#2 Alabama Football 2019 Preview

Alabama Crimson Tide
Overall Rank: #2
#1 SEC
Alabama Logo
Alabama has lost just one game in six of the last eight seasons. During that stretch they have gone 58-6 in SEC play. That is absolute domination. The Crimson Tide has fallen to Clemson twice in the national title game in the last three seasons though and anything less than a national title will be disappointing.
2018 Record: 14-1, 8-0
2018 Bowl: Orange Bowl vs. Oklahoma (W 45-34)
CFP Championship vs Clemson (L 16-44)
Coach: Nick Saban (146-21 at Alabama, 237-63-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Steve Sarkisian
Defensive Coordinator: Pete Golding
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Najee Harris, RB, 783 yards
Passing: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, 3,966 yards
Receiving: Jerry Jeudy, WR, 1,315 yards
Tackles: Dylan Moses, LB, 86
Sacks: Anfernee Jennings, LB, 6.5
Interceptions: Xavier McKinney, S, 2; Shyheim Carter, LB, 2
Other Key Returnees: WR Jaylen Waddle, WR Henry Ruggs, WR DeVonta Smith, OL Jedrick Wills, OL Alex Leatherwood, DE Raekwon Davis, CB Patrick Surtain
Key Losses: RB Damien Harris, RB Josh Jacobs, QB Jalen Hurts, TE Irv Smith, OL Ross Pierschbacher, OL Jonah Williams, DL Quinnen Williams, DE Isaiah Buggs, LB Mack Wilson, LB Christian Miller, DB Deionte Thompson, DB Saivion Smith
Alabama had their most prolific offense in school history last year, tallying 522.0 yards and scoring 45.6 points per game. It could be better this year. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was second in the Heisman Trophy voting last year and the 6-1 junior is back to get that hardware in 2019. Last season Tagovailoa completed an impressive 69.0 percent of his passes for 3,966 yards and 43 touchdowns. Even more impressive is that he was intercepted just six times. Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy won the Biletnikoff Award last year after catching 68 passes for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns. Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle are also back after catching at least 42 passes in 2018. That is a lot of weapons. Najee Harris will be the new feature running back after tallying 783 yards last season. With so much potency in the passing game, Harris will find plenty of room to operate behind a talented offensive line.
As always, this will be a dominating defense. The return of defensive end Raekwon Davis was a pleasant surprise. Many thought the 6-7, 309 pound senior was going to go to the NFL. The pressure will be on freshman DJ Dale to fill in at nose tackle, but he already looks like a player who can dominate the line. At linebacker, Dylan Moses is back after recording a team high 86 tackles. Outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings spends a lot of time in the backfield, while a healthy Terrell Lewis will man the other outside linebacker spot. But it is the secondary that may be the best unit of them all. Cornerbacks Trevon Diggs and Patrick Surtain are two of the best in the country and Xavier McKinney had a superb sophomore season in which he tallied 73 tackles, ten pass breakups and two interceptions.
The Bottom Line:
Of course the SEC is never going to be easy, but Alabama should win the SEC West and make it back to the conference championship game. It may take until then for their season to get really interesting. That is when the Crimson Tide will likely face off against a very talented Georgia team. And then, most likely, it is off to the playoffs where a potential showdown with Clemson awaits. It is getting a little predictable when those two meet up in the playoffs, but it is turning into a very fun rivalry.
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 198.4 (42nd in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 323.6 (6, 2)
Total Offense: 522.0 (6, 1)
Scoring Offense: 45.6 (3, 1)
Rushing Defense: 121.3 (19, 3)
Pass Defense: 198.3 (33, 5)
Total Defense: 319.5 (16, 3)
Scoring Defense: 18.1 (12, 3)
Turnover Margin: 0.40 (34, 6)
Sacks: 3.00 (10, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.00 (8, 1)
Madness 2020 NFL Draft Rankings:
1          Tua Tagovailoa
4          Jerry Jeudy
11        Raekwon Davis
14        Dylan Moses
27        Trevon Diggs
42        Najee Harris
50        Terrell Lewis
52        Shyheim Carter
58        Henry Ruggs  
60        Anfernee Jennings
Madness 2019 Recruit Rankings:
4          Evan Neal
6          Trey Sanders  
9          Antonio Alfano
36        Pierce Quick  
43        Ishmael Sopsher
48        Jordan Battle  
58        Shane Lee
65        Justin Eboigbel
71        Amari Kight
84        Byron Young 
87        Jeffery Carter
88        DeMarcco Hellams
106      Brandon Turnage
110      Marcus Banks
114      Christian Harris
130      Kevin Harris
157      Darrian Dalcourtall
173      Braylen Ingraham
194      Taulia Tagovailoa