Each day counting down to Alabama's Week 1 matchup with Utah State, I will highlight one former player whose jersey number coincides with the amount of days until the game. Kickoff is just 48 days away, so let's look at a recent Crimson Tide star that was a key piece of the Alabama defense, Phidarian Mathis. 

Phidarian, or Phil, Mathis joined the Crimson Tide as a freshman in 2017. Hailing from Neville High School in Monroe, LA, Mathis was the fourth ranked player in the state and chose Alabama over the likes of LSU, Arkansas, Florida and more, according to 247Sports.

After redshirting in his first year with the team, Mathis worked his way into the rotation in 2018 and saw time in 15 games, finishing the year with 18 tackles, a fumble recovery and a place on the All-SEC Freshman team.

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2019 was much of the same for the defender as he saw time mostly as a rotational player, appearing in 12 games, but starting the final two matchups of the season. The sophomore collected 27 tackles and a forced fumble and looked poised to take over following the departure of Raekwon Davis.

The next season, as a junior, Mathis did just that. The former four-star started all 10 of Alabama's games, compiling 31 tackles, 5 TFL's and 1.5 sacks, and was a key piece of the Crimson Tide front. Alabama dominated nearly every team it faced en route to the program's 18th national title.

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Despite interest from the NFL, Mathis opted to return for his senior season and put together an excellent campaign, finishing with 53 tackles, 12 TFL's and 9.0 sacks. Alabama went 13-2, losing to Georgia in the national title, but Mathis was named to the All-SEC Second Team for his play.

After entering the 2022 NFL Draft, the Monroe native was selected by the Washington Commanders in the second round, joining forces with several other former Tide stars. Heading into his rookie season, expect Mathis to bring his excellent interior pass rush skills to the table and find his way onto the field early.

Stay locked in to Tide1009.com for the countdown to Alabama football. Check out the rest of the list here.

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