Alabama football inside linebackers Henry To’o To’o and Jaylen Moody potentially have a lot of money on the line this season. The senior ‘backers have been an overlooked part of a Tide defense that features a star-studded secondary and the nation’s best pass rushers.
Alabama Football: Jaylen Moody
Jaylen Moody has been a career reserve but has remained loyal and committed to the Alabama football program. While he did enter the transfer portal this offseason when it appeared he would once again be a backup in his fifth year on campus, he withdrew his name and returned to Tuscaloosa as soon as it became clear that he would have an opportunity to carve out a starting role. It seems the redshirt senior has done just that, having been listed as the week one starter at weakside linebacker.
Moody is an aggressive, high-energy linebacker that has shown the capability to elevate the play of the entire defense in his limited snaps over the past four seasons. He also has a tendency to deliver big hits and make big, momentum-swinging plays, whether he is on defense or special teams. In his career, Moody has totaled 45 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Jaylen Moody has sat behind and learned from such linebackers at Mack Wilson, Dylan Moses, and Christian Harris. The former 3-star has patiently waited his turn, and he has a massive opportunity in front of him this season.
Alabama Football: Henry To’o To’o
Henry To’o To’o has been, statistically speaking, one of the SEC’s top linebackers since 2019. He spent his first two seasons as a Tennessee Volunteer, where he was essentially a starter from day one. In Knoxville, To’o To’o played in 22 games, totaling 140 tackles, 1.5 sacks, a fumble recovery, and a 32-yard pick six.
Over this two-year stretch, To’o To’o was arguably Tennessee’s best player, regardless of position. Prior to the 2021 season, he decided to transfer and play for the Alabama football team. To’o To’o immediately became a starter, replacing the departed Dylan Moses, but seemed to take awhile to get acclimated to the Alabama defense.
He was criticized by fans for a perceived lack of aggressiveness. To’o To’o ultimately finished his junior season with 111 tackles, 4.0 sacks, and a forced fumble. Though he put up impressive numbers, the stats could be a little deceiving, as he wasn’t always as impactful as they suggested.
To’o To’o made a wise decision in putting the NFL draft on hold to return for his senior season. I think he will be much improved as a player and as a leader, and has the chance to re-cement himself as one of the nation’s top linebackers.
Jaylen Moody and Henry To’o To’o bring a remarkable amount of leadership and wisdom to the center of this Alabama defense. I think they will become a strength of the team as the season progresses and play their way into favorable draft slots.