TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Let’s be clear: Alabama football coach Nick Saban will not release a depth chart until the week of the Florida State game on Sept. 2.
That doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun and try to project how things stand following the Crimson Tide’s first scrimmage. This is the week where players really push for their spots in the two-deep, so we could see some changes next week.
For now, here’s our best educated guess at the Crimson Tide’s depth chart.
- Starter: Jalen Hurts.
- Backups: Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones.
- Analysis: Jalen Hurts, the SEC Offensive Player of the Year last season as a freshman, is back as one of the team leaders. Hurts has shown the maturity and poise a team wants out of its starting quarterback. He’s improved as a passer, which could help Alabama’s offense become unstoppable given the amount of weapons the Tide has. Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones are working to become quality backups.
- Starter: Damien Harris or Bo Scarbrough.
- Backups: Josh Jacobs, Najee Harris, Brian Robinson.
- Analysis: If healthy, Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris have an opportunity to be one of the top duos in the country. Harris rushed for 1,037 yards last season. Scarbrough came on strong down the stretch before his knee injury. Josh Jacobs has the versatility to be used as a change-of-pace back. It’ll be interesting to see how offensive coordinator Brian Daboll uses him. Freshmen Najee Harris and Brian Robinson are fighting to carve out rolls for themselves.
- Starters: Calvin Ridley, Robert Foster, Cam Sims
- Backups: Jerry Jeudy, Derek Kief, Henry Ruggs, Tyrell Shavers, Xavian Marks, Devonta Smith
- Analysis: This is an exciting group of receivers. Calvin Ridley is back as the featured receiver. This likely will be Ridley’s last season in Tuscaloosa, so look for him to have a big year. The intriguing player in this group is Robert Foster. He has all the tools to be a go-to receiver, andshould make for the perfect compliment to Ridley given his deep speed. Foster can fly. Sims is a reliable receiver and a great blocker in the run game. Freshman Jerry Jeudy will likely see the field early and often. Alabama has some nice depth in the receiver group.
- Starters: Miller Forristall, Hale Hentges, Irv Smith Jr.
- Backups: Major Tennison.
- Analysis: Coming out of the spring, it looked like Miller Forristall and Hale Hentges had the top two spots locked up. But Irv Smith Jr. is making a serious push to be a starter. Smith can block and is a pass-catching tight end. That versatility has caught the coaching staff’s eye. Whether he starts or not, look for Smith to have a role this season. Forristall caught 5 passes for 73 yards as a freshman last season. A former high school quarterback, Forristall has the size (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) and athleticism to be a tough matchup for defenses. Hentges is more of a blocking tight end at this point of his career.
- Starters: LT Jonah Williams, LG Ross Pierschbacher, C Bradley Bozeman, RG Lester Cotton, RT Matt Womack.
- Backups: Jedrick Wills, Alex Leatherwood, Dallas Warmack, J.C. Hassenauer, Chris Owens, Josh Casher, Deonte Brown, Richie Petitbon and Scott Lashley.
- Analysis: Those top five have been the first group since the spring. Barring something unforseen, they likely will start against Florida State. Young guys like Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Wills are making a push for that right tackle spot, but Matt Womack has done a good job of holding them off so far.
- Starters: Da’Ron Payne, Raekwon Davis, Da’Shawn Hand.
- Backups: Isaiah Buggs, Quinnen Williams, Josh Frazier, Jamar King, Johnny Dwight, Phidarian Mathis and LaBryan Ray.
- Analysis: Alabama is building some quality depth along the defensive line. The biggest surprise in the starting group has been Raekwon Davis. Da’Ron Payne and Da’Shawn Hand were locks to start, but Davis came into camp in great shape and has really committed himself to the program. Having guys like Isaiah Buggs, Quinnen Williams, Josh Frazier and others in the second group gives Alabama more depth than it had last season.
- Starters: Rashaan Evans, Shaun Dion Hamilton.
- Backups: Keith Holcombe, Mack Wilson, Joshua McMillion, Dylan Moses, Markail Benton.
- Analysis: Rashaan Evans could be the defensive breakout player this season. Outside of Minkah Fitzpatrick, Evans is the most versatile player on this defense. He can rush the passer, cover running backs and tight ends, and stop the run in the middle. Shaun Dion Hamiltion is back healthy off his knee injury suffered in the SEC Championship Game. Evans and Hamilton could be one of the top inside linebacker duos in the country.
- Starters: Christian Miller, Anfernee Jennings.
- Backups: Terrell Lewis, Ben Davis, Chris Allen, Jamey Mosley, VanDarius Cowan.
- Analysis: Christian Miller could be Alabama’s top sack artist this season. He has the explosiveness to quickly get around offensive tackles. Jennings is stepping into the void filled by Anderson, and he is a bigger linebacker who also has some pass rush ability. The guy to watch in this group is Terrell Lewis (formerly Hall). Lewis is a freak athlete. During Alabama’s scrimmage on Saturday, he caught the ball at the line of scrimmage and returned it for a touchdown. It was similar to the pick-6 he had during A-Day. Lewis has all the tools to be a special player.
- Starters: Anthony Averett (right corner), Trevon Diggs (left corner), Tony Brown (nickel defensive back)
- Backups: Levi Wallace, Nigel Knott, Shyheim Carter, Jared Mayden, Kyriq McDonald
- Analysis: Anthony Averett returns as Alabama’s lockdown corner on the right side. He should have a big year. Tony Brown is back as a versatile defender who could play anywhere in the secondary. The key to this group is Trevon Diggs, who switched from receiver to cornerback in the spring. All signs point toward him making a lot of improvement since we saw him at A-Day.
- Starters: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ronnie Harrison.
- Money (sixth defensive back): Hootie Jones or Deionte Thompson.
- Backups: Hootie Jones, Deionte Thompson, Daniel Wright, Xavier McKinney, Keaton Anderson.
- Analysis: With juniors Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison playing centerfield, Alabama’s secondary has a chance to be a strength of the team. Both Fitzpatrick and Harrison project to be first-round picks after this season so enjoy them while you can Alabama fans. Hootie Jones and Deionte Thompson are competing for the money spot (sixth defensive back), which comes on when Alabama lines up in the dime. Beyond those four, there isn’t a lot of experience in this group.