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Alabama A-Day What to Watch: Sleeper Kyriq McDonald

Redshirt freshman hopes to be making TV highlights in a different way in 2018.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia
Kyriq McDonald is carted off the field during the third quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 CFP national championship college football game.
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

One of the scariest Alabama injuries of 2017 happened on the sidelines during the Playoff Championship game against Georgia. Freshman defensive back Kyriq McDonald collapsed on the sideline late in the third quarter of that game. Emergency personnel placed him on a stretcher and carted him off the field. At the time, an Alabama spokesman told ESPN that McDonald’s collapse was because of a “non-athletic medical issue” with nary another word reported since January.

McDonald was a lesser known defensive back recruited out of Madison, AL. With only 3-stars next to his name, he was not received with the fanfare of guys named Tua, Najee, Moses, Leatherwood, Ruggs and Buggs. However as an early enrollee, he participated in last year’s A-Day game and had fans and media alike scurrying for their rosters to figure out who number 26 was when he wrestled a Mac Jones pass away from Xavian Marks in the first quarter. Although McDonald redshirted his first season on campus (don't forget that Marlon Humphrey did as well), he could be a darkhorse candidate at one of the outside corner spots or at star. Look for him to get plenty of playing time in nickel or dime packages. McDonald has flexibility to play safety and starred as a hybrid outside linebacker-safety during his senior campaign in high school.

With five 2017 starters gone from the secondary (six if you count Hootie Jones), there will be plenty of opportunity to earn some playing time.