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Alabama spring practice breakdown: Grading inside linebacker room for the Crimson Tide

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Noble Member TDA
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Spring practice is over for Alabama football, but fans did see some things that caught their attention.

Kalen DeBoer has high expectations for this group in the post Nick Saban era.

RELATED: Alabama spring practice breakdown: Grading wide receiver room for the Crimson Tide

He has his eyes on a College Football Playoff National Championship, but he knows all the pieces must be in place. Alabama lost inside linebackers Kendrick Blackshire and Shawn Murphy to the NCAA transfer portal, but it has marquee depth at the position.

Kane Wommack, the Crimson Tide's defensive coordinator, has athletes that can operate the middle in his 4-2-5 Swarm Defense.

So how did the inside 'backer room perform through spring practice?

A breakdown, including the final grade, is below.

UA's inside linebacker room in 2024 spring practice

-Deontae Lawson

-Jihaad Campbell

-Justin Jefferson

-Jeremiah Alexander

-Justin Okoronkwo (freshman)

-Sterling Dixon 


Deontae Lawson and Jihaad Campbell are established inside linebackers for Alabama.

Both did well in spring practice and both will start in the fall. The depth behind those two is what impressed Crimson Tide fans during practice.

Jeremiah Alexander, a redshirt sophomore, is next in line. The former five-star in the 2022 class from Thompson High School was transitioned from outside to inside linebacker. His development took some time, but he took over scrimmages that had Kalen DeBoer saying when he is on the field 'stuff happens.' The 6-foot-2, 249-pounder collected seven total tackles in the spring game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. He reads his keys well against the run and Alexander can also pressure quarterbacks.

Justin Jefferson, a former junior college transfer, is back for another year with the Tide. He brings on field experience and knowledge of the program.

Jefferson excelled in the 2023 spring game, but he also made plays throughout this year's practice. 

His quickness provides the Tide with a good inside pass rusher or coverage option on third down.

Justin Okoronkwo and Sterling Dixon are two very good freshmen. Okoronkwo, a native of Germany, was all over the field on A-Day -- finishing the game with a team-high 11 tackles. He will continue to grow as he gets comfortable in the system. 

Dixon, a former four-star, stuck his nose in and made plays too. The 4-2-5 defense starts with attacking inside linebackers that shoot gaps and blow plays up. Alabama has a room of guys that serve the purpose and should perform well in the fall.

Spring Practice Grade: A-

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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.

This topic was modified 1 month ago 2 times by Stephen M. Smith

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