Alabama Football: Crimson Tide’s five most important juniors

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Alabama Football
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Alabama Football Junior no. 2: Dallas Turner

Dallas Turner enters his money year as the new leader in the outside linebacker room. He has performed admirably across from Will Anderson Jr., notching 12.5 sacks through his first two seasons.

A lot hinges on Turner’s performance this year. The ability to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks will be a huge part of Alabama’s defense in 2023, so Turner has to produce on the edge.

There is some justified skepticism regarding Dallas Turner’s consistency. He was awesome as a true freshman in 2021 before seeing a fairly significant dip in production as a full-time starter in 2022.

Which version of Dallas Turner will show up in 2023? Can he be effective as the focal point of opponents’ blocking schemes following the departure of Anderson Jr.? These are questions that the rising junior must answer this fall.

I am of the opinion that Turner will return to form and be a first team All-SEC caliber player. His presence as an elite pass rusher will simplify things for the secondary, as well as for other edge rushers such as senior Chris Braswell.

Alabama Football Junior no. 1: Malik Benson

Despite 2023 being his first fall on campus, JUCO transfer Malik Benson could be the most important junior on the Crimson Tide roster. The speedy wide receiver was the top-ranked JUCO player in the 2023 class, and brings a different element to the Alabama receiver room with his explosiveness.

While fellow junior Ja’Corey Brooks and senior Jermaine Burton will be very important pass-catchers in the Alabama offense, I think Benson has the highest ceiling of anybody in the room.

Admittedly, it’s a risky move to have a player like Malik Benson at the top of this list. After all, Bama has plenty of proven juniors on its roster, and Benson has never even donned an Alabama uniform on gameday.

However, his physical abilities and knack for getting behind defenses set him apart. Benson can be the playmaker at receiver that Alabama has lacked since Jameson Williams tore his ACL in the 2021 national championship game.

Next. Early spring '23 depth chart. dark

To reach its goals, Alabama Football will need all of these juniors and more to play at a high level. In many ways, this class is the core of the team. The way it performs will likely dictate the Crimson Tide’s level of success in 2023.