Alabama Football Depth Chart Predictions: Defensive Line

Ole Miss v Alabama
Ole Miss v Alabama / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
2 of 3

Defensive Tackle

1. Tim Smith (Graduate)

2. Jaheim Oatis (Junior)

3. Damon Payne (Redshirt Junior)

4. Edric Hill (Redshirt Freshman)

Tim Smith is one of the longest-tenured players on the team, having been in the first-team rotation since his true freshman season. He joins fellow class of 2020 signees Malachi Moore, Quandarrius Robinson, and Jah-Marien Latham as the lone remaining holdovers from Bama’s last national championship team.

Smith has always been productive, recording 89 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks in his career, but has never quite lived up to the 5-star billing he had coming out of high school. I expect him to put it all together in 2024. Under Roach, Bama has always had a defensive lineman make a jump in his final year of eligibility (Mathis, Young, Eboigbe), and Smith should continue that trend. 

Jaheim Oatis may be one of the most intriguing players to watch this season. Personally, I am fascinated to see what the new coaching staff does with his body and where they see him fitting from a positional standpoint. Oatis joined the program in 2022 as a massive true freshman, and his weight loss journey was well-documented. He was a force in that 2022 season, overwhelming opponents with his sheer size and almost-unnatural relative athleticism. 

When he returned for his sophomore season, however, it seemed like Oatis had lost too much weight. Though he was slim and moved well, he lacked that extra edge that had made him special the year prior. He also battled injuries in 2023 and saw his production dip slightly. Regardless, he is an experienced player that should be very hungry heading into his draft-eligible junior season. 

Damon Payne heads into year four as a very solid defensive lineman who would be a bona fide starter almost anywhere else in the country. Payne has 16 career tackles in 19 appearances, and will once again be in the rotation in 2024.

Edric Hill used his redshirt last season, but it will be tough for him to crack the lineup at such a deep position group this fall.