The Alabama defense has the opportunity to one of the best under Nick Saban. They return All-Americans at linebacker and in the secondary but Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy highlighted the Alabama front as the key to defense in 2022.

“OLBs Will Anderson and Dallas Turner will get most of attention but underrated front of Byron Young, D.J. Dale, & Justin Eboigbe is big reason why @AlabamaFTBL defense will be best in CFB this fall. @seniorbowl has “arrow-up” grades on all 3 senior DL,” Nagy wrote.

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Young, Dale and Eboigbe were all tabbed as four-star prospects in the 2019 recruiting class. The senior defensive linemen give the Crimson Tide depth, experience and production upfront. Last season, Alabama ranked fourth in the country in rushing defense and tackles for loss, and seventh in third down defense.

“The personality of this defense is just to be mean, play fast, hit people in the mouth,” said Anderson in March, “stop the run and get them in third down situations so we can get off the field.”

Young has improved every year on campus. The Laurel, MS native has appeared in all 41 games in his career and has seen a rise in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks in each of his three seasons. Young was a dominant player in last year’s Iron Bowl. He registered 4 total tackles, including 1.5 for loss and a key third down stop with 1:43 remaining in regulation.

Dale has appeared in 36 games for the Crimson Tide and compiled 57 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. His numbers don’t always reflect his level of production, but Dale has played a pivotal part in the stopping in the run since becoming a starter as a freshman. The Birmingham native assumed a larger role on this Alabama team in the offseason, becoming the fifth member of the Tide’s leadership council.

“DJ has always been a great leader,” said linebacker Henry To’o To’o in the spring. “He’s a set-example kind of guy. He’s going to go out and work his tail off every single day, give his best effort. So he’s kind of been huge for that D-line group, especially the whole defense. He’s an older guy, everybody looks up to him and he’s gone a great job.”

Eboigbe has 38 career games under his belt. With Phidarian Mathis and LaBryan Ray off to the NFL, Eboigbe will take on a bigger role in 2022. The 6-foot-5 and 292-pound defensive lineman registered 19 tackles, 2 pass breakups and 2 quarterback last season.

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