Editor’s note: Coming off its fourth national championship in seven seasons, Alabama returns a ton of talent, and has a great opportunity to repeat as champions in 2016.
Over the next few weeks, SEC Country will take a look at Alabama’s 25 most important players. Obviously, there’ll be coaches and other key members around the program who’ll 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 2016.
19. Ronnie Harrison
We’ve heard a lot about the onside kick or kickoff return for a touchdown in Alabama’s national championship victory over Clemson, and rightfully so.
But Harrison made one of the biggest plays in that contest that has been somewhat forgotten. Harrison broke up a perfectly thrown pass from Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson to stop what would have been an easy touchdown. The play forced Clemson to settle for a field goal, and the rest is history.
As a true freshman last season, Harrison played in all 15 games and made one start (vs. Texas A&M). He served as the Crimson Tide’s sixth defensive back in its dime package.
Harrison is a natural playmaker. He made two interceptions last season while serving as the third safety.
The Tallahassee, Fla., native recorded 17 tackles, including one sack. He also forced a fumble and had six pass breakups. Harrison made an impact on special teams as well, totaling three tackles on kickoff coverage.
With Geno Matias-Smith moving on, the free safety spot is now Harrison’s. He’ll start next to Eddie Jackson on the back end of Alabama’s secondary.
Harrison flashed his immense talent last season, but his continued to development will be key in determining Alabama’s success this season.
Coming Wednesday: A veteran defensive lineman