Alabama Football: Will Dallas Turner elevate his game?

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama football received lots of hype this offseason, in part due to its trio of edge rushers. Will Anderson Jr. may be the best player in college football, and he has impacted winning despite being keyed on by every opponent. Anderson Jr. has six sacks, leads the SEC with 12 tackles for loss, and leads the nation in hurries. He has also made memorable plays, including a pick-six, a blocked field goal against Texas and a late sack in that same game.

Situational pass rusher Chris Braswell only has 1.5 sacks, but he is moreso a rotational piece and has been effective in limited snaps.

Sophomore Dallas Turner is the member of the trio that hasn’t quite met expectations. After exploding in the latter half of his true freshman season, Turner received All-American fanfare heading into 2022. He has been solid, but hardly a difference-making player.

Dallas Turner has notched 28 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. These are respectable numbers through eight games, especially for someone playing across from Will Anderson Jr.

Still, Turner has the raw ability and physical gifts to match his counterpart’s production. Last season, he got off to a slow start. Turner didn’t get his first start until week six, and didn’t record his first sack until the ninth game of the year.

It was in that game, coincidentally against LSU, that Turner took off. He had two sacks against the Tigers, both in critical moments. Dallas Turner went on to record 8.5 sacks in the final seven games of the year, including three multiple-sack games.

Alabama Football needs Dallas Turner going forward

Alabama football could desperately use a similar level of production from its sophomore edge rusher for the 2022 stretch run. In addition to pressuring the pocket and getting after quarterbacks, Turner has to be solid against the run. He and the other edge players must stay disciplined in contain and make solid tackles. Alabama plays elusive quarterbacks and quality running games in each of their last three SEC games.

LSU has a statistically average SEC running game, as lead backs Josh Williams and Armoni Goodwin have been effective though not heavily used. Quarterback Jayden Daniels leads the Tigers in rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns by significant margins. Dallas Turner will be instrumental in Alabama’s effort to contain him.

Going forward, Alabama will play Ole Miss, which features the top rushing offense in the SEC and the third-best in the nation. Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans may be the best running back duo in college football. Additionally, quarterback Jaxson Dart’s 473 rushing yards ranks second amongst SEC quarterbacks, behind only Daniels. Dart has amassed more rushing yards than notable SEC running quarterbacks such as KJ Jefferson and Anthony Richardson.

Lastly, Alabama football plays Auburn to close the regular season. Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter make up another formidable running back duo, and quarterback Robbie Ashford can do damage with his legs.

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Due to the nature of its opponents, Alabama’s edge rushers will be critical over the final portion of the regular season schedule and into the postseason. Dallas Turner is due for another breakout stretch, and he could play a huge role in the overall success of the 2022 Alabama football team.