors for his performance. Irv Smith assisted the Tide to a national title in 2017 while Miller Forristall helped quarterback Mac Jones get Alabama to a championship in 2020.

Will the Tide have a tight end with high usage in DeBoer’s offense? 

CJ Dippre is very hopeful he is the one.

He enters his second season at the University of Alabama after transferring from Maryland. Dippre was not used much in the Terrapins offense, so he decided to come to the Southeastern Conference.

In his lone season with Nick Saban, Dippre caught 11 passes for 187 receiving yards — helping the Tide to an SEC Championship and College Football Playoff appearance in 2023. The 6-foot-5, 257-pounder should have more success under DeBoer, especially with the tight ends his offenses developed at Eastern Michigan, Fresno State, Indiana, and Washington.

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DeBoer coached Tyreese Russell, Cody Tuttle, Sam Browning, Nigel Kirby, and Dan Buschman to production as an offensive coordinator at Eastern Michigan from 2014 to 2016.

Russell had 39 catches for 523 yards and three touchdowns in 2014 while Browning posted 24 receptions for 326 yards and three scores in 2015.

Kirby had an explosive freshman season in 2016 for DeBoer, totaling 34 receptions for 437 yards and four touchdowns. Buschman caught 10 passes in 2016, including two for scores.

At Fresno State, DeBoer had Jared Rice in 2017 and 2018.

He coached Rice to 77 catches for 1,052 receiving yards and five touchdowns in two years. DeBoer was at Indiana as an offensive play-caller in 2019 and coached Peyton Hendershot to 52 receptions for 622 yards and four touchdowns. He took the head coaching job at the University of Washington in 2022 after the program went 4-8 in the previous season. In two years, Jack Westover had 77 catches, 775 yards, and five touchdowns for the Huskies. Devin Culp totaled 45 receptions, 474 yards, and three scores in two seasons.

Josh Cuevas had four catches in 2023 for 164 yards and a touchdown for Washington.

Westover, Culp, and Cuevas all aided the Huskies to a Pac-12 Championship and appearance in the CFP national title game inn 2023.

DeBoer’s offense is tight end friendly, so Dippre should have a big role in providing Jalen Milroe a consistent target.

Alabama fans look forward to Dippre being a factor in this system.

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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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