There is so much talent at the University of Alabama right now. While no one is debating that, it does come with a small downfall -- and before you guys go nuts, I’ll go ahead and reiterate the word “small”.
Sometimes, as fans, we tend to allow talented, hard working players go underappreciated because they aren’t the shiny, new toy or because their name isn’t followed by a list of individual awards. That seems to be the case when it comes to Trey DePriest’s career at Alabama.
I’m not saying fans didn’t appreciate him during his time at Alabama. I’m saying fans didn’t appreciate him enough. DePriest was sandwiched between two of Alabama’s all-time great linebackers in C.J. Mosley and Reggie Ragland. Mosley was a first-round pick in the 2014 draft and of course, Ragland was taken at the top of the second-round during the 2016 draft this past April. On the other hand, DePriest followed up his college career with a short stint with the Baltimore Ravens after going undrafted during the 2015 draft.
Yes, it is safe to say that DePriest probably won’t have the same type of career in the NFL that guys like Reggie Ragland, C.J. Mosley, Dont’a Hightower or even Rolando McClain will have, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t make a significant impact during his time at Alabama.
Even though DePriest didn’t start any games at linebacker during his freshman year, he was still able to make his presence known. Throughout the course of that season, he joined up with fellow freshman Vinnie Sunseri to wreck havoc on special teams. “Fear the 3’s” was a popular phrase Alabama fans used to describe the dynamic duo -- Sunseri wore the number 3 while DePriest had the number 33 -- and it was lethal combination that gave the team a spark at crucial moments during their 2011 championship season.
DePriest followed that season up with 33 total starts over the course of the next three seasons, and while he never put up eye-popping statistics, he was a team leader who helped develop younger guys like Ragland and Reuben Foster. He was a throw-back, lunch pail type of linebacker who did a lot of the dirty work, and he never complained about his role in the defense. For a guy with such a high pedigree coming out of high school, that was always refreshing to see and I think it rubbed off on some of the other players.
DePriest was never a star on Alabama’s defense, but he is a guy who should be more appreciated for the contributions he made during his time with the Tide. There are a lot of talented players that have come through the program since Saban arrived in 2007, and we should never forget about those who go to work every single day to try to bring us fans another national championship.