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How will Deontae Lawson and Jihaad Campbell stack up to ILBs early in the Nick Saban era?

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(@stephen)
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How good can Alabama's inside linebacker room be in Kane Wommack's 4-2-5 defense?

Crimson Tide fans have seen the best duos at inside linebacker during the Nick Saban era. Deontae Lawson and Jihaad Campbell were good in 2023 for Saban's final season, but can they stack up with the elite tandems in school history? 

RELATED: Former Alabama linebacker finds new home after transferring a second time

Lawson missed some games last year because of injuries, yet he totaled 67 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, four pass breakups, and four quarterback hurries. Lawson, a native of Mobile, Ala., paced the Tide's defense to defeating Georgia in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game and making the College Football Playoff.

He became Alabama's first player to wearing No. 0 in spring practice and will have the number this season. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder wants to be a dynamic middle linebacker as comes from an area near former Tide standout, C.J. Mosley. Lawson has been working his tail off this offseason.

Campbell, a former five-star, finished one tackle behind Lawson in 2023. The New Jersey native collected 66 tackles, four tackles for loss, three pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, an interception, and returned a fumble for a touchdown. 

He has been working out with a trainer to prepare his body to make more punishing hits in the fall.

Lawson and Campbell have the athleticism to get Alabama's defense to a CFP National Championship, but do they bring the toughness, leadership, focus, and consistent playmaking skills that others before him did? We will have our answer in the fall; however, at least we know they desire to be great. Rolando McClain and Cory Reamer started the run of dominant inside linebackers for Saban in the 2009 BCS National Championship. It grew since then, but the Tide needs to anchors for Coach Wommack's system.

Lawson and Campbell have the ability to stack up to the players in the past, but they have to get it done.

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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 3 weeks ago 2 times by Stephen M. Smith

   
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