As is yearly tradition, Nick Saban has, out of the kindness of his heart, given us an official depth chart to pour over for a few days before we see what actually happens. He even got in a quick barb about it in his press conference:
“You all have a depth chart now, so you should be really, really happy with that, even though it may not be 100% exact relative to injuries or anything like that.”
With that, here’s how the chart looks (shout out to AL.com for formatting it so that I can copy and paste):
QB: (1) Bryce Young (2) Paul Tyson (3) Jalen Milroe
RB: (1) Brian Robinson, Jr. (2) Jase McClellan/Trey Sanders/Roydell Williams
WR (Z): (1) Jameson Williams (2) Traeshon Holden/Ja’Corey Brooks
WR (X): (1) John Metchie III (2) Agiye Hall/Javon Baker
WR (H): (1) Slade Bolden/JoJo Earle (2) Thaiu Jones-Bell/Christian Leary
TE: (1) Cameron Latu (2) Major Tennison/Jahleel Billingsley
LT: (1) Evan Neal (2) Amari Kight
LG: (1) Javion Cohen (2) Tommy Brown
C: (1) Chris Owens/Darrian Dalcourt
RG: (1) Emil Ekiyor (2) Jaeden Roberts/Terrence Ferguson
RT: (1) Kendall Randolph (2) JC Latham/Damieon George
DE: (1) Justin Eboigbe/Phil Mathis (2) Jamil Burroughs
NG: (1) DJ Dale (2) Tim Smith/Stephon Wynn, Jr.
DE: (1) Phil Mathis/Byron Young (2) LaBryan Ray/Jah-Marien Latham
SAM: (1) Christopher Allen (2) Drew Sanders
MIKE: (1) Henry To’o To’o (2) Jaylen Moody/Shane Lee
WILL: (1) Christian Harris (2) Jaylen Moody/Deontae Lawson
JACK: (1) Will Anderson (2) Chris Braswell/Dallas Turner
CB: (1) Josh Jobe (2) Marcus Banks/Khyree Jackson
CB: (1) Jalyn Armour-Davis (2) Kool-Aid McKinstry/Khyree Jackson
FS: (1) DeMarcco Hellams/Brian Branch (2) Kristian Story
SS: (1) Jordan Battle (2) Daniel Wright
STAR: (1) Malachi Moore/Brian Branch
PK: (1) Will Reichard (2) Jack Martin
HOLD: (1) Paul Tyson (2) Bryce Young
P: (1) James Burnip (2) Jack Martin/Ty Perine
SN: (1) Kneeland Hibbett
PR: (1) JoJo Earle/Slade Bolden (2) Kool-Aid McKinstry
KOR: (1) Jameson Williams/Jase McClellan (2) Trey Sanders/Slade Bolden
Here are some quick thoughts and observations:
- Senior Brian Robinson holds the starting RB spot as expected, but we didn’t get a clear cut backup. McClellan, Sanders, and Williams all hold the “or” for the #2 spot. Expect to see a big platoon.
- At wide receiver, Ohio State transfer Jameson Williams officially managed to come in and take a starting job. Also, true freshman JoJo Earle has really made an impression and is listed as a co-starter with senior Slade Bolden. Also from Saban’s press conference today: “(He’ll) obviously have some opportunity to play in this game.”
- Tight end Jahleel Billingsley continues to pay his penance for whatever he did to get himself in Saban’s doghouse, and is listed 2nd on the depth chart. In his stead, Cameron Latu is the starter for now.
- Saban was true to his word from last weekend that 6th year senior Chris Owens has not locked down the starting center job, and is still in competition with the talented Darrian Dalcourt.
- Kendall Randolph still holds the RT job, but may not play due to injury, so J.C. Latham or Damieon George could very well still supplant him.
- The defensive line and linebackers all look as expected. LaBryan Ray’s extensive injury history has pushed him further and further down the depth chart.
- Tennessee transfer Henry To’oTo’o has officially taken sole control of the Mike linebacker position, forcing Jaylen Moody to be the primary backup for both inside spots. I’m excited for To’o To’o and what he brings in leadership, intangibles, and production... And also I hate it for Moody, who has waited years for his turn to have a shot at the job. I hope he still finds a way to be a regular contributor on the starting defense.
- Jalyn Armour-Davis has continued to hold off freshman star Kool-Aid McKinstry for the starting outside corner spot.
- I’m utterly fascinated to see how Pete Golding uses Brian Branch this year. He’s listed as co-starter at Star with Malchi Moore and is the backup safety. Alabama basically has 4 guys (Battle, Hellams, Moore, and Branch) who can all be elite safeties for 3 spots.
- Alabama’s third transfer from the offseason, P Jack Martin, is the only one that didn’t win a starting job. He is the primary backup for both kicker and punter, though. So it’s nice to have a proven veteran there in case either starter gets hurt.
- Australian punter James Burnip won the starting job outright, which is very exciting. That he beat out Martin, a guy who averaged north of 40 yards per punt in FBS college football, is extremely encouraging for a team that has struggled with punting for 3 years.
- Out of the blue, some guy named Kneeland Hibbett took over as the starting long snapper. For the first time in a decade, Alabama doesn’t have a scholarship dedicated for the snapper. Hopefully it goes well.
- JoJo Earle is also listed as co-starter with Slade Bolden at punt returner. I imagine once he proves he can make reliable decisions, the job will solely be his.
- Jameson Williams and Jase McClellan are the kick returners. It’s a position that’s very nearly been legislated out of the game, but both of these guys have tremendous straight-line speed and the smooth athleticism that can gobble up a 40-yard return if the defending team leaves a gap open.