The University of Alabama practiced under the lights on Thursday night and at least one highly-touted defensive player was absent.

Freshman DJ Dale, who was an early entry in the spring and had been working with the first defensive line in the absence of LaBryan Ray (foot injury), was not at the Thursday night practice, reportedly due to an injury suffered in Wednesday’s practice. In the absence of both on Thursday, Alabama coaches worked with a number of different players on the line including Tevita Musika, Stephon Wynn and freshmen Christian Barmore, Justin Eboigbe, Ishmael Sopsher, Byron Young (who appeared to get a good number of reps in the media viewing period) and, of course, senior All-America candidate Raekwon Davis.

Alabama coach Nick Saban is expected to update the media on all injuries following Saturday’s scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama, which has had a heavyweight list of celebrity and motivational speakers address the team in the past two weeks, hosted perhaps the most recognizable of all as former world’s heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson flew to Tuscaloosa to speak to the team before Thursday’s practice.

“We had a good conversation with the kids,” Tyson said on a video released by Alabama’s athletic department on Thursday night. “It was really awesome.”

Tyson will also be featured in a future episode of “Bama Cuts,” where he sits down with Crimson Tide linebacker Dylan Moses, defensive lineman Davis and tight end Miller Forristall.

The former champion also had a sit-down session with Saban prior to practice.

Tyson, the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title, won his first 19 professional fights by knockout or stoppage, including 12 first round KO’s. He won the WBC title in 1986 and added the WBA and IBF titles in 1987, becoming the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold all three titles and the only heavyweight fighter to successively unify them.

Alabama has had other boxers speak into the team, notably reigning WBC champion Deontay Wilder, a Tuscaloosa native and noted Crimson Tide fan.

Among the other speakers this month have been ESPN personalities Stephen A. Smith and Jay Bilas, as well as former Tennessee star Inky Johnson.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or via Twitter @cecilhurt

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