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16 for ‘16: Reuben Foster’s Hit Sets the Tone for the Season

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Senior linebacker sends a message to running backs across the nation

NCAA Football: Alabama Crimson Tide LB Reuben Foster
Reuben Foster is on the hunt.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The second installment of RBR’s 16 for ‘16 series highlights something many Bama fans enjoy seeing most of all: savage Crimson Tide defenders laying the boom.

There is no bigger hitman on Alabama and maybe in the nation than Reuben Foster.

After finishing his junior year as the starter at inside linebacker, he was second on the team with 73 total tackles. At this point, Foster was eyeing an early jump to the NFL. To the delight of Alabama Nation, Foster and several of his teammates decided to return to the Capstone for one more run.

Although the Tide lost Reggie Ragland, A'Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, and Cyrus Jones to the NFL, the 2016 defense was eager to let the world know that it was business as usual in Titletown. Senior Trojans running back Justin Davis was the unfortunate target of that message.

In the second quarter of Game #1 versus Southern Cal, Davis took a handoff with the intentions of running off tackle. When all he could see was a sea of Crimson, he made the unwise decision to cut it outside thinking he could outrace the Tide defenders to the edge. The result is a collision Davis would not soon forget.

It’s such a devastating hit that ESPN’s Chris Fowler cannot contain himself. Southern Cal would punt three plays later. The next three series would result in two three-and-outs and a pick six. By the time the Trojans converted a first down, they were in a 17-3 hole.

Davis, like many other running backs who would follow, would not find much success running against Alabama in 2016. He would finish the game with two yards on seven attempts for 0.3 ypc average. He would average 96.8 yards over the next five games before a high ankle sprain took him out of action against Colorado.

Foster would go on to amass 94 tackles (51 solo, 43 assist), 12 for a loss, four sacks, and eight QB hurries. The Butkus Award winner as the nation’s best linebacker would also be recognized as a unanimous first team All-American.

The Tide defense leads the nation in rush defense (63.4 ypg), total defense (247.8 ypg) and scoring defense (11.8 ppg).