Summer is effectively over for Alabama’s football team, which will return to the practice field beginning Thursday in preparation for its Sept. 3 opener against Utah State.
The usual schedule of fall camp will include a pair of scrimmages in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Aug. 13 and 20, although the entirety of camp is closed to reporters and the public.
There have been a few changes to the roster since Alabama last convened for April’s spring game, with transfers coming and going in addition to the arrival of the remainder of the freshman class.
Here is a look at AL.com’s projection of Alabama’s depth chart entering fall camp. Only scholarship players are listed with the exception of specialist positions:
QUARTERBACKS: Bryce Young, Jalen Milroe, Ty Simpson
Analysis: Bill O’Brien told ESPN’s broadcast crew during April’s spring game that Milroe was Alabama’s No. 2 quarterback at the time, and that was clear in how he started for the crimson team during the spring game opposite Young for the white team. Milroe played more drives in the game than Simpson, the five-star freshman. After switching to more of an option-run scheme with Milroe on the field last season, Alabama tried to keep a pass-first focus this spring to force Milroe into leading the same offense as Young. That would smooth any transition in the event of an injury to Young, but Saban has hinted at a potential role for Milroe in special plays even if Young remains healthy.
RUNNING BACKS: Jahmyr Gibbs, Trey Sanders, Jase McClellan, Roydell Williams, Jamarion Miller, Emmanuel Henderson
Analysis: Saban said after A-Day that he likes the state of this position, and for good reason. The return of McClellan and Williams — who were in uniform for the spring game but did not play — from injuries will continue to add depth to a group that sorely needed it last season. On top of that, Gibbs’ big-play ability was on display with his 75-yard run, with Saban telling ESPN even before that, “I’m really excited about having him on our team.” Sanders technically started the spring game and figures to have an increasing role this season, but it is Gibbs who seems best-positioned to be the star back. Saban and Will Anderson offered praise for Gibbs at SEC media days last month.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Jermaine Burton, Tyler Harrell, Ja’Corey Brooks, JoJo Earle, Traeshon Holden, Christian Leary, Thaiu Jones-Bell, Aaron Anderson, Kendrick Law, Shazz Preston, Isaiah Bond, Kobe Prentice
Analysis: Harrell was added as a transfer from Louisville after spring practice and joins Burton as veteran newcomers to a position that lost its top three players from last season. The speedy Harrell averaged almost 30 yards per catch last season with six touchdowns on 18 total receptions. Brooks missed the spring because of injury but seems to be the best-positioned of the less experienced players in the group to earn playing time after emerging late last season. “Jermaine Burton has probably been the most consistent guy at the position. It’s obviously a place where we need to get more consistent, there’s no question about it, in my opinion,” Saban said of the receivers after A-Day. “If we’re gonna be able to take advantage of the other strengths that we have on our team, I think that’s gonna be a really important part of our development as an offensive team.” Alabama has five scholarship freshmen in this group with some speed and explosive potential among it.
TIGHT ENDS: Cameron Latu, Robbie Ouzts, Elijah Brown, Amari Niblack, Danny Lewis, Miles Kitselman
Analysis: This position should be relatively unchanged from last season. Latu returns for another season, Kendall Randolph will likely see time as a blocking tight end and Ouzts could again serve as a lead blocker. Of the four freshmen, Niblack offers the most potential in the passing game, but how much any of the freshmen see the field at this point remains to be determined.
OFFENSIVE TACKLES: Tyler Steen, Kendall Randolph, J.C. Latham, Amari Kight, Tommy Brockermeyer, Tyler Booker, Elijah Pritchett
Analysis: This position was the most glaring need on Alabama’s roster during the spring game, with Young sacked 10 times and most of those coming off the edge. Steen arrived later as a transfer from Vanderbilt and could potentially steady the left tackle position, but Alabama will still need to find a starter on the right side. Latham, a sophomore, was the first-team right tackle on A-Day. Saban said he wanted to give Randolph, the sixth-year returnee, every chance to earn a starting job this spring but he struggled at times in the spring game at left tackle. Brockermeyer, a five-star recruit last year, was beaten four times for pressures or sacks at left tackle in the fourth quarter before being pulled.
