Alabama Football Position Group Countdown: Areas of need

Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

With Alabama’s 2024 roster essentially set for the spring, this is a four-part series in which we will assess the Alabama Football roster by position group. I have broken the roster down into 12 position groups, covering the offense and defense but excluding specialists. 

Of course, it is still very early in the offseason. Every position group is capable of producing surprise standouts in spring ball, or even adding fresh talent via the spring portal window. However, this segment is intended to analyze the current state of the roster and perhaps determine whether such changes would be necessary. 

In this first installment, we will take a look at the three most concerning positions on the team. While all of these position groups feature blue-chip talent, they include very few proven commodities, if any. As a result, they are the biggest question marks on the 2024 roster heading into spring. 

12. Offensive Tackle

Alabama will be very young at offensive tackle in 2024, barring any late transfer portal additions. The Tide brings back redshirt sophomore Elijah Pritchett, a former highly-touted recruit who played sparingly last season and experienced some growing pains. Pritchett has far and away the most game experience on the roster at the tackle position. 

Bama also has a group of redshirt freshmen that joined the fold in the recruiting class of 2023 but did not play much, if at all, during their first season. This group includes Wilkin Formby, Olaus Alinen, and Miles McVay, all of whom were 4-star recruits coming out of high school. Texas A&M transfer Naquil Betrand is another redshirt freshman that will be in contention for a tackle spot. 

Bama returns two elite guards in Tyler Booker and Jaeden Roberts, and there has been chatter that one of the pair could bump out to tackle if the need at the position proves to be unmet. 

11. Cornerback

Cornerback is in a similar spot, as Alabama does not return any contributors at this position. It brings back just redshirt freshman Jahlil Hurley, who did not play any significant snaps in 2023, and adds USC transfer Domani Jackson, who instantly becomes the room’s most experienced player. 

Bama landed three 5-star freshmen corners in the class of 2024 in Jaylen Mbakwe, Zabien Brown, and Zay Mincey. One or more of these talented freshmen could contribute, or even start, in year one. 

This is likely a position at which the Crimson Tide needs to add a veteran transfer or two, even if it’s just for depth purposes.

10. Safety 

Bama’s secondary took some big hits this offseason, and the situation at safety is only slightly better than the one at cornerback. The transfer loss of Caleb Downs was so critical that the safety position would be much closer to the end of this countdown had he returned.

Instead, Bama returns senior Devonta Smith and sophomores Tony Mitchell and Bray Hubbard, all of whom are far less seasoned than Downs in terms of game experience. Smith has struggled to remain healthy, but will likely snag a starting spot if he can do so. Mitchell and Hubbard are both rangy and talented, albeit unproven, on the back end. 

Alabama also returns 5th-year senior Malachi Moore, one of the most experienced players on the team. Moore has typically played the nickel corner, previously referred to as the ‘Star’ and now known as the ‘Husky’ in Kane Wommack’s 4-2-5 defense. For the purposes of this countdown, the Husky will be considered a third safety, which is in part why the safety position is ranked ahead of the cornerback position. 

Moore is a versatile defensive back that may end up playing one of the true safety positions if the need presents itself. He is one of the most reliable players on the entire roster and will be a key piece regardless of his position. 

True freshmen Red Morgan, Peyton Woodyard, and Dre Kirkpatrick Jr. could also contribute at safety. 

Keep a close eye on these three position groups throughout spring practice. The Crimson Tide will need its young players in these rooms to develop quickly, or it may have to turn to the portal.