Alabama Football: Crimson Tide needs these sophomores to shine

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama Football will be young in 2021. Just how young, in the two-deep, depends on the contributions from the 2019, 2020 and 2021 classes.

As he has always done, Nick Saban will not hesitate to play, and even start a true freshman. Those who enrolled early have an advantage, but some of the summer enrollees might explode as Malachi Moore did last season.

Putting aside debate over which true freshmen will contribute beyond special teams, Alabama football fans can anticipate significant improvement from many players who were part of the 2020 class.

Mark down at least five sophomores from the 2020 class as starters. Bryce Young, of course, as QB1 will lead the offense. Based on dime formations, both Malachi Moore and Brian Branch are expected to be starters. Will Anderson Jr. might be the best sophomore in the nation. Tim Smith will be key to the defensive line rotation and qualifies as a starter.

In a possible starter group are wide receiver Javon Baker. Baker has been running with the first group in summer 7v7 drills. He will have to hold off a couple of other sophomores, a redshirt junior and some outstanding freshmen receivers.

Sophomores Javion Cohen and Damieon George Jr. are possible offensive line starters. Summer workouts don’t provide many clues on the players slated for the trenches, but Cohen stood out in the spring.

Deep Alabama Football Position Groups

The Crimson Tide linebacking corps is deep in talent. At least one of the sophomores will likely have a key role in the regular rotation. Coming out of spring that was sophomore Chris Braswell.

It is a toss-up on which position group is the most loaded. If it is not the linebackers, it is the running backs, Behind Brian Robinson Jr. will be a battery of backs who would start on most SEC teams. At least three and possibly four will see plenty of action. Along with B-Rob and Trey Sanders, sophomores Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams should contribute more than mop-up work. McClellan and Williams will have to hold off freshman Camar Wheaton, at a position where a freshman can step in quickly.

Sanders is not the only 2019 class, redshirt sophomore key to Crimson Tide success.  Despite Alabama Football being loaded at running back, a healthy Trey Sanders would be a major boost. All indications are he will be cleared for full work before the season begins. Even more key is redshirt sophomore, QB2, Paul Tyson. Tyson will be one play away from leading the Tide offense. At least he will be until Jalen Milroe develops; a process expected to take time.

Next. Tide receivers giving back. dark

A good predictor of future success is returning production. As we wrote a couple of months ago, the Crimson Tide returns 76 percent of its defensive production. Almost the opposite is true on the offense with the Tide losing over 70 percent of its production.