Alabama lost both its starting outside linebackers from the 2015 national championship season as both Denzel Devall and Dillon Lee have graduated. No one, though, suggests there is going to be a falloff at either strongside linebacker or Jack linebacker this season.
Moving up as likely starters on the outside are seniors who have seen plenty of successful playing time.
Ryan Anderson, 6-2, 253, is a three-year letterman who has played in 42 games, although his next start will be his first. The strongside linebacker was in on 37 tackles last year with six sacks and 12 tackles for loss, caused and recovered two fumbles, and had nine quarterback pressures.
Tim Williams, 6-4, 237, is also a three-year letterman with no previous starts in his 34 game appearances. The Jack linebacker was in on 11 sacks last season and 13 of his 19 tackles were behind the line of scrimmage. He also had four quarterback pressures and a pass break-up and this week was named to the Bednarik Award watch list as one of the nation’s outstanding defensive players.
Both Williams and Anderson are listed among the top ten outside linebackers in the nation.
According to preseason projections, there is only one team on the Alabama schedule with a top ten outside linebacker with Jalen Reeves-Maybin of Tennessee making the list. The top-ranked outside linebacker in the Southeastern Conference is Florida’s Jarrad