We aren’t nearly done celebrating the 2020 team that just put up the best season in college football history, but it’s never too early to look ahead to next season. On the offensive side of the ball, Nick Saban is looking at an overhaul after losing all of the key playmakers along with three starting offensive linemen and three coaches. He has brought in Bill O’Brien to run things, and there are decisions to be made.
Spring practice will tell us more, and we will still be doing position group previews as usual, but this is my first stab at next year’s depth chart. Let’s open with the QBs, shall we?
#9 Bryce Young - Fr.
#15 Paul Tyson - RS Fr.
Jalen Milroe - incoming Fr.
I put Bryce at the top here as we all expect the #1 QB prospect from the 2020 class to show out, but this may be more of a competition than some believe. Tyson has reportedly looked good in practice and is a year ahead of Young in the program, having first practiced with the team during bowl prep at the end of the 2018 season before getting in an entire spring and fall camp. Of course, it was Young who got all of the backup snaps last season despite the difference in experience. This will be a battle of styles, Paul the classic pocket passer and Bryce the scrambling playmaker. Milroe is enrolled and will be in the mix, but finding playing time this year will be difficult.
#4 Brian Robinson, Jr. - Sr.
#21 Jase McClellan - Fr.
#2 Keilan Robinson - So.
#23 Roydell Williams - Fr.
#24 Trey Sanders - RS Fr. (injured hip)
Camar Wheaton - incoming Fr.
Assuming he is able to get healthy, Sanders will shoot up this chart. The elder Robinson will provide the leadership here, but the gamebreaking ability of the other guys will make for a committee approach. McClellan in particular flashed when given the opportunity in 2020. Keilan Robinson took the COVID year off and hit the weights hard. Seriously, have you seen this dude lately?
Sadly there is only one ball to go around, but as usual the Tide will have an ample stable of outstanding runners to plug and play for new coach Robert Gillespie.
LT #73 Evan Neal - So.
LG #72 Pierce Quick - RS Fr.
OC #79 Chris Owens - Sr.
RG #55 Emil Ekiyor - RS So.
RT JC Latham - incoming Fr.
LT Tommy Brockermeyer - incoming Fr.
LG #71 Darrian Dalcourt - So.
OC James Brockermeyer - Incoming Fr.
RG #51 Tanner Bowles - RS Fr.
RT #75 Tommy Brown -RS So,/ #78 Amari Kight - RS Fr.
New OL coach Doug Marrone has some decisions to make here, but what a talented group to choose from. I did my best to project a two deep, but there are many more names, such as Javion Cohen, Kendall Randolph, Seth McLaughlin, Dameion George, Terrence Ferguson and Jaeden Roberts. There will almost assuredly be some needed attrition from this group after spring camp.
Neal flipping to the left side for his NFL audition is a no brainer, but the battle for three vacated starting spots is going to be fierce. Owens started at center in the playoff, but can he hold off young studs in Dalcourt and James Brockermeyer? I have Pierce Quick penciled in at LG, but any of the above could wind up there. The talent at tackle is absurd. It won’t be surprising if one of those guys moves inside for a season as Alex Leatherwood did, and Tommy Brown practiced at left guard last season. I have Latham penciled in at RT on sheer talent. The #2 overall prospect in the 2021 class is physically ready and technically sound. Enjoy some road grading.
No matter how this group shakes out, it’s hard to believe that they won’t be dominant.
#8 John Metchie - So.
#5 Javon Baker - Fr./JaCorey Brooks - incoming Fr.
Christian Leary - incoming Fr.
#3 Xavier Williams, RS So.
#11 Traeshon Holden - Fr./#13 Thaiu Jones-Bell - Fr./Agiye Hall - incoming Fr.
#18 Slade Bolden - RS So./JoJo Earle - incoming Fr.
WR coach Holmon Wiggins doesn’t have much returning experience, but this freshman class reminds of The Rydeouts. Brooks is a consensus five-star who will be tough to keep off the field, and Bolden just can’t match the pure speed of Leary and Earle in the slot. I gave Leary the edge there as an early enrollee. Earle was a late flip and thus got all the recent attention, but let’s not forget what Mr. Leary brings to the table.
#19 Jahleel Billingsley - So.
#88 Major Tennison - RS Jr.
#81 Cameron Latu - RS So.
Robbie Ouzts - incoming freshman
Billingsley was a breakout star here and Tennison will likely start as the blocking tight end. Latu has some game experience but not extensive, and Ouzts is a redshirt candidate. This may be a position where Saban accepts a transfer to fix the numbers a bit.
There is still a long way to go, but that’s how I see it at this juncture. Tell me where I am wrong and/or downright stupid in the comments.