Alabama football: 3 potential breakout players on defense

(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /
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In his early years as the Alabama  Crimson Tide head coach, Nick Saban produced some of the most intimidating and successful defenses the college football world has ever seen.

After using the last several years to improve offensive creativity while adjusting to the changing offensive play styles, Bama’s defense has not been quite what it was back in 2011.

However, this year’s defense is one of the best I have seen in Saban’s lengthy tenure in Tuscaloosa. The 2022 defense is packed to the brim with veteran playmakers, freshman and sophomore breakout stars, and depth in each position.

Alabama football has the best defensive player in the country in Will Anderson Jr., defensive coordinator Pete Golding is back after running the unit for the first time in his career in 2021, and the secondary returns five starters from a year while also adding a preseason All-American through the transfer portal in Eli Ricks.

Alabama Football Honorable mention

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

DB Eli Ricks

The transfer from LSU has received plenty of hype throughout the offseason and Eli Ricks showed some of that immeasurable talent during the spring game. The junior should slot in nicely with Kool-Aid McKinstry, Brian Branch, and Khyree Jackson in the secondary from the offset.

Even though Ricks missed some offseason practices due to injury, the season-opener against Utah State gives him a nice chance to get settled in.

If Ricks can stay healthy after dealing with injuries for much of 2021, this Bama defense has no flaws whatsoever!