We beg and we beg, and, ultimately, Nick Saban does provide us a single depth chart each year on the Monday before the season opener.
Most of the time, it’s riddled with the dreaded “or-slashes” that indicate Saban is still refusing to tell us which of two guys will play (although, typically, the guy listed first on the slash typically gets the first reps in the game). But we also often get one or two surprises each year that get us to talking.
Without further ado, here’s this year’s edition, formatting courtesy of AL.com:
QB: (1) Bryce Young (2) Jalen Milroe (3) Ty Simpson
RB: (1) Jahmyr Gibbs (2) Jase McClellan/Roydell Williams (3) Trey Sanders
WR (Z): (1) Traeshon Holden (2) Ja’Corey Brooks (3) Kendrick Law
WR (X): (1) Jermaine Burton (2) Tyler Harrell (3) Isaiah Bond
WR (H): (1) Kobe Prentice (2) Christian Leary/Emmanuel Henderson
TE: (1) Robbie Ouzts (2) Miles Kitselman (3) Danny Lewis/Amari Niblack
LT: (1) Tyler Steen (2) Amari Kight
LG: (1) Kendall Randolph (2) Javion Cohen
C: (1) Darrian Dalcourt (2) Seth McLaughlin
RG: (1) Emil Ekiyor (2) Tyler Booker
RT: (1) JC Latham (2) Damieon George
DE: (1) Tim Smith (2) Jamil Burroughs (3) Damon Payne
NG: (1) DJ Dale/Jaheim Oatis (2) Tim Keenan
DE: (1) Byron Young (2) Justin Eboigbe (3) Jah-Marien Latham
SAM: (1) Dallas Turner (2) Quandarrius Robinson (3) Jeremiah Alexander
MIKE: (1) Henry To’o To’o (2) Kendrick Blackshire
WILL: (1) Jaylen Moody (2) Deontae Lawson (3) Jihaad Campbell
JACK: (1) Will Anderson (2) Chris Braswell (3) Keanu Koht
CB: (1) Kool-Aid McKinstry/Eli Ricks
CB: (1) Terrion Arnold/Khyree Jackson (2) Jahquez Robinson
FS: (1) DeMarcco Hellams (2) DeVonta Smith
SS: (1) Jordan Battle (2) Malachi Moore/Kristian Story
STAR: (1) Brian Branch (2) Malachi Moore
PK: (1) Will Reichard (2) Jack Martin
HOLD: (1) James Burnip
P: (1) James Burnip (2) Jack Martin
SN: (1) Kneeland Hibbett
PR: (1) Kool-Aid McKinstry (2) Jermaine Burton/Brian Branch
KOR: (1) Ja’Corey Brooks/Jahmyr Gibbs (2) Jermaine Burton/Terrion Arnold
For the most part, this played out as expected. Bryce Young is still QB1, and Will Anderson is still going to be terrorizing opponent QBs.
There are some interesting notes, though:
- The biggest news is at the WR position. While we all expected Jermaine Burton to start, seeing Traeshon Holden beat out Ja’Corey Brooks is a bit of a surprise, and then freshman Kobe Prentice came out of nowhere to win the third spot. There’s been a lot of talk about him making a lot of plays, but a starter only a couple months after arriving on campus? Nice!
- Jahmyr Gibbs is RB1 and Jase McLellan is RB2. We mostly expected it to go that way, but it wasn’t for certain.
- The OL looks as expected with JC Latham and Tyler Steen winning the tackle spots. Kendall Randolph has supplanted Javion Cohen at LG. We heard rumors about that last week, but it’s still kind of a weird situation, as Cohen was very solid as the starter in 2021.
- The DL is the other interesting group. Rather than the expected senior trio of DJ Dale, Byron Young, and Justin Eboigbe, former 5-star Tim Smith seems to have finally put things together and supplanted the more experienced Eboigbe for the defensive end role. We also have freshman camp phenom Jaheim Oatis shooting his way all the way up to be listed as a co-starter with Dale. With the amount of hype Oatis has gotten from coaches, teammates, and media this summer, expectations are going to be sky-high for the freshman.
- The corners are still locked in a 4-person battle. Terrion Arnold has been the late push, as it was a 3-way battle just a few months ago. The hot guy in camp has tended to win starting roles for Saban in the last few years, so my expectation right now is that Kool-Aid and Arnold are the starters on the first snap. But don’t be surprised if they rotate.
- The kick/punt returners also match what we’ve heard in camp. Kool-Aid is the guy at PR with JoJo Earle injured, and Gibbs is the primary kick return threat with Brooks as the hands/blocker guy.
What do you think?