Alabama Football: Big Game for Deontae Lawson

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Redshirt freshman linebacker Deontae Lawson has a big opportunity in front of him. The weakside linebacker has been one of the bright spots on the defense this season, and will presumably take on a leadership role for Alabama football in 2023.

Lawson has factored heavily into the linebacker rotation, notching 45 tackles, one tackle for loss, and four pass breakups. With senior inside linebacker Jaylen Moody expected to be out for the Sugar Bowl, Lawson has the chance to make a statement of his arrival. With a big game, he can establish himself as the leader of the linebacking corps heading into next season.

Moody got off to a strong start to the 2022 season before succumbing to injuries. Assuming he does not play in the bowl game, he will finish his senior season with career-highs of 50 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks. He was an effective member of the Crimson Tide defense, and he played a lot of snaps.

Those snaps will now belong to Deontae Lawson, who many believe is a future star in Tuscaloosa. Some even anticipated that he would take the starting weakside linebacker job last offseason. He made enough of a jump to essentially split reps with Moody, who has been in the program for years.

Lawson was a 4-star recruit in the class of 2021. He was considered the 52nd best player and the seventh-best linebacker in the country, as well as the second-best player in the state of Alabama. Coming out of high school, he was compared to former Alabama standout C.J. Mosley by 247Sports recruiting analyst Andrew Ivins.

In his time at Alabama, Deontae Lawson has shown a lot of athleticism for his position. He has also performed well against quality competition. Lawson recorded seven tackles against Tennessee, six tackles and two pass breakups against Ole Miss, and a career-high nine tackles against Auburn. He will continue to get more comfortable, and will be an increasingly impactful member of the Alabama defense.

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Alabama football expects to lose both inside linebackers, and the quality of that position group will go a long way towards determining Bama’s success in 2023. Deontae Lawson’s role will be critical, both in terms of on-field performance and leadership. It will be interesting to see how he approaches the Sugar Bowl.