Alabama could have its first A-Day in over two calendar years on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide, recent off profitable coach Nick Saban’s second undefeated nationwide championship, will look to exchange receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, operating again Najee Harris, quarterback Mac Jones, cornerback Patrick Surtain II and defensive lineman Christian Barmore, amongst others.
That is a vital quantity of expertise to exchange, even for a Saban-coached group. It definitely does not assist that Alabama is as soon as once more having to exchange a number of key coaches, together with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian (Texas head coach), offensive line coach Kyle Flood (Texas offensive coordinator), particular groups coordinator Jeff Banks (Texas particular groups coordinator), cornerbacks coach Karl Scott (Vikings defensive backs coach) and operating backs coach Charles Huff (Marshall head coach).
But Alabama’s 2021 recruiting class, the highest-rated in the historical past of 247Sports’ Composite rankings, has allayed any fears Tide followers could have for the upcoming season. The Tide additionally introduced in a number of high-end assistant coaches in former Texans head coach Bill O’Brien (as offensive coordinator) and former Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone (offensive line).
All of that factors to what may very well be one other particular season for the Tide. There aren’t any ensures in faculty soccer, even at Alabama, however Saturday’s recreation ought to at least point out what this group’s strengths and weaknesses are. With that, here is the whole lot that you must find out about this 12 months’s A-Day recreation, together with time, date and storylines to look at.
- When is Alabama’s spring recreation?
- How to look at Alabama spring recreation
- How many followers are allowed at A-Day?
- Biggest query from Alabama spring recreation
- Alabama QB competitors
- Three extra positions to look at
- Freshmen to look at
When is Alabama’s spring recreation?
- Date: Saturday, April 17
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
Alabama’s spring recreation will begin at 1 p.m. ET at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
How to look at Alabama spring recreation
The Crimson Tide’s spring recreation will air on ESPN, which means it’s also possible to stream the recreation stay with fuboTV, which offers a seven-day free trial.
How many followers are allowed at A-Day?
The most capability for Saturday’s recreation is about at 50 %, or roughly 50,000 followers in the stands at Bryant-Denny. Spectators should put on facial coverings at all occasions whereas in attendance, besides when consuming or consuming.
Biggest query from Alabama spring recreation
How does the protection look?
Crimson Tide followers have been essential of Pete Golding, who’s coming into his third season as defensive coordinator. The protection in 2020 was nearly Alabama’s solely weak spot because it twice compelled the offense to steer victories in shootouts: 63-48 over Ole Miss and 52-46 over Florida in the SEC championship recreation.
Outside of these video games, nevertheless, no group scored greater than 24 factors towards the Tide, who surrendered a median of 14.4 factors when excluding Ole Miss and Florida. Even when together with the Rebels and Gators, the Tide led the SEC in scoring protection at 19.4 factors per recreation. The unit is dropping a number of vital items, together with defensive lineman Christian Barmore, cornerback Patrick Surtain II and linebacker Dylan Moses. Barmore is a fringe first-round prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft whereas Surtain is taken into account a lock to be a first-round choice.
That mentioned, the group returns a secure group of gamers in the entrance seven and expertise in the secondary.
Of observe, linebackers Will Anderson, Christian Harris and Christopher Allen, who mixed for 17.5 sacks and 30.5 tackles for loss final season, all return. LaBryan Ray, a five-star recruit from Alabama’s 2017 class, will look to dominate in a wholesome season for as soon as. Look for five-star linemen Damon Payne and Dallas Turner to contribute as properly.
The secondary returns each starter except for Surtain, together with Malachi Moore, DeMarco Hellams, Jordan Battle, Daniel Wright and Josh Jobe. Look for incoming freshman Ga’Quincy McKinstry, the high nook in the 2021 class, to vie for a beginning spot.
Alabama QB competitors
It seems as if the job is Bryce Young’s to lose. Many anticipated the No. 2 total participant and No. 1 quarterback in the 2020 recruiting class to instantly take the beginning job from Mac Jones forward of final season. That by no means materialized, nevertheless, as Jones put collectively considered one of the most effective particular person seasons by a quarterback in faculty soccer historical past.
Saban mentioned Young has turn into “better and better” in spring follow at greedy the playbook and changing into a chief of the offense.
“I think he realizes what he needs to do to try to help the players around him to play better, and I think he’s done it very well,” Saban mentioned (via 247Sports).
