Editor’s note: Alabama football returns a ton of talent, and has a great opportunity to make another run at the SEC championship and earn a College Football Playoff berth.
Over the next few weeks, SEC Country will take a look at Alabama’s 25 most important players. Obviously, there will be coaches and other key members around the program who will have a big impact on the team’s success. But this list is strictly for the top-25 players for the Crimson Tide heading into 2017.
No. 8 Jonah Williams
The 247Sports composite rated Jonah Williams as the No. 2 offensive tackle and a top-20 prospect in the country for the 2016 cycle.
He’s lived up to that lofty ranking to this point of his young Alabama career.
Williams starred at Folsom High School in California before enrolling at Alabama in January 2016. Participating in spring drills prior to his freshman season gave Williams the opportunity to earn a starting job.
He became the second true freshman to start at offensive tackle during Nick Saban’s tenure at Alabama. Cam Robinson did it in 2014.
This year, Williams will replace Robinson, a three-year starter at left tackle for Alabama. Robinson battled through multiple injuries to start all 44 games of his career.
SEC Network sideline analyst Cole Cubelic believes the position change won’t be difficult for Williams. Cubelic studied the Crimson Tide’s offensive line closely last season and was high on Williams much of the year.
“The reason why Jonah Williams will not struggle going from right to left tackle is simple: he’s done it,” Cubelic told SEC Country. “He was there vs. Chattanooga last fall which tells me he played it in practice as well. You don’t toss a guy in at a position he hasn’t practiced unless it’s an emergency. This wasn’t.
“He will also get all the spring reps and have summer and fall to prepare. His mental makeup is not one that will take this move lightly. He will be fine.”
Saban has called Williams one of the smartest offensive lineman he’s been around. He even mentioned Williams has what it takes to play center if necessary.
Coming Thursday: A lockdown corner
SEC Country’s Top 25 Alabama football players:
- No. 9: A hard-hitting safety
- No. 10: A key play maker
- No. 11: A versatile linebacker
- No. 12: A veteran wide receiver
- No. 13: A key special teams player
- No. 14: An elite defensive lineman
- No. 15: A junior college transfer
- No. 16: A powerful offensive lineman
- No. 17: A young player changing positions
- No. 18: An experienced offensive lineman
- No. 19: A new sack artist
- No 20: A powerful linebacker
- No. 21: A young, explosive linebacker
- No. 22: An inexperienced offensive lineman
- No. 23: A veteran safety
- No. 24: Two talented freshmen
- No. 25: Tide hope he’s ‘special’