This is going to be one of the more intriguing A Day games in recent memory, with the Tide defense expected to be well ahead of the offense developmentally for the first time in three years. That isn’t an ideal scenario in the current college football landscape, as even Nick Saban himself has acknowledged.
That isn’t to say that the offense is devoid of talent, of course. As usual, the depth chart is loaded with top 100 recruits. They simply haven’t had the opportunity to jell and show what they can do.
Saban released the rosters yesterday, and there were a few notable surprises.
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Per usual, the Crimson team has the starting defense and reserve offense, while the White team has the reverse. A few notes:
- Monkell Goodwine immediately cracking this defensive line rotation as an early enrollee is impressive. We haven’t heard that much about him thus far, but the coaches clearly see something. At 6’4”, 278 lbs. he should be easy to spot.
- Jalyn Armour-Davis and Brian Branch made the first team defense as expected, but Jahquez Robinson is a bit of a surprise. Daniel Wright would likely be in the mix here, but the safety depth is such that someone had to move over to the White team.
- It is notable that Demarcco Hellams made the Crimson roster over Wright.
- Keilan Robinson is listed as both a running back and a wide receiver. It will be exciting to see what the coaching staff has in store for him in that kind of role.
- Roydell Williams made the White roster over Jase McClellan, but Saban has often put his RB2 on the Crimson team through the years. Still, the battle for carries is one to watch.
- No word on whether Evan Neal will be able to go, and Saban has no interest in telling you. With Emil Ekiyor already sidelined, we may not be able to glean much from the battle in the trenches. Tommy Brown, Tanner Bowles, Dameion George, Javion Cohen and Kendall Randolph join Neal and Chris Owens on the first team. We will get to see what the top two tackles in the 2021 class, Tommy Brockermeyer and JC Latham, can do on the Crimson team.
- Cameron Latu has reportedly caught multiple touchdown passes in the spring scrimmages, and has joined Jahleel Billingsley with the ones while bumping Major Tennison to the Crimson team.
- Putting DL Tim Smith on the White team isn’t fair. He is likely to be very disruptive to the second team offense, and underscores the depth of talent at the position.
- The White team linebackers will be fun to watch. Future stars Ian Jackson, Demouy Kennedy, Jackson Bratton and Deontae Lawson are all hoping for time in the fall. This group is loaded.
- Ditto the Crimson team WRs with all three of the Tide’s talented early enrollees, JaCorey Brooks, Agiye Hall, and Christian Leary. Thaiu Jones-Bell joins them. Javon Baker will look to lead the starting group with John Metchie sidelined.
- Doug Marrone will be calling the plays for the Crimson offense, pitting two former NFL playcallers against one another in a college spring game.
As always, feel free to comment with anything that stands out to you, that we may have missed.
With interesting position battles all over the field, this should be a fun spring game. It is always bittersweet as a long summer looms ahead of the September 4 kickoff. Soak it up, folks.
Kickoff is at noon CT, on ESPN.