Alabama Football: Where 5-Star Linebackers wait their turn

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 19: Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart yells at Reuben Foster
TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 19: Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart yells at Reuben Foster /

Alabama football may be the only program in the nation with three 5-Star linebackers having to wait for their turn in the starting lineup.

Several schools lay claim to the title of ‘Linebacker U.’ Alabama football has as a good a claim as any others, as we explained in the post is 2017 the Tide’s Greatest Ever Group of Linebackers?

Reuben Foster won the Butkus Award last season as the nation’s best linebacker. In the 2013 recruiting cycle, Reuben was a 5-Star, rated as the No. 7 overall player in the nation and the No. 1 rated inside linebacker. Reuben had to wait his turn. He was not a regular starter at linebacker until his junior season.

Rashaan Evans was a 5-Star, rated as the nation’s No. 15 overall player and the No. 1 outside linebacker in the 2014 recruiting cycle. Back in February, Evans made the bold claim I will win the Butkus in 2017. Rashaan did not gain significant playing time until the injury to Shaun Dion Hamilton last season. Rashaan had to wait his turn.

On the 2017 Alabama football roster are three 5-Star players having to wait their turn at linebacker. All the rankings cited below are from 247 Sports.

  • Mack Wilson: In 2016 Signing Class, Wilson was a 5-Star, No. 16 ranked player in the nation and the No. 2 ranked outside linebacker. As a sophomore, Wilson should see more action than special teams in 2017.
  • Ben Davis: In 2016 Signing Class, Davis was a 5-Star, No. 11 ranked player in the nation and the No. 1 ranked inside linebacker. Davis was a redshirt in 2017.
  • Dylan Moses: In the 2017 Signing Class, Moses was a 5-Star, No. 13 ranked player in the nation and the No. 2 ranked outside linebacker.

We can’t expound on Mack Wilson without showing this.

All three guys are exceptional athletes. Wilson has so much natural skill, he is also a backup punter and backup long snapper. Plus he is used as an extra blocker in goal-line sets and caught a touchdown pass a freshman.

Dylan Moses weighs 235 pounds and runs a 4.4 40 yard dash. According to Matt Zenitz of,

"At 4.46 seconds during the Tide’s spring testing. That would have been tied (Moses) for the fastest time run by a linebacker at this year’s NFL scouting combine … No other linebacker ran faster than a 4.58 at the combine. (Moses is) faster than all but two of Alabama’s wide receivers."

What do Wilson, Davis and Moses have in common? Just like Reuben and Rashaan before them, they are 5-Stars who must wait their turn. Only at Alabama does this happen in the world of college football.

Wilson can draw some satisfaction for being labeled by teammates as the next ‘Reuben.’ Then again, there is a true freshman, late enrollee, VanDarius Cowan already earning the same comparison to Foster. Cowan was not a consensus 5-Star but he too is an exceptional athlete and a headhunter.

Cowan, along with fellow 4-Star freshmen, Chris Allen and Markail Benton will excel on special teams while waiting their turn.

Next: 30 Great Crimson Tiders who were 3-Star recruits

What an extraordinary pipeline of talent at linebacker. There is nothing that compares anywhere else in college football.