OFFENSIVE GUARDS: Emil Ekiyor, Javion Cohen, Damieon George, Terrence Ferguson, Jaeden Roberts
CENTERS: Darrian Dalcourt, Seth McLoughlin, Tanner Bowles, James Brockermeyer
Analysis: Ekiyor, Dalcourt and Brockermeyer missed spring practices because of injuries, making this one of the thinnest position groups on the team. The biggest question entering the fall is how much McLoughlin can push Dalcourt for the starting job after seeing time late last season when Dalcourt was dealing with an injury.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: DJ Dale, Justin Eboigbe, Jamil Burroughs, Byron Young, Tim Smith, Jah-Marien Latham, Tim Keenan, Damon Payne, Monkell Goodwine, Jaheim Oatis, Anquin Barnes, Khurtiss Perry, Isaiah Hastings
Analysis: The emergence of Burroughs as a potential starter was one of the revelations of the spring, with Saban noting after the spring game how much the junior had improved. Alabama was heavy on numbers at this position exiting the spring but a pair of veterans in Stephon Wynn and Braylen Ingraham are no longer with the program, with Wynn having transferred to Nebraska.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: Will Anderson, Dallas Turner, Chris Braswell, Quandarrius Robinson, Keanu Koht, Demouy Kennedy, Jeremiah Alexander
Analysis: After two seasons developing behind the scenes, a former five-star recruit in Braswell seems to be on the cusp of a much larger role for the Tide. Saban has discussed trying to get Anderson, Turner and Braswell on the field at the same time, which would be a headache for opposing offensive coordinators and quarterbacks trying to set protections. Kennedy moved from inside to outside linebacker this spring and picked up a sack on A-Day. Koht missed the spring because of injury.
INSIDE LINEBACKERS: Henry To’o To’o, Jaylen Moody, Deontae Lawson, Kendrick Blackshire, Ian Jackson, Jihaad Campbell, Shawn Murphy
Analysis: Moody, the fifth-year senior and rare returnee from the portal, appears to be leading the competition to replace Christian Harris as the starter next to To’o To’o. Beyond that, Alabama has several developing young players including Campbell, the freshman who was viewed as an edge rusher in recruiting but begins at inside linebacker in Alabama’s defense.
CORNERBACKS: Kool-Aid McKinstry, Khyree Jackson, Eli Ricks, Terrion Arnold, Jahquez Robinson, Trequon Fegans, Earl Little Jr., Antonio Kite
Analysis: Defensive coordinator Pete Golding told ESPN’s spring game broadcast crew that cornerback is the position he is most uneasy about entering fall camp, which could reflect some lingering concerns from the national championship game. With starters Josh Jobe and Jalyn Armour-Davis out, Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett had success, especially later in the game, against Alabama’s corners in McKinstry and Jackson. Both return this season as prospective starters with Ricks viewed as part of that competition, Saban said after the spring game. Ricks, who started with the second-team defense on A-Day, is still learning Alabama’s defensive terminology after transferring from LSU. He did not have the luxury of already knowing Alabama’s system as To’o To’o did after arriving from Jeremy Pruitt’s Tennessee defense last offseason. Saban repeated some of the same concerns about the position at SEC media days, saying specifically of Ricks, “Eli Ricks is a guy that has started in this league. He has to, sort of, prove that he has a good understanding of what we want him to do, how we want him to do it and why it’s important that way.”
STAR: Brian Branch, Malachi Moore
Analysis: Branch started with the first-team defense in the spring game while Moore was with the second-team defense, a continuation of the depth chart from the end of last season. Moore had a pass break-up but also was beaten by Christian Leary for a 52-yard touchdown and was called for a defensive pass interference penalty. If Branch is the “star,” or slot cornerback, one question entering the fall is whether Moore will be the “money,” or sixth defensive back — a spot often held by graduating senior Daniel Wright last season.
SAFETIES: Jordan Battle, DeMarcco Hellams, Kristian Story, Devonta Smith, Jake Pope
Analysis: Alabama will have one more season of Battle and Hellams as their starting safeties, providing some needed experience and stability to the secondary. Story and Smith continue to develop behind the scenes and could become starters in 2023.
KICKERS: Will Reichard, Chase Allen, Reid Schuback
PUNTERS: James Burnip, Jack Martin, Nick Serpa, Upton Bellenfant
LONG SNAPPERS: Kneeland Hibbett, Gabe Pugh, Kade Wehby, Alex Rozier
Analysis: Saban said at media days, “I do think we have good specialists so we should be good at special teams,” while also praising the work of new special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler. At kicker, Reichard returns for his senior season and is once again on the Groza Award radar, while Burnip could continue to steady a punter position that had been in flux before his arrival. In the return game, Gibbs is the player to watch and has garnered preseason attention on the Paul Hornung Award watch list for his versatility as well as All-SEC and All-American honors as an all-purpose player.
Mike Rodak is an Alabama beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @mikerodak.
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