Alabama Football: Six Crimson Tide sophomores who can make an impact

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Between Alabama Football established starters and every new class’s anticipated phenoms, are the Tide’s sophomores. Though fanfare for some of the sophomores has faded, several could surprise in 2021.

There are sophomore exceptions, still in the Alabama Football spotlight. Will Anderson Jr. and Malachi Moore are guys who performed so well as freshmen, they are already team leaders. No Alabama football fan can imagine a defense without Anderson and Moore as starters.

Then there is Bryce Young. As the expected starting quarterback, Young too is established as a team leader. For Young, the rep comes not from what he has done, but from the lofty expectations of what he is capable of doing as a Crimson Tide starter.

Beyond those three sophs are six others who have solid chances to play key roles in 2021. Five of the six have a chance to win starting roles.

The highest profile among the six probably belongs to Brian Branch. Branch stood out in fall camp last year and was it not for Malachi Moore would have started as a true freshman. Branch ended up playing in 12 games and getting three starts. He made 27 tackles, along with seven pass breakups and two interceptions. Three of his pass breakups came against Ohio State in the National Championship game.

Another freshman who stood out last season was Tim Smith. Smith appeared in 10 games but did not get a large number of snaps. In the second half of the season, Smith made an impact despite limited snaps. If he does not start on the defensive line this fall, he will rotate in for frequent playing time.

The other four sophomores to follow are on offense. Two new wide receivers are needed and Javon Baker has a good chance to be one of them. He has been impressive so far this spring. Sophomore offensive linemen, Javion Cohen and Damieon George Jr. have been slotted with the first unit most of the spring. Neither was considered as elite high school players, but that is misleading. Both are tough, physical guys loaded with potential. They will have to hold off a couple of true freshmen in J.C. Latham and Tommy Brockermeyer, but Cohen and George have the best chance to start against Miami.

Jase McClellan looks to be on track as RB2, behind Brian Robinson Jr. He will have to share snaps with returning player, Keilan Robinson, and hold off Roydell Williams and later, a healthy Trey Sanders. Crimson Tide fans can expect solid contributions from four of the running backs.

In addition to the six, are three more sophomores who could contribute this fall. They are Drew Sanders, Quandarrius Robinson and Kristian Story. Even if it is mostly special teams, Sanders, Robinson and Story are such great athletes, the Alabama football staff needs to get them on the field.

Next. Magic Number for Will Anderson. dark

Alabama football fans should not forget the sophomores. The ones highlighted in this post and others have the potential to become Crimson Tide stars.