The Spring Prospectus is a daily series taking a quick look at each position group before UA beings spring practice. This list of position groups will be updated with links as each one posts: quarterback, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, outside linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties and special teams.
The University of Alabama’s thinnest position in 2019 may be its deepest defensive position in 2020.
The series of unfortunate realities that led to a freshman duo starting at inside linebacker no longer plague UA, giving the Crimson Tide a more optimistic outlook for the position going into spring practice on Friday.
Top returners: Dylan Moses (missed 2019 with a knee injury).
Returning depth: Joshua McMillon (sixth-year senior after successful NCAA wavier), Shane Lee (second on last year’s team with 86 tackles, 6 1/2 for a loss), Christian Harris (7 1/2 tackles for a loss and five quarterback hurries), Ale Kaho (pivotal special teams player), Markail Benton (Dime package linebacker) and Jaylen Moody.
Early enrollees: Jackson Bratton (four-star from Muscle Shoals) and Demouy Kennedy (four-star from Theodore).
A year later than expected, UA could have finally have the veteran inside linebacker of Moses and McMillon. Moses alone should be a significant improvement — he was still seen as an early-round draft pick while rehabbing his knee injury. Since many of UA’s defensive struggles last year were attributed to inexperience at the position, McMillon could be a break from that.
Granted, Lee and Harris now have a year of experience under their belts. Kaho has flashed athleticism in his special teams duty and at times in rotational linebacking duty, but his window for playing time is closing as a junior with two sophomores ahead of him and two more freshmen coming behind him.
Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or email@example.com or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson