Alabama Football: Have offensive line woes been resolved?

(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Alabama Football
Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman JC Latham (65) – Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football: New faces at tackle spots

As much as the 2021 offensive line struggled, it may have featured the first No. 1 overall pick of the Nick Saban era at Alabama. Left tackle Evan Neal was, at times, the lone bright spot on this front, and he will move on to the professional ranks in 2022.

Chris Owens, the tackle opposite Neal, also departs. Owens had his own struggles throughout his career, but he provided valuable experience and versatility, playing several different positions along the line.

The spots vacated by Neal and Owens appear to be up for grabs heading into the summer. The Tide does not lack in talent, as sophomore JC Latham and redshirt freshman Tommy Brockermeyer were formerly 5-star recruits and the top two tackles in the nation in the ‘21 class. Neither Brockermeyer nor Latham, however, cracked the rotation at tackle in their first season. True freshman early enrollee Tyler Booker was a top ten tackle in the 2022 class and was a standout in the spring game.

Alabama football also boasts some older options at tackle, though actual game experience is limited. Junior Damieon George Jr. and redshirt junior Amari Kight both got reps at the right tackle position, which was constantly in flux, last season. Neither was particularly impressive, and ultimately Chris Owens (who is more of an interior lineman) took the job. Graduate student Kendall Randolph is another veteran and has played both tackle and tight end throughout his career at Alabama. He is slightly undersized, but could still compete for a starting position.

Vanderbilt transfer Tyler Steen may be the Tide’s best combination of both talent and experience at offensive tackle. Steen was a stalwart on the Commodores’ offensive line, amassing over 30 career starts and playing both tackle positions. On the surface, he seems like a perfect candidate to step right in and fill a position of need for Alabama football.

True freshmen Elijah Pritchett and Dayne Shor hope to push their way into the rotation as well. Pritchett in particular has a high ceiling, but both could benefit from some time in Alabama’s strength and conditioning program.