21 Days Away from Bama Kickoff: Dre Kirkpatrick
Each day counting down to Alabama's Week 1 matchup with Utah State, I will highlight a former player whose jersey number coincides with the amount of days until the game. The Tide takes the field in just 21 days, so let's look at the career of former Bama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.
Dre Kirkpatrick locked up opposing wideouts in Crimson and White from 2009-11 and was a key building block of the early part of the Nick Saban era at Alabama.
A five-star recruit in the 2009 cycle from Gadsden City, AL, Kirkpatrick was one of the nation's most highly touted prospects and chose the Tide over the likes of Texas, Florida, USC and more.
In his first season with the team, the lengthy corner saw time in 12 games, but was mainly used as a reserve defender, finishing the year with just eight total tackles. In his sophomore season, Kirkpatrick took over the starting job from Javier Arenas, who departed for the NFL, and was an immediate star.
He finished with 53 total tackles and notched three interceptions on the year in some of the Tide's most crucial matchups.
In Kirkpatrick's final season with the Crimson Tide, he helped lead the nation's top ranked defense and compiled 30 tackles and nine pass deflections. Alabama finished the year 12-1 and won the National Championship over LSU, and the junior was named to the All-SEC Second Team.
Kirkpatrick entered the 2012 NFL Draft as one of the most exciting corner prospects in the class. He was drafted 17th overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, and put together a very solid eight-year stint with the team.
In 2020, the former five-star signed with the Arizona Cardinals after being released by Cincinnati, but spent just a season with the team before not being re-signed. He spent time with the 49ers ahead of the 2021 season, but was cut before the end of the year.
Across a 10-year NFL career, the Bama legend compiled 365 tackles, 72 pass deflections and 13 interceptions. While he was never named to a Pro Bowl in his time in the league, Kirkpatrick was one of the NFL's most consistent and reliable cornerbacks during his prime years in Cincinnati.
Now, Kirkpatrick is focused on helping his son navigate the same waters he once did as a high school recruit. Dre Kirkpatrick, Jr. is currently a three-star prospect in the 2024 class and holds offers from South Carolina, Marshall and UAB.
He took an unofficial visit to Alabama in June of last year and has also made unofficial trips to Ohio State and Georgia Tech.