We love guys like Justin Eboigbe. For all the alleged anonymity of the offensive line, the defensive line really gets short shrift. They have highly specialized roles depending upon not only which position they play, what sort of offense they’re facing, down and distance, and how many gaps they can contain, but also which side of the LOS they’re on.
Justin Eboigbe is one of those guys who’s been remarkably solid, and seemingly at the Capstone for ages — he plugs along, does his job, does it well, and makes everyone around him better.
That’s why today’s news about his health hit pretty hard: His ‘Bama career is most likely over after suffering a head / neck injury, and requiring surgery. It sounds like one that he has to have too, just so that he can continue his career as a pro:
“He had a procedure done that would enhance his opportunity to be able to play in the future,” Saban said, “but I don’t think that’s going to come this season.”
Eboigbe appeared in the first four games of the season but did not play in the road game at Arkansas on Oct. 1. Saban announced his injury after that without a timetable to return.
The senior from Forest Park, Georgia recorded 19 tackles in each of the previous seasons. He had 11 stops in the first four games of this season.
For the team, this a huge blow. We had discussed yesterday how the Tide defensive line needed to play much better down the stretch against power running teams. So, losing Big 92 is a tough pill to swallow. For Justin, it’s a double whammy. Besides missing the rest of the year, his draft stock had only been rising as a longtime stalwart on the defensive line. Steady, strong-side defensive ends with the size to move inside are a precious commodity. He had been rated as a Top 20 DL pick for the upcoming NFL draft.
For his career, Justin Eboigbe saw action in 41 games, including 10 as a true freshman — he would start almost every game thereafter. He registered 59 tackles (30 solo), 2 sacks, 2 FF, 4.5 TFL, and even had an interception. What doesn’t show on the scoreboard is how much better he made the rest of the line around him.
This is not a small loss for the Tide.
Go take care of your future, man, and godspeed on your recovery.