Alabama Football: Majority of defense returns for 2022

Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama football’s defense will be elite next year

On defense, it takes time to develop talent. The good news or Alabama football is that plenty of younger stars will return for next season.

The deadline to declare for the NFL Draft is Monday, but many athletes have already made their decisions. On defense, Josh Jobe, Chris Allen and Phil Mathis are the only ones to declare. They are all incredibly gifted, but Mathis was the only one able to start for the College Football Playoff.

Some big names have announced their returns for the Tide’s defense. Henry To’o To’o will come back and lead the Tide’s defense. D.J. Dale will return as a run-stuffer. Jordan Battle is expected to come back alongside DeMarcco Hellams. All of these players had value in the NFL Draft, and they are all returning to finish what they started.

There are still a few athletes waiting to make decisions. Jalyn Armour-Davis could be on his way out after Eli Ricks chose to transfer to Tuscaloosa. Christian Harris has value as an inside linebacker, but he hasn’t officially announced his decision. Defensive linemen Byron Young and Justin Eboigbe are also waiting to officially announce decisions, but their value isn’t as high as the other candidates.

The biggest decision left to be made is whether Christian Harris will return. Harris and To’o To’o were one of the best linebacker duos in the country, and they could continue to improve with an offseason together.

Even if Armour-Davis declares, Alabama’s secondary will be solid. Kool-Aid McKinstry and Khyree Jackson will return, and Eli Ricks will be the lock-down corner Alabama football lacked this year.

The only true concern is replacing Phil Mathis at defensive tackle, but Alabama has depth on the line. Having someone rush the passer from the interior is important, but only one of the players on the roster has to fill that role. Alabama has edge rushers and run-stuffers.

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So far, most of the defenders from last year’s team decided to run it back. If a few more make that decision, Alabama should easily have the best defense in the country in 2022.