Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley was a consensus All-American and All-SEC first-teamer in 2012, as well as being a finalist for the Butkus Award.
Mosley had a stellar 2012 campaign, recording a career-high 107 tackles, eight tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions, two passes broken up, three quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
The rangy 6-foot-2, 232-pound linebacker has made a name for himself thus far in pass coverage for the Tide, and may be the best linebacker in all of football when it comes to defending the passing game. Mosley has covered tight ends as well as running backs and slot receivers with equal efficiency, primarily because of his play recognition and pure speed and athleticism.
Mosley has been able to intercept five passes thus far in his career and has returned three for touchdowns – an Alabama school record.
Mosley hasn’t been featured as much against the run, but he is still very effective and will have the chance to show that in 2013, as he will rarely leave the field on defense. Mosley’s wingspan is effective in shedding blockers, and his intelligence lends itself to play recognition as well. Mosley is also a hard hitter and can be extremely aggressive against the run.
Mosley is extremely effective on blitzes, and it was on a blitz that Mosley may have made the biggest play of the 2012 season.
In the final play of the SEC Championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs, Mosley came on a blitz. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray threw a quick pass, attempting to get it over Mosley’s head. Mosley diagnosed the play quickly and leaped up, tipping the pass. The receiver then had to dive to make the catch, instead of being able to make a play with the ball. As a result, time expired and Alabama moved on to a berth in its second consecutive BCS National Championship game.
Mosley’s physical gifts allowed him to tip the pass, but it was his mental quickness that allowed him to asses the action on the field and adjust from an attempted sack to tipping the pass. Those are the types of plays that separate a good linebacker from an All-American.