Thursday, August 21, 2014

Alabama Analysis: Tide linebackers begin life without Mosley

When it comes to the Alabama linebackers in respect to the 2014 season, one can't talk about the present without touching on the past.

C.J. Mosley, one of the greatest linebackers in program history, has moved on to the NFL, which means the present will have to deal with his absence. While Mosley was only one man, he was the signal caller of the defense and the ultimate team leader.

Will current stars like Trey DePriest and Denzel Devall have what it takes to fill the void left by Mosley? The nation will be watching...

Prominent players

Trey DePriest
Denzel Devall
Xzavier Dickson
Reggie Ragland

Emerging talent

Ryan Anderson
Rashaan Evans (True Freshman)
Reuben Foster
Shaun Dion Hamilton (True Freshman)
Keith Holcombe (True Freshman)
Walker Jones
Dillon Lee
Christian Miller (True Freshman)
Tim Williams

Departures from 2013

LaMichael Fanning (Transferred)
Adrian Hubbard
C.J. Mosley
Tana Patrick

While the aforementioned DePriest and Devall have the experience and leadership to lead the Tide linebackers, as per usual, 'Bama is loaded with hard-hitting young talented.

Expect Xzavier Dickson and Reggie Ragland to become national household names before 2014 is over, and look for Ryan Anderson, Reuben Foster, and Dillon Lee to play ample minutes this season as well. Given Alabama's defensive structure, as many as seven or eight players could make a significant contribution this season.

In respect to true freshmen, and who will play and who will receive a redshirt, Shaun Dion Hamilton appears to be the young man who will enter Alabama's rotation this season. Granted, that doesn't guarantee Rashaan Evans, Keith Holcombe, and Christian Miller will all be redshirted, but odds suggests that at least one or two will likely be held out of action until 2015.

The loss of C.J. Mosley will be felt, because it is simply unavoidable. However, Alabama has leadership, proven talent, and eager young guns who will collectively form one of the best unit of linebackers in the SEC, if not the country. Expect big plays and hard hits from this bunch.

Unit rating: 8.5/10

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