Alabama ended up with more defensive linemen in its 2019 football class than any other position group, finishing off with six total. Four signed during the early period in December. Two more were officially added Wednesday on National Signing Day.
In addition to Antonio Alfano, DJ Dale, Justin Eboigbe and Braylen Ingraham, the Crimson Tide now has Ishmael Sopsher and Byron Young as future possibilities up front.
“If you really wanted to evaluate a recruiting class, I guess, if you looked a couple of years down the road and said, ‘Well, how many of those guys developed into something that they thought that they could be?’” UA coach Nick Saban said. “That would be a much truer evaluation of a class. But we certainly feel fortunate that we’re able to attract the quality of people. We’re certainly satisfied. We wanted to recruit a lot of linemen in this class, and to get five offensive linemen and six defensive linemen was probably a really good thing.”
Quick recap: The offensive linemen Alabama penned are Tanner Bowles, Darrian Dalcourt, Amari Kight, Evan Neal and Pierce Quick, all of whom made their decision back in 2018.
Back to the defensive side of the ball.
The Crimson Tide hasn’t signed this many defensive linemen in a single class since 2014, when it also had six. There were four in 2016, three in 2017 and then two in both 2015 and 2018. Three of those five years saw a junior defensive lineman leave UA early — prior to National Signing Day — and declare for the NFL draft. This year can now be added into that mix, too.
Quinnen Williams announced his decision to enter the NFL draft in January. That means Alabama has lost two of its three starters up front from the 2018 season because Isaiah Buggs used all of his eligibility and is gone. Only starter Raekwon Davis will be back for his senior season.
Eboigbe, Ingraham, Sopsher, Dale and Young were all 4-star recruits. Alfano was Alabama’s 5-star prospect here.
“We like his work ethic,” Saban said. “He obviously has been a very productive player. We like his size. Again, we’re going to focus on his development, and hopefully, he’s someone that can help us early on.”
Alfano enrolled at UA early, so did Dale and Eboigbe.
The Crimson Tide’s A-Day spring game is April 13 in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Then, Alabama starts its competitive season Aug. 31 against Duke at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Atlanta.
“We’re going to need some depth in the defensive line,” Saban said. “And I think we have three of the young players here now and we’ll have three more in the fall or in the summer. So, it’s good to have those guys here to work with.”