Alabama’s 2013 recruiting class received a major boost with the signing of 4-star defensive tackle Dee Liner, per Mark McCarter of al.com.
Considering the Tide’s program has long been lauded as a team that plays a physical brand of football, adding the 6’2”, 277-pound in-state star will give Nick Saban another valuable piece to help replenish a defensive line that loses three of its top contributors from last season.
What makes Liner a valuable piece to the Tide’s incoming class is his ability to play at of the three any of the three spots in Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart’s three-man defensive front.
While nose guard may be his final home, the fact that he is capable of sliding over and playing defensive end is a significant advantage in his quest to earn playing time in his freshman season.
The one-time Auburn commitment joins fellow 4-star defensive tackle Darius Paige in representing the Tide’s defensive line class—with 5-star Virginia native Jonathan Allen potentially landing as a defensive end in Tuscaloosa as well.
Picking up big-time prospects on the defensive line is huge for a team that prides itself on stopping the run and controlling the action in the trenches.
In fact, Alabama has led the nation in run defense each of the last two seasons and has finished in the top 10 nationally in that category every season since 2008.
With those dominant standards as the benchmark every season, Saban and his staff have mastered the art of getting versatile athletes up front and molding them into players that are equally adept at holding up against the run and getting after the passer.
On the heels of adding four talented defensive linemen in the 2012 class (three of which redshirted last season), the additions of Paige and Liner gives the Tide one of the nation’s youngest and most talented crop of defensive linemen.
While the linebackers and the secondary units at Alabama have been stacked with All-Americans and first-round draft choices under Saban, the defense’s foundation has always been anchored with its strength on the line.
With Alabama’s last two national title-winning clubs rooted in success up front, adding a freakish talent like Liner reinforces a front wall that should remain one of the nation’s most dominant units for the foreseeable future.