Alabama Football: Restoring a championship culture

[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]College Football Playoffs Alabama Vs Cincinnati
[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]College Football Playoffs Alabama Vs Cincinnati /

Alabama Football is looking to return to being the class of college football, which starts with restoring its championship culture. This offseason, Coach Nick Saban has pursued that goal aggressively, implementing coordinator and personnel changes as well as a philosophical shift on both sides of the ball.

In re-establishing a championship culture, it also helps that Alabama Football has at least one player from each of the last three national championship winning teams.

Starting with the homegrown talent, Alabama has a dozen players that were on the roster for the Crimson Tide’s 2020 national championship season. All twelve figure to play key roles in 2023, both in terms of production and leadership.

Bama is fortunate to have a lot of these veteran players in the trenches. Interior offensive linemen Seth McLaughlin and Darrian Dalcourt, as well as interior defensive linemen Justin Eboigbe, Tim Smith, and Jah-Marien Latham all have national championship rings.

McLaughlin will be the starting center for the Tide in 2023, ideally anchoring the best Bama offensive line since that 2020 group, which won the Joe Moore Award. Dalcourt will factor in as well. The graduate student has starting experience in his own right, and will likely be the first reserve at all three interior offensive line positions.

On the other side of the ball, Justin Eboigbe and Tim Smith are expected to be leaders on the defensive line as they attempt to show they are NFL-caliber players. Jah-Marien Latham will be a rotational piece on the D-line.

On the edge, junior Dallas Turner is grabbing all the headlines. However, seniors Chris Braswell and Quandarrius Robinson both figure to factor in heavily. Though they haven’t played much thus far, Braswell and Robinson both provide a veteran presence and the experience of winning a national championship.

Fellow seniors Malachi Moore and Kristian Story are in the thick of position battles in a crowded secondary. Moore was a standout on that 2020 national championship team, but missed the playoffs with an injury. He will likely start at star, and should be one of Bama’s best defensive players. Story is currently dealing with injuries of his own, but continues to compete with junior Devonta Smith and transfer Jaylen Key for one of the starting safety positions.

Alabama’s running back room is full of talent, and will be led by a pair of seniors in Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams. Both players got carries in a limited capacity as true freshmen in 2020, and look to take Alabama Football back to the mountaintop in 2023.

Lastly, kicker Will Reichard returns in 2023 to extend his all-time school scoring record. Reichard was already well-established as a sophomore on the 2020 championship team, going 14-14 on field goal attempts and 84-84 on extra points. He has been one of the best kickers in college football for the last four years, and that shouldn’t change this fall.

Alabama Football has added a transfer from the back-to-back national champion Georgia Bulldogs in each of the past two offseasons. Wide receiver Jermaine Burton joined the Crimson Tide following Georgia’s first title, and led Alabama in receiving yards despite not always performing consistently. Burton could have a breakout year in 2023 after another offseason in the system.

Bama also added former Georgia linebacker Trezmen Marshall prior to spring practice. Marshall won two championships with the Bulldogs, and will add toughness and grit to the Tide’s inside linebacker room.

Next. QB competition an ongoing process. dark

In total, the Alabama Football roster has 14 players that combine for 15 total national championship rings. Will this experience help the Tide get back to the College Football Playoff and beyond in 2023?