Depth at Inside Linebacker a concern or not
Alabama Football is loaded at outside linebacker and there is inside linebacker talent but ILB depth could be a 2021 concern.
With Josh McMillon foregoing a seventh Alabama football season and Ale Kaho in the transfer portal, is depth at ILB a concern for 2021? A short answer is no. The Alabama Football roster will have eight scholarship inside linebackers. The talent and depth at outside linebacker is so strong, a couple of those guys could move to ILB, if necessary.
For Alabama football fans, short answers are not enough, particularly in offseasons filled with limited new information. Too recent history of roster deficiencies at inside linebacker makes Crimson Tide fans wary. That wariness was fueled this week when Ale Kaho decided to enter the transfer portal.
Most Alabama football fans would have listed Kaho in the top three Tide inside linebackers for next season. The fourth slot was expected to draw heavy competition. Now ILB3 and ILB4 are up for grabs.
The presumed starters are Christian Harris and Jaylen Moody. Harris should be one of the best in the SEC next season. Whether he is the ‘Mike’ or ‘Will’ inside backer, he will probably take over play-calling from the exiting Dylan Moses. Moody will have to be prepared to handle those duties as well. Jaylen Moody looked good in limited action in 2020. He showed good awareness, quickness and speed, coupled with a desire to be a punishing tackler.
As long as Harris and Moody remain healthy, the Crimson Tide will be solid at inside backer. At least two of the less experienced players need to be prepared for sudden duty. Check out the other six inside linebackers in the list below.
Alabama Football Competition for ILB3 and ILB4
- Shane Lee has two seasons of experience, the first being a shaky true freshman starter. Lee is built like Crimson Tide run-stoppers going back several seasons. He could have a key role in 2021, though his speed and quickness might need the help of less weight.
- Jackson Bratton is beginning his second season in Tuscaloosa. The former 4-Star recruit has a chance for a bigger role in 2021.
- Demouy Kennedy was highly rated in the 2020 class as the No. 39 player overall in the nation and the No. 3 rated ILB in the class. He is listed at 215 pounds but is expected to be heavier now, and will need to be to play inside. Kennedy has legit star potential.
- Deontae Lawson had similar recruit credentials to Kennedy, being the No. 3 rated ILB in the 2021 class. He enrolled early. He also needs to add some weight to be a factor in 2021. Lawson is another guy with huge upside potential.
- Ian Jackson was not rated as high as Lawson in the 2021 class. He was ranked as the No. 13 OLB, but is expected to play inside for the Crimson Tide. He also enrolled early.
- Kendrick Blackshire comes from high school as one of the Tide’s most physically-gifted players. His body is ready from Day One. At 245 pounds, Blackshire might need to shed a little weight to better his speed and quickness. He will enroll this summer.
Every one of the six was a 4-Star recruit. Lawson was not far from being a 5-Star. Following their spring and fall camp progress will intrigue Crimson Tide fans. A position change from one of the deep group of outside linebackers is also a possibility.
Crimson Tide fans are excited about the possibility of adding former Tennessee Vol, Henry To’oto’o. Immediate eligibility questions cloud the possibility of adding the player once a top recruiting target for the Tide.
All the player rankings in this post are from the 247Sports Composite. One more option might be adding an ILB transfer, not identified at this time.