Alabama Football: Bounce back year for Dallas Turner

(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

Alabama football has one of the nation’s deepest outside linebacker rooms, and it is time for Dallas Turner to take the torch as the leader of the group.

The edge tandem of Will Anderson Jr. and Dallas Turner have not quite had the 2022 season many predicted. Although some of the preseason expectations were borderline unrealistic, neither player has met the hype nor the record-breaking numbers that fans and media members believed were possible.

In Will Anderson Jr.’s relative “down year,” he was still statistically one of the best defenders in all of college football. The Terminator was named a unanimous first team All-American and won every major defensive award in existence.

Dallas Turner has not faced as much scrutiny as his more distinguished counterpart, but he has been quieter on the field. The sophomore has still been somewhat impactful, recording 37 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss, and 4.0 sacks to this point.

While these are respectable numbers, they are down from the 10.0 TFLs and 8.5 sacks he put up in 2021. To further illustrate his regression in production, he was a true freshman in 2021 and posted those numbers while starting less than half the season.

This season, Turner started slow but came on towards the middle of the year. He did not register a sack in the first five weeks of the season, and had no tackles for loss through four games. Over the next month, he would notch four sacks and return a fumble for a touchdown, reassuming his freshman form.

After this impressive stretch, Turner went quiet again. He has not recorded a sack since the LSU game on November 5th, and has only made five tackles in that time period. With a good Sugar Bowl showing, Dallas Turner could finish his sophomore year strong. This would set the stage for a breakout campaign as a draft-eligible junior in 2023.

There should be no complacency for Turner, as he will be constantly pushed by young talent. 2022 5-star Jeremiah Alexander, along with a pair of highly-touted incoming freshmen in 5-star Keon Keeley and 4-star Yhonzae Pierre, will certainly be nipping at Turner’s heels.

The veteran presence of former 5-star Chris Braswell should help Dallas Turner’s production. Should Braswell meet the hype he generated coming out of high school, opposing offenses will not be able to key on Turner as easily.

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As a collective, the edge room for Alabama football will continue to be a strength. If Dallas Turner can have a big junior year, he will re-establish himself as a surefire first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. That type of season can only be good for Alabama Football.