Most impressive Alabama Football accomplishment of the offseason

From a major concern to a likely team strength, what Kalen DeBoer and his staff have done building the new Alabama Football secondary is most impressive.
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

What Kalen DeBoer and his Alabama football staff have done with the Crimson Tide secondary is amazing. They have taken a position group that once was the 2024 Tide's biggest weakness and turned it into a strength.

Some of the attrition from last season was automatic. Jalen Key was out of eligibility. Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold had no sensible decision but to move to the NFL. What no one could predict was 10 other Alabama defensive backs leaving via transfer. The numbers did the most damage, but losing one player, safety Caleb Downs was a crushing blow.

DeBoer, Kane Wommack, Mo Linguist, and Colin Hitschler were left with four returning defensive backs and a slew of freshmen. Added attrition occurred when 2024 signees, Jameer Grimsley and Peyton Woodyard also decided to transfer out.

Caleb Downs made a move to Ohio State soon after Nick Saban's retirement. Alabama football fans were stunned the Freshman All-American saw a better future as a Buckeye. Some pain from the loss of Downs was reduced by the expectation that 4-Star Freshman, Peyton Woodyard was a player with potential close to Downs. The April exit of Woodyard to Oregon ended that theme.

Kalen DeBoer and the Alabama Football staff did the work

DeBoer and his staff never overreacted to the departures. Instead, they steadily and meticulously built an almost new Alabama Crimson Tide secondary.

Despite the loss of Woodyard and Grimsley, the Crimson Tide's 2024 class of defensive backs remains impressive. All five, Jaylen Mbakwe, Dre Kirkpatrick Jr., Red Morgan, Zavier Mincey, and Zabien Brown are potential starters and possible Crimson Tide stars. Against that optimistic perspective is the reality that defensive back is arguably the hardest position for a freshman to excel.

Kalen DeBoer has solved the inexperience problem in the Crimson Tide secondary. Five transfer defensive backs have been added. With the additions, Alabama has both depth and options. Many of the 14 defensive backs can play multiple positions.

Competition will be fierce in summer workouts and fall camp. Among the transfers Domani Jackson and DaShawn Jones are expected starters at cornerback, but Jahlil Hurley, Jaylen Mbakwe, Zavier Mincey, and Zabien Brown, along with transfer Kam Howard will push them.

Michigan transfer Keon Saab is expected to start at safety, opposite Malachi Moore. Devonta Smith and Red Morgan will battle it out at Husky and Penn State transfer, King Mack can work himself into a key role and a 2025 starting job.

No matter how much talent players provide, for a secondary to perform well it needs game experience playing together. There will be growing pains in the first half of the season. In the back half, when Alabama is making a Playoff run, the Tide's defensive backfield should be a team strength.

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