In honor of Presidents Day, and since all three of Alabama’s permanent team captains from its 2022 team turned pro this offseason, BamaOnLine takes a look at some upperclassmen that could potentially step into leadership roles and/or be captains for the Crimson Tide in 2023.
Trio of returning seniors
Three seniors decided to return for another season, with offensive lineman Darrian Dalcourt and placekicker Will Reichard taking advantage of extra years of eligibility and defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe redshirting in 2022 because of an injury. Both Dalcourt (Texas A&M) and Reichard (Auburn) served one game apiece as a captain in the regular season before the team voted on the permanent choices. All three will be the oldest players in their respective position rooms and will be guys that their teammates look to throughout the campaign.
Whoever wins the quarterback battle
With Bryce Young declaring for the NFL draft and expected to be one of the first players off the board, Alabama will have a new starting quarterback this season. But not only will the Crimson Tide have to replace Young behind center, it will need to replace his presence in the huddle, at practice and everywhere else. Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson are set to compete for the starting spot this spring and summer, and although they are young guys, whoever ends up winning the job will be the leader of the offense and could be a team captain at the season’s end.
Jase McClellan, Roydell Williams
Alabama has to replace leading rusher Jahmyr Gibbs, but it will return two seniors to lead the running back room with McClellan and Williams back for the 2023 season. The veteran duo will guide a talented, but young, stable of backs that will not only push them but benefit from their experience. Both McClellan and Williams have contributed in each of the last three years and will be at the top of the pecking order in their fourth years at UA. McClellan isn’t as vocal as Williams, at least not on the surface, but having different leadership styles can be good.
Ja’Corey Brooks, Jermaine Burton
Only three wide receivers have been named a team captain during Nick Saban’s tenure as the head coach in Tuscaloosa (Kevin Norwood, Amari Cooper, DeVonta Smith). But the Crimson Tide welcomes back its top two wideouts from the 2022 squad in Brooks and Burton. Brooks is entering his junior season and took on a leadership role this past year after John Metchie and Jameson Williams turned pro. Burton will be a senior after transferring from Georgia last spring. With so many first- and second-year players, they will be big for the receiving corps.
JC Latham, Seth McLaughlin
In addition to Dalcourt, Alabama has a couple of other veteran offensive linemen on its roster for the 2023 season. He will battle with McLaughlin – unless one of them gets work at guard in the spring – for the first-team center position, but both guys have multiple starts under their belts in the last two years and can help out all the guys in the O-line room. As for Latham, he is entering his second season as a starter and could follow in the footsteps of former tackles like Cam Robinson and Evan Neal in being voted captains by their teammates as juniors.
Chris Braswell, Deontae Lawson, Dallas Turner
Veteran linebackers like Will Anderson, Henry To’o To’o and Jaylen Moody are all gone, leaving voids to fill from both a leadership and production standpoint this offseason. While Anderson is not a player that can be easily replaced, the good news for the Tide is it has several linebackers, both outside and inside, that have first-team experience. Both Turner and Braswell should be able to speak up and provide examples for the edge rushers, while Lawson is poised to be a leader for the inside ‘backers as he likely takes over as the signal-caller.
Kool-Aid McKinstry, Malachi Moore
Alabama’s starting secondary was arguably the position group affected most by departures this offseason. Both starting safeties, one starting cornerback and the starting Star are all headed to the next level, and one of them, Jordan Battle, was a captain in 2022. There will be some new faces in the defensive backfield this fall, but the familiar ones are expected to lead. McKinstry is UA’s most experienced corner and will be a source of guidance for the young guys, while Moore is the most experienced DB and can help every member of the secondary.