The Tuscaloosa News will review the Alabama roster by examining each position group entering spring practice. The Crimson Tide held its first spring practice Friday, March 8 and will resume after UA’s spring break ends Monday, March 18.
Starters returning: Raekwon Davis
Departed: Isaiah Buggs, Johnny Dwight, Quinnen Williams
Others returning: Christian Barmore, Phidarian Mathis, Tevita Musika, LaBryan Ray, Stephon Wynn Jr.
Newcomers: Antonio Alfano, DJ Dale, Justin Eboigbe
Confidence level: 7/10
Starting point: Raekwon Davis’ decision to return for his senior season prevents this position group from being a total rebuild. Offenses seemed to pay more attention to him in 2018, and he struggled to adjust to that kind of game plan at times. LaBryan Ray became the first defensive lineman off the bench for Alabama last year and acquitted himself well when required to play extensively against Tennessee and Auburn. They’re two good players to lean on.
Some of the other players are promising, though they have never had to play consistently meaningful snaps. New defensive line coach Brian Baker has extensive NFL experience and made a name for himself in college tutoring Mississippi State’s strong defensive line the last three years. He should be a real asset for the group.
To be determined: Alabama lost three of its top six players here from last year, and Quinnen Williams was one of the most disruptive defensive players in the country. It won’t be easy to find someone who can do as much damage to offenses as he did, even in the aggregate.
The freshmen here look like they could all become key players, though it’s difficult for prospects their age to make a big impact. Spring will be the start of their progress. Both Stephon Wynn Jr. and Christian Barmore redshirted last year, but you can expect to see them have opportunities in the two-deep.