Apart from Young, it seems the solely quarterbacks who can critically contend for the beginning job are redshirt sophomore Paul Tyson and Jalen Milroe, an early enrollee from the 2021 class. Milroe particularly was thought-about a recruiting steal in the 2021 class as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the state of Texas. He’s significantly bigger than Young (6-3, 208 kilos to Young’s 6-0, 194 kilos).
Three extra positions to look at
Alabama in 2021 landed what could be the highest-rated offensive line class in recruiting historical past (or at least since 247Sports started rating gamers and groups). The Tide pulled in the high two offensive tackles, JC Latham (No. 2 total) and Tommy Brockermeyer (No. 5 total); the No. 2 guard, Terrence Ferguson (No. 57 total); the No. 1 heart, James Brockermeyer (No. 189 total) and the No. 15 guard, Jaeden Roberts (No. 251 total). All however Roberts enrolled early.
For those that are protecting observe, that’s a whole offensive line unit.
That mentioned, there are solely so many open positions. Gone are heart Landon Dickerson and left deal with Alex Leatherwood — fringe first-round NFL Draft picks — however returning are a number of key items, together with backup heart Chris Owens, proper deal with Evan Neal and beginning proper guard Emil Ekiyor Jr.
Gone are 2020 Heisman winner DeVonta Smith and backup Jaylen Waddle, who many thought was Alabama’s greatest receiver earlier than he broke his ankle towards Tennessee. That leaves John Metchie III and Slade Bolden as the solely returning receivers who acquired vital taking part in time in 2020. Tight finish Jahleel Billingsley must also be a main a part of the pass-catching rotation.
The Tide addressed the want for pass-catchers of their 2021 class, recruiting what may very well be the high positional group in faculty soccer: five-star Jacorey Brooks (No. 2 huge receiver, No. 26 total); Agiye Hall (No. 5 huge receiver, No. 44 total); JoJo Earle (No. 6 huge receiver, No. 46 total); and Christian Leary (No. 10 huge receiver, No. 74 total). Earle is the solely participant amongst that group not at present on campus.
It stands to purpose that a few of these freshmen will see vital taking part in time in 2021, however look for returning depth items Javon Baker, Xavier Williams, Traeshon Holden and Thaiu Jones-Bell to problem for a beginning place as properly.
Alabama once more has a humiliation of riches at this place, as solely 2020 Doak Walker Award winner Najee Harris elected to depart faculty following final season. Senior Brian Robinson will possible be in the rotation, however Jase McClellan, Trey Sanders and Roydell Williams are all vying for taking part in time behind him. Each are top-100 recruits from their respective signing lessons; Sanders was the high total participant at his place in 2019. Unfortunately for him, a torn ACL in 2019 and a automotive accident in 2020 has saved him from gaining vital taking part in time. He ought to be totally wholesome for the first time in 2021.
Surprisingly, Saban signed Camar Wheaton, the No. 2 total operating again in the Class of 2021, to a scholarship. Saban’s philosophy is to by no means flip down a wonderful again, nevertheless, which suggests Wheaton should work for any taking part in time he will get in 2021. Wheaton won’t play in Saturday’s A-Day Game.
Freshmen to look at
Offense: Jacorey Brooks, WR
Brooks, who’s listed at 6-3, 185 kilos, is taken into account the high receiver in Alabama’s vaunted 2021 class, which means he’ll possible have the greatest likelihood, on paper, to work his means into the receiving corps. Former NFL participant Cris Dishman, who coached defensive backs at Brooks’ IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., supplied this scouting report on the No. 2 receiver in the 2021 class:
“He’s a never say never guy. He’s a very hard worker. He’s got very good hands. Good route running ability,” Dishman mentioned (via AL.com). Everyone retains saying he isn’t as quick. But as soon as he will get going, he is acquired good top-end velocity. But he is a superb route runner. Hand-eye coordination is superb. The guys I can evaluate him to is somebody like, his work ethic is like a Jerry Rice. He’s going to work extraordinarily arduous. He’s going to be on time. He’s going to be a sure sir, no sir sort of particular person. If you inform him to do one thing, he will do it. He’s a pleaser if him.”
Defense: Ga’Quincy McKinstry, CB
McKinstry — or “Kool-Aid,” as he is known as — is anticipated to problem for vital taking part in time rather than Surtain in 2021. The No. 1 total participant from the state of Alabama in the 2021 class was such a precedence that Tide basketball coach Nate Oats supplied him taking part in time on his group. He caught 45 passes his senior season in highschool. He’s an athletic expertise who ought to be a pressure as soon as he provides weight to his 6-0, 180-pound body.