Alabama’s 10 Most Important in 2015


Football fans we’ve almost made it. We’re a mere 45 days from the kickoff of College Football season, and 47 days until the Tide travels to Dallas to face the Badgers of Wisconsin. We’re in the home stretch which means each day is growing longer and longer; at least it seems like that to me. It probably doesn’t help that the sporting gods aren’t giving us much to work with right now. Hopefully this in depth preview of Alabama’s ten most important players for the 2015 (and hopefully a few weeks in 2016) season can help hold you over for a little bit longer.

This is not necessarily a list of the ten best players for the Crimson Tide in 2015, but the ten that will be most important to the Tide’s success. First lets meet our honorable mentions:

DB – Tony Brown: The Sophomore defensive back looks to play a much more prominent role in the Alabama secondary in 2015. “Downtown”; as I will continue to call him until a better name comes along, played in 13 games his Freshman year, and will try and build on that experience for a crucial 2015 campaign.

LB – Reuben Foster: It’s finally Foster’s time to shine. Somewhat limited in his first few seasons on the Capstone; I expect Foster to break out in a huge way in 2015. By the end of the season, big hits won’t be the only thing he’s known for. Look for Foster to be on some All SEC teams come season’s end.

C – Ryan Kelly: Kelly was the toughest guy to leave out of my top ten as he will be as vital as any offensive player the Tide has in 2015. Kelly will look to bring home the Rimington as the nation’s top center.

Now that we’ve got the honorable mentions out of the way, lets get to the ten most important members of the 2015 Alabama Crimson Tide!

10. P – JK Scott: I know a lot of people will be surprised to see JK this low, but it’s more of wishful thinking on my part. Scott may have been my favorite member of the 2014 Alabama team (aside from Amari Cooper of course); but I have him this low hoping that we won’t need him to play such a vital role in 2015. Not since Brad Wing at LSU have I seen a punter that can flip the field and the momentum as easily as JK Scott can. Let’s hope that continues in 2015, but hopefully in not such vital roles.

9. CB – Eddie Jackson: Jackson returns for his Junior year and should be 100% from an ACL injury last spring. Although he played in almost every game last season it was apparent at times he wasn’t quite all the way healthy. Hopefully a full off-season to recover can change that as the Tide will no doubt depend on Jackson in the new era of pass-happy college football.

8. DL – Jonathan Allen: I went with Allen over Ryan Anderson because Anderson had some off the field trouble this offseason. I look for Allen to build off an impressive 2014 in which he recorded 5.5 sacks. Allen will be a big part in what hopes to be a truly dominant defensive line for the Tide in 2015.

7. CB – Cyrus Jones: Jones is fresh off of a 2014 campaign in which he earned All SEC honors. He’ll be back to lead the Tide secondary and we all know how important that role is under Nick Saban. With college football turning into an ever dominant air raid game; it will be vital for Cyrus and the rest of the Alabama secondary to step up huge in 2015.

6. WR – Robert Foster: When you have a receiver drafted in the top 5 of the NFL Draft it means someone has to step up big the next season. I expect that guy to be Robert Foster. I also considered ArDarius Stewart and Chris Black for this position, but I really think Foster is going to break out in a huge way this season. He was a 5 star recruit out of high school and will look to turn that success into some major collegiate success in 2015.

5. DL -A’Shawn Robinson: Terrifying human specimen A’Shawn Robinson checks in at number five on our list. Robinson is coming off a breakout 2014 season and he looks to continue that great success in 2015. Playing nose tackle the stats are never going to be eye-popping but don’t be fooled; Cornbread is one of the best defensive linemen in the country and he’s going to have to play like that this season for the Tide’s D-Line to reach their full potential.

Derrick Henry has switched to jersey number 2; hopefully he can step up and be the Tide’s number 1 back in 2015.

Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

4. RB – Derrick Henry: EL TRACTORCITO!!! Derrick Henry may not be the best running back in College Football, but I dare you to find one with a better nickname. The name stems from a Spanish Broadcast of the 2014 Sugar Bowl in which the broadcasters were referring to Henry as “El Tractorcito” or “the little tractor”. Works for me. Henry will finally be the main back in 2015 as TJ Yeldon has moved on to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kenyan Drake will return from a gruesome leg injury but it may take him some time to get re-acclimated to game action. So Henry will have to carry a big load; especially early in the season.

3. LB – Reggie Ragland: Reggie Ragland will be the Tide’s most vital defensive player in 2015. He might have been their best in 2014 and hopefully he can carry that success over to this season. All eyes are on Ragland as he finds his name on almost every watch list across the country this pre-season. Look for Ragland to take on a vital leadership role and hopefully turn all this preseason hype into some on the field magic.

2. OL – Cam Robinson: Cam Robinson was probably Alabama’s best offensive linemen in 2014 as a true Freshman. A first team Freshman All-American last year; he’ll look to be a regular first team All-American in 2015. And Alabama will need that kind of production from him. With the quarterback position still in question a good offensive line will be ever more important. The Tide will look for Robinson to anchor a group that has a chance to be great in 2015.

1. QB – Jacob Coker (hopefully): Although Coker is listed, this spot could very well be David Cornwell’s; Coker is probably the favorite as of now though. Coker showed up last year from Florida State with big expectations; although those may have been unfair since he didn’t really have time to grasp the offense. However there are no more excuses on that front; it’s time for Coker to step up and grab the reigns in 2015. The landscape of college football has changed; I don’t think you can win big solely relying on running the football anymore. Lane Kiffin showed last year he was able to work QB wonders as the Crimson Tide won the SEC with Blake Sims at the starting helm. The Tide will have to get even better QB play in 2015 if they expect to go farther, and it will be on Saban and Kiffin to get Coker (or Cornwell) to be that guy.

If everything plays out the way we all hope it does the Crimson Tide could have another playoff run in them in 2015. The talent is definitely there, we’ll just have to wait and see if it can all come together. Only 47 more days my friends, we can do this I promise!

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