Connect with us

Alabama Football Headlines

Why Deontae Lawson is the single most important player on Alabama’s defense this year?

Alabama inside linebacker Deontae Lawson (No. 0) on the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium for 2024 A-Day Game.
Photo comes via SEC Media Portal

Kane Wommack has one major aspect going for him with Alabama’s defense.

The Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator has an experienced group that is about the team goal.

RELATED: Who are the top five most important Alabama players for this season?

Alabama football wants to capture a College Football Playoff National Championship, which is something it has not done since 2020. So much has shifted to offense through the years in the sport; however, defense remains important.

Coaches such as Paul W. “Bear” Bryant, Eugene “Gene” Stallings, and Nick Saban built the program on defense. Bryant changed with the times to make the offense better and Saban brought in Lane Kiffin to upgrade the offense in 2014, but defense was the Tide’s cornerstone for a long time. Alabama enjoyed the offensive firepower from Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones, and Bryce Young at quarterback, yet it would like to return to also having a defense that opposition fears when it faces the Tide.

Who is the single most important player on Alabama defense this season? Is it a tough question to answer because a lot of players want the responsibility. However, linebacker Deontae Lawson is the ideal fit for the conversation.

The national championships for Alabama football have gone through the middle linebacker on defense. Rolando McClain, Dont’a Hightower, C.J. Mosley, Reggie Ragland, Reuben Foster, Rashaan Evans, and Shaun Dion Hamilton were alphas on the field.

McClain led the Tide in tackles for the 2009 BCS National Championship, Hightower anchored a unit in 2011 that led college football in all five major defensive categories, Mosley captained the Tide to a BCS National Championship as the team leader for total tackles in 2012, Ragland and Foster were a ferocious duo in 2015 to get the Alabama to a national title, and Evans and Hamilton were a tandem in 2017 that led the Tide to a national championship. Hightower is the lone player in the group that did not grow up in the state of Alabama. Everyone else did, and Lawson is an Alabama native too. He has to take ownership of the group in the fall and be the player his teammates follow. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder recorded 67 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, four quarterback hurries, and four pass breakups in 2023. He’s a productive player, yet Lawson needs to be the alpha. 

RELATED: Will Anderson ranks his Top 5 Alabama teams of all time

He changed his number from 32 to 0, becoming the first player in school history to wear No. 0.

Malachi Moore is deserving to be the single most important player on defense, but the middle linebacker starts everything.

Lawson has to be the one to lead the charge and have this defense as the most feared in college football.

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber-only content!*

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 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.

More in Alabama Football Headlines