Jaylen Moody Ascending Into Larger Role on Defense
We are now ten practices into spring camp, and now is around the time when Alabama head coach Nick Saban expects to see improvement not only as a team, but individual development as well.
With so many starting spots up for grabs, players need to stand out and understand the fact that at Alabama, whatever you did last year won't do you any good this year.
One of the reasons Alabama is able to remain so dominant year after year is the outstanding depth they develop through recruiting, which leads to them having extremely talented players up and down the roster, ready and eager to fill the holes that the NFL Draft leaves the Tide with every year.
For Jaylen Moody, who describes himself as someone who "bleeds crimson", it has been a long wait for this moment.
Even in his recruiting process, Moody had to wait for Alabama. Coach Saban didn't offer Moody a scholarship until late in the 2018 cycle when a need at linebacker opened up. And when Alabama called, Moody did not hesitate.
Since then, in his three years in Tuscaloosa, Moody has been a force on special teams, but has seen very limited time on defense in a very deep linebacker rotation.
When Christian Harris was injured during the 2020 regular season finale at Arkansas, it was Moody who stepped up in his place. Moody has encapsulated the idea of getting better every day and staying ready for his name to be called, and the results paid dividends against the Razorbacks.
In that game, Moody tied the team lead with seven tackles and also was a factor on two turnovers, both forcing and recovering a fumble. For his efforts, Moody was recognized as Alabama's defensive player of the week.
Moody enters spring camp finding himself in a position he has never found himself in at this point of the year.
With the departure of Dylan Moses, Alabama has a need at inside linebacker and it appears that Moody is in line to take it.
"He has been a very positive guy on our team, a core player on special teams, he has a great attitude and plays with a lot of energy. And now he has an opportunity to start and he is certainly taking advantage of that. So we are happy that he is here and he is certainly doing a good job for us", said coach Saban in his media availability Wednesday evening.
Headed into 2021, Moody will look to continue to build chemistry with fellow inside linebacker Christian Harris, someone who Moody describes as a close friend.
Although Harris saw time much earlier on in his college career than Moody, Moody now finds himself in the position of being a veteran presence in the linebacker room, and likely to play side by side with Harris.
It will be critical for both Moody and Harris to continue to develop not just as individual players, but to develop as an inside linebacker pairing as well.
Coach Saban has always emphasized developing as a player while waiting for your time to come, and Moody is the perfect example of exactly that.
Even though he has not seen much time on defense in his three years in Tuscaloosa, Jaylen Moody has bought into coach Saban's program as much as anyone, and it appears that the results could pay dividends for him. But as the season fast approaches, only time will tell just how much everything Moody has invested into the program will pay off.
2021 Alabama Crimson Tide Recruiting Class Signees