Alabama Spring Game 2021: Top Storylines and Prospects to WatchApril 16, 2021
Alabama Spring Game 2021: Top Storylines and Prospects to Watch
College football fans can grab an initial look at the champions when the Alabama Crimson Tide take the field for the 2021 A-Day Game on Saturday.
The intrasquad scrimmage will close out spring practice for Alabama, which needs a new starting quarterback. Much of the focus will be on Bryce Young, who handled some garbage-time reps in 2020 but is the clear favorite to start in 2021.
Young's pursuit of the No. 1 role is the main storyline of an exhibition that should be taken for what it is.
Sure, Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide coaches can use the A-Day Game to evaluate their players. Mostly, though, it's a fan-centric day meant to end the spring with a little excitement.
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Date: Saturday, April 17
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN Online
Bryce Young's Time to Shine
Last season, Mac Jones silenced any lingering talks of a quarterback competition with prized freshman Bryce Young. Jones threw for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns to just four interceptions, leading Alabama to a sixth national title in 12 years.
Now that Jones is headed for the NFL, however, Young will command the Crimson Tide offense. In scattered playing time last season, he finished 13-of-22 for 156 yards.
Young signed with Alabama as the No. 2 overall prospect and the top-rated quarterback in the 2020 class.
Bounce-Back Season for the Defense?
While it's true nobody is feeling sorry for the Tide—they won the 2020 championship, after all—they lacked a dominant defense. That's a high bar, but past Alabama teams put it there.
Despite the restlessness within a portion of the fanbase, defensive coordinator Pete Golding isn't necessarily on the hot seat. However, he's on watch. Saban himself said the Crimson Tide played "OK" defense after the season.
One scrimmage will not explain the unit's strength, but there's no doubt the defense will be monitored closely.
Prospects to Watch
Jacorey Brooks, WR
After the 2019 season, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III left for the NFL. This offseason, Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith and speedster Jaylen Waddle bolted to the pros.
Other than John Metchie III, Alabama is starting over at receiver.
As you would expect, the Tide loaded up at the position in the 2021 recruiting class. The marquee player is 5-star Jacorey Brooks, who enrolled early alongside 4-star wideouts Agiye Hall and Christian Leary. The final incoming 4-star is JoJo Earle.
Brooks has a terrific chance to contribute as a true freshman, and it's safe to say Bama fans are excited for his unofficial debut.
JC Latham and Tommy Brockermeyer, OT
In addition to Brooks, both JC Latham and Tommy Brockermeyer are eyeing immediately playing time too.
Alabama must replace three starters on the offensive line, and Evan Neal is likely shifting to left tackle. As a result, Alabama needs a new face on the right side, and the 5-star enrollees are among the leading candidates for the job.
Again, one scrimmage doesn't determine a starter. Players earn starting roles based on the entirety of their offseason work.
Still, this is the first opportunity for Latham and Brockermeyer to perform well in the ridiculously bright Alabama spotlight.
All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from NCAA.com, cfbstats.com or B/R research. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.