Damon Payne committing to Alabama football is a bigger deal than it seems.
The 2021 Alabama football recruiting class has picked up steam over the summer. They added another 5-star stud on Sunday with the commitment of Damon Payne. Payne is the best defensive tackle in this recruiting class, but his commitment means more than his ranking.
Payne was high on Nick Saban’s recruiting list. His athleticism and strength will be valuable early for the Crimson Tide. Although the interior defensive line isn’t necessarily a weak position right now, Payne will certainly find his way into the rotation early. Alabama will likely be without LaBryan Ray for the 2021 season, and a breakout year by Christian Barmore could be enough for him to declare for the NFL Draft. That will leave Alabama football young on the defensive line.
There will still be players like DJ Dale and Ishmael Sopsher on the team, but Damon Payne has the talent to compete. 247 compares Payne to A’Shawn Robinson, which is a heck of a comparison. If he can live up to the hype, he will be a game-wrecker for the Crimson Tide.
This is a bigger deal for Alabama football than you might think.
In the past, two things have been incredibly valuable for Alabama defenses. Nick Saban has loved it when the team has depth. A freshman Damon Payne will certainly add that depth. If the Crimson Tide can rotate defensive linemen for certain situations, then they will be more versatile. Versatility has always been crucial for Saban’s top defenses, and one player can add versatility for the entire defensive front.
Alabama football also thrives on game-wreckers. In recent memory, Quinnen Williams did this. He covered a lot of mistakes that became prevalent after his departure. Interior pressure simply makes the jobs of every other defender that much easier. If Payne can wreck the interior line? Watch out.
Even if Payne can’t be a game-wrecker as a pass rusher, he can have an impact in the run game. Athletes like Da’Ron Payne and Dalvin Tomlinson have had major impacts without filling the stat sheet with sacks. The type of impact will depend on how his training goes with Alabama football, but Payne could be an absolute monster. We’ll have to wait and see.
Landing a five-star recruit is always a big deal. With Alabama’s current commits, the 2021 class already looks stacked. However, I think this commitment means more than most. Tide fans can’t wait to see Damon Payne in a crimson jersey on Saturdays.