Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with Alabama’s biggest needs in the 2019 class.
Tide’s biggest needs in 2019 class
Alabama whiffed at inside linebacker in the 2018 class. The Crimson Tide wanted JJ Peterson, but once Jeremy Pruitt left for Tennessee, that was a done deal. The Tide also liked Vernon Jackson, but once it was clear he wasn’t going to sign with Alabama, the staff stopped recruiting him. The team also liked Brandon Kaho, but he surprisingly signed with Washington.
‘Bama did sign 3-star inside linebacker Jaylen Moody, who surely was a backup plan for the team. He got offered in the final days leading up to National Signing Day. He’ll likely redshirt this season.
Getting inside linebackers in 2019 is of the utmost importance. Dylan Moses and Mack Wilson are likely the starters heading into this season. Moses showed that he’s bound for stardom while Wilson has shown that he’s likely the next Tide linebacker who’s going to get selected early in the NFL draft. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him leave after this season. Outside of Moses and Wilson, however, there are lots of unknowns. Ben Davis hasn’t developed the way we thought he would coming out of high school and Markail Benton hasn’t played yet.
Alabama didn’t have the luxury of having a couple of elite quarterback prospects within its state borders in the 2018 class, but that changes in the 2019 class.
The Crimson Tide didn’t sign a high school quarterback in the last recruiting cycle, but they did add East Carolina grad transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew, who chose Alabama over Tennessee.
The most interesting question to me surrounding the defensive tackle group heading into spring camp is whether Alabama will move Raekwon Davis inside to fill Da’Ron Payne’s loss. The team could also decide to play Davis on the opposite side of Isaiah Buggs and have Johnny Dwight, a fifth-year player, fill in for Payne.
There’s not a whole lot of depth at defensive tackle. We don’t know what Stephon Wynn and Christian Barmore will bring to the team, but both have a good chance of making an early impact. I would lean toward Wynn seeing the field sooner than Barmore because he’s already on campus and Barmore is just very raw as a player.
The plan, as always, when it comes to Alabama’s offensive line is to start the best five players. Specific questions entering this season: Who will take over at center for Bradley Bozeman? Will Jonah Williams slide from left tackle to center? Before Lane Kiffin left, I was told that the plan was going to be to move Williams to center and Bozeman to guard, so there has been some talk of Williams making the transition already.
Alabama also has an influx of talented tackles. It’s going to be interesting to see if Alex Leatherwood can parlay his impressive National Championship Game performance into a starting spot. As interesting to watch will be the battle at right tackle that likely will feature Matt Womack and Jedrick Wills. Wills, like Leatherwood, raised some eyebrows as a freshman.
Looking at the 2019 class, this will be a bigger group than 2018. The Tide signed two offensive linemen in the last cycle in 4-star tackle Tommy Brown and 4-star center Emil Ekiyor. I expect Alabama to sign four or five linemen this year.
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