2010 Tide Defense To Remain Strong Despite Turnover

Jeremy EnglandContributor INovember 30, 2009

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Running back Donta Hightower #30 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks for room to run while taking on the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2008 in Athens, Georgia. Alabama defeated Georgia 41-30.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Alabama had to replace 7 out of 11 starters on offense in 2009. They will have to do the same on defense in 2010.  Maybe even more.

Conventional wisdom would have you believe that the loss of 2 All American offensive lineman, your starting quarterback, and running back would result in struggling offensively in the following year. That didn’t happen in 2009. In fact, the Crimson Tide was better in nearly every offensive statistical category.

Will that be the case for the defense in 2010? Who knows? But you can’t blame the talent, that is for certain. Over the past couple years, Nick Saban has been loading up with the best recruits in the country. Many of those on the defensive side of the ball.

Everyone knows that Nick Saban says “there is no depth chart”, but one can speculate if he did, the first group would look like this next season:

Defensive End: Jr Luther Davis

Nose Tackle: Jr Josh Chapman

Defensive End: Jr Marcel Dareus

Linebacker: *So Nico Johnson

Linebacker: *Sr Rolando Mcclain (Jerrel Harris)

Linebacker: *Jr Donta Hightower

Linebacker: Jr Courtney Upshaw

Cornerback: *Sr Kareem Jackson

Safety: *Jr Mark Barron

Safety: Jr Robby Green

Cornerback: So Dre Kirkpatrick

* Retrurning Starter from 2009

If you believe in star ratings by the numerous recruiting websites, this may be the most talented defense ever fielded at the University of Alabama. Plus, everyone of these players with the exception of Kirkpatrick either started or saw significant playing time in 2009.

Now, nobody knows how this group will perform in 2010, but most coaches would be fairly confident taking the field with these players in the lineup.