Under new head coach Kalen DeBoer, Alabama Football will look different on both sides of the ball in 2024. Defensive coordinator Kane Wommack’s 4-2-5 look and terminology will be something Bama fans have to get used to.
One of the most important positions in Coach Saban’s traditional 3-4 defense was outside linebacker, a position that eventually evolved to “edge” as the defense transitioned to slow down spread offenses.
Coach Saban and his staff recruited and developed the edge position as well as anyone. As a result, Bama very well may put three edge players in the first round of the last two NFL Drafts in Will Anderson Jr., Dallas Turner, and Chris Braswell.
Wommack’s unit will still feature an edge, but will likely only have one on the field at a time. This isn’t entirely foreign in Tuscaloosa, as Coach Saban’s base nickel look often deployed one edge and three down linemen.
Alabama Football: What will edge rotation look like?
The position group is one of intrigue for Alabama Football heading into 2024 with Turner and Braswell departing. Redshirt senior Quandarrius Robinson was a key rotational piece for the Alabama defense last season, notching 24 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Robinson will open 2024 as the most experienced player in the room and could very well assume the starting role.
Redshirt junior Keanu Koht will also compete to get snaps, having previously played primarily on special teams. Redshirt sophomore Jeremiah Alexander could also factor in here. Alexander was a 5-star edge recruit before shifting to inside linebacker for stretches last season.
A trio of super-talented redshirt freshmen are the most fascinating and promising aspect of this position group. Keon Keeley, Qua Russaw, and Yhonzae Pierre were all 5-star recruits in the 2023 cycle, and boost the ceiling of the edge room dramatically. While they are gifted enough to possibly contribute in the fall, retaining these three is very important for Alabama Football going forward.
Incoming freshmen like Cayden Jones and Sterling Dixon could also eventually play the edge at Alabama.
The edge position at Alabama Football generated a fierce pass rush under Coach Saban, and it will be a necessary component of DeBoer and Wommack’s unit as well. Competition is wide open at this position heading into the spring, and will be important to keep track of.