Alabama Football: Some Speculation on the 2023 Roster

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Alabama Football
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Alabama Football Likely Departures

Other likely departures on the offensive side of the ball are tight end Cameron Latu, offensive tackle Tyler Steen, and offensive guard Emil Ekiyor Jr. All three of these seniors will have the option to return for another year, but it should be assumed that they are graduating until further notice.

On defense, there is a longer list of names due to the fact that the Alabama defense was loaded with seniors this season. Defensive linemen Byron Young and DJ Dale are both four-year contributors that never truly made the jump to elite status. Young flashed upside throughout his career and began to break out in 2022, so it will be particularly interesting to see if he opts to return.

Similarly, inside linebackers Henry To’o To’o and Jaylen Moody never matched the buzz they generated at times. To’o To’o is a former Tennessee transfer who captained the Alabama defense for two seasons. To’o To’o has shouldered much of the blame and scrutiny for the Tide’s relative defensive struggles over that period, but he is lauded for his IQ and will likely be an NFL draft choice.

Jaylen Moody waited his turn to become a starting linebacker for Alabama, even briefly entering the transfer portal last spring before announcing his return. For a while, it looked like 2022 was going to be Moody’s year. Unfortunately, his senior season was interrupted by injuries and, by the end of the season, he had fallen behind sophomore Deontae Lawson in the rotation. Moody still put together a respectable season with 50 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks. I expect him to either try his hand in the professional ranks or exercise his final year of collegiate eligibility somewhere else.

Alabama should also expect to lose senior safeties Jordan Battle and DeMarcco Hellams. Both have logged extensive experience at Alabama, recording 242 and 243 career tackles respectively.

Battle is a four-year contributor who has had an underwhelming senior season after making significant jumps in each previous year. He entered the season as a projected All-American and early-round draft pick, but was fairly quiet throughout 2022. He finished the regular season with the lowest number of tackles and pass breakups he has posted since his freshman year. Battle also failed to record a TFL or force a turnover all season for the first time in his career.

On the contrary, DeMarcco Hellams had his best season in Tuscaloosa, recording 95 tackles and seven PBUs. Unfortunately, his deficiencies in pass coverage were exposed in Alabama’s loss at Tennessee. To many Alabama football fans, that is the game he will be remembered for.

Junior cornerback Eli Ricks is projected to be one of the first defensive backs off the board despite barely playing this season. He would be a welcome addition if he returned to Alabama in 2023, but it would be a surprise to most.