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Alabama Football 2017: Moving on and Looking at the Tide Defense of the Future

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The 24 hour rule is in effect.

Minkah will lead the Alabama secondary in 2017.
Minkah will lead the Alabama secondary in 2017.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

24 hours have come and gone and Alabama fans have had time to let the 2016 season sink in. For the most part, I'd say fans on this site are taking the ending pretty well. Though most of us will not wallow in the misery, rather celebrate the good, it is time to close the book on the 2016-17 season and look forward. The future is already here in the embodiment of some highly heralded early enrollees (EE).

So, let's start looking towards 2017. Ya know, it is only 234 days until the Crimson Tide faces the Florida State Seminoles in Atlanta, GA.

GOOD NEWS-BAD NEWS

SECONDARY

The good news is that almost everyone will be back. The bad news is that Marlon Humphrey will likely go pro. Many prognosticator have him as a first round pick. It is yet to be announced if he comes back for one more year of glory.

Leaving: Eddie Jackson.
Underclassman possibly leaving for NFL: Humphrey.
Returning: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ronnie Harrison, Anthony Averett, Hootie Jones, Deionte Thompson, Shyheim Carter, Levi Wallace, Jared Mayden, Aaron Robinson, Nigel Knott.
New guys: Chadarius Townsend (EE), Kyriq McDonald (EE), Xavier McKinney (4-star), Daniel Wright (4-star).
Outlook: Pretty darn good. Bama has already adjusted to life without Eddie. Now they just need to replace Marlon... maybe?

Payne

DEFENSIVE LINE

Yikes. Alabama is losing some big guys to the NFL, but Da'Ron Payne is poised to become the star of the D-Line.

Leaving: Jonathan Allen, Dalvin Tomlinson.
Underclassmen possibly leaving for NFL: Nobody.
Returning: Payne, Da'Shawn Hand, Josh Frazier, Raekwon Davis, Quinnen Williams, Jamar King, Johnny Dwight, O.J. Smith.
New guys: Isaiah Buggs (EE), Akial Byers (4-star), recruit to be named later (possibly 5-star Aubrey Solomon or 4-star LaBryan Ray?)
Outlook: Hand and Frazier have a lot of experience. Word is that Quinnen could've played this year but asked to be redshirted so he could hone his skills. The staff is excited about his prospects. Reports have said that Buggs is already impressing. Is Jamar ready?

Student Sports

LINEBACKERS

Leaving: Reuben Foster, Tim Williams, Ryan Anderson.
Underclassmen possibly leaving for NFL: Nobody.
Returning: Shaun Dion Hamilton, Rashaan Evans, Anfernee Jennings, Christian Miller, Terrell Hall, Keith Holcombe, Keaton Anderson, Mack Wilson, Ben Davis, Mekhi Brown, Joshua McMillon, Shawn Jennings, Jamey Mosley.
New guys: Dylan Moses (EE), VanDarius Cowan (4-star),  Markail Benton (4-star), Christopher Allen (4-star).
Outlook: This one is gonna hurt, but HOLY MOLEY look at the young'ns coming up! Hamilton and Evans bring strong leadership.

PUNTING

Leaving: Long snapper Cole Mazza.
Underclassmen possibly leaving for NFL: Nobody.
Returning: Punter JK Scott, some walk-ons.
New guy: Long snapper Thomas Fletcher.
Outlook: Mazza was absolutely flawless for four years at the Capstone. He was well worth the scholarship. Let's hope Fletcher, the nation's #2 LS, can continue that trend. Scott, an All-American as a freshman and second team All-American this season, will be a senior.

houndstooth hat

COACHES

Jeremy Pruitt had had an excellent first season back at the Capstone as the Defensive Coordinator. He has a firm grasp on the defense and will work to make it better. You never know when a coach will come and go but anticipate Karl Dunbar (DL), Derrick Ansley (DB), and Tosh Lupoi (OLB) to be sticking around.

* COMING TOMORROW: The 2017 Offense.