Alabama’s latest recruiting class took a hit last week when Nick Saban announced one of his 25 signees would not be reporting to campus.
Monday, the academically ineligible athlete was revealed: four-star defensive lineman Kendell Jones.
The Killeen, Texas, native is already enrolled at a junior college, meaning he won’t be wearing crimson and white in Tuscaloosa this season (or potentially ever, depending on his academic performance moving forward).
That leaves the Crimson Tide with two defensive linemen in the Class of 2016 who are currently on campus: four-star Raekwon Davis and four-star Quinnen Williams, an early enrollee.
(There’s also Jamar King, a JuCo defensive end from northern California who still needs to improve his final grades before enrolling at Alabama later this summer.)
That’s an unusually low number for a Saban class, but Tide fans need not worry about depth moving forward. Last year’s class featured freshman standout Daron Payne, as well as four-star defensive ends Mekhi Brown and Anfernee Jennings.
For those counting at home, the past two classes have brought five linemen to campus (with King as a potential sixth). Because the Crimson Tide use a 3-4 front on defense, Saban only needs three defensive linemen on the field at a time.
So, math — and an assumed emphasis on defensive line in the next recruiting class — says depth will not be a concern when most of these guys are eventually called upon for duty in 2017 and 2018.
As for this season, Alabama’s defensive line is expected to play at a high level despite the departures of A’Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed and DJ Pettway.
Jeremy Pruitt‘s defense will feature elite defensive end Jonathan Allen and a potential All-SEC nose tackle in Payne. The Tide will also get contributions from Da’Shawn Hand, Dalvin Tomlinson, Josh Frazier and others while defending their rushing-defense crown (75.7 yards allowed per game in 2015, best in the nation).
Short-term or long-term, there’s little reason for fans to worry about the Alabama defensive line, which has powered four title-winning teams since Saban arrived in 2007.