Alabama Football: How the Defensive Line goes 10 deep in ’20

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Alabama Football: Building defensive line depth can lead to 10-man rotation in ’20

Alabama football has a real chance to use a 10-man defensive line rotation in 2020. It will not start that way against Missouri but the Tide is likely to finish with such depth. By mid-season, the emergence of three true freshmen, plus redshirt freshman, Ishmael Sopsher could actually turn the rotation into an 11-man unit.

Nick Saban and Alabama football, Defensive Coordinator, Pete Golding may prefer an eight or nine-man rotation. Barring injuries to older, more experienced players, one or two of the true freshmen may see limited action.

The point is, should the Crimson Tide staff choose, it can go very deep with defensive linemen in 2020. There are no physical or athletic impediments to a deep rotation. The question will be attention to detail, executing assignments and the determination of individual players.

Alabama Football Potential 10-Deep Defensive Line Rotation

Defining six Crimson Tide players in a defensive line, two-deep is easy. It is LaBryan Ray, D.J. Dale, Justin Eboigbe, Christian Barmore, Phidarian Mathis and Byron Young. Starters or not, all will play lots of snaps.

From that group of six, Pete Golding and Freddie Roach will seek at least two more who can be counted on for solid play. Identifying the two will come from this group of five players: Braylen Ingraham; Ishmael Sopsher; Tim Smith; Jah-Marien Latham and Jamil Burroughs.

Redshirt freshman, Braylen Ingraham has the best chance to join a regular rotation. Coming out of high school, he needed size and strength to be a capable defensive end. Now neither are in short supply. The slimmed-down, current version of Ish Sopsher could also take a big step forward for the Crimson Tide. Ish has frequently received good reviews from his fall camp work. Check out this synopsis of Sopsher’s brief Crimson Tide career.

Among the true freshmen, Tim Smith has the most recognized potential. Smith, at 320 pounds, looks more like a linebacker with his quickness and mobility. His high ceiling could lead to Crimson Tide stardom. The other pair of freshmen should not be underestimated. Neither was a highly ranked recruit, but that no longer matters. Latham, like Smith, carries his weight well and shows good quickness. Even before he arrived in Tuscaloosa, some Alabama football insiders have said Burroughs will be a multi-year starter for the Crimson Tide defense.

Ingraham and Sopsher would give the Alabama football defense a strong eight-man rotation. Help from the true freshmen would be cake-icing. Waves of Tide defensive linemen, whether the number is nine, ten, or eleven, would be a track to another Championship.

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On one point, we can be certain. Past defensive line recruiting misses are no longer impacting the Alabama Crimson Tide.