Who are three guys on the Alabama sideline that State fans should absolutely be aware of Saturday night?
Offense, I’d like to point out freshman WR Jalen Hale. The true freshman has played some in each game but had two phenomenal catches against Ole Miss last week. He’s been all the talk lately, and it sounds like the coaching staff wants to get him more involved and give him a bigger share of the rotation.
Defense, watch out for linebacker Jihaad Campbell. The former 5-star sounded like he was going to win a starting job this spring, but a fall injury knocked him down the depth chart a little. With starter Deontae Lawson out with an ankle sprain, Campbell stepped up last week and looked FAST. He just brought a juice to the linebacker spot that was fun to see, and we’re all excited to see more.
My X-factor is punter James Burnip. The Aussie was, honestly, really bad two years ago as a freshman, but increased up to a respectable 40 yards per punt in 2022. I was happy with that improvement and didn’t expect he’d add nearly 10 more yards per punt to his development going into his third year playing the sport. He’s now regularly booming 50-yard punts, and with Alabama’s improved defense and a spotty offense, that field position is more important than ever.