Alabama football's defensive line nearly unchanged after championship run
Alabama football's defensive line probably won't look all that different from the one that helped win a national championship in 2020.
Sure, Christian Barmore is off to the NFL, but most of the group returns for the 2021 season.
Here's a look at the men on the front line of the Crimson Tide defense as Alabama gets ready to start fall practices on Friday, July 6.
Departed starters: Christian Barmore (Drafted by the New England Patriots)
Returners: Jamil Burroughs (sophomore), DJ Dale (junior), Justin Eboigbe (junior), Braylen Ingraham (redshirt sophomore), Jah-Marien Latham (sophomore), Kyle Mann (sophomore), Phidarian Mathis (redshirt senior), LaBryan Ray (redshirt senior), Tim Smith (sophomore), Stephon Wynn Jr. (redshirt junior), Byron Young (junior)
Additions: Anquin Barnes Jr. (freshman), Monkell Goodwine (freshman), Tim Keenan III (freshman), Damon Payne Jr. (freshman), Chase Quigley (freshman),
Analysis: The Crimson Tide loses its most productive player from a statistical standpoint in Barmore. He had 9.5 tackles for loss and a team-high eight sacks. But other than him, Alabama returns mostly the same group up front on defense. Mathis is at the forefront of that group with one last season in Tuscaloosa. And with a good season, he, too, could hear his name called in the early rounds of the draft. ESPN's Mel Kiper ranked him as the No. 3 defensive tackle in early rankings for the 2022 draft class. There's a lot of football to be played, but Mathis figures to be a steady presence for the unit. Other veterans from the defensive line rotation will also be back, such as Dale, Eboigbe and Young. Ray will also look to contribute after injuries have hampered him at times during his collegiate career. For younger players, Smith is one who could take a big step in his second season. Latham could, too. He was voted most valuable lineman from the spring game.
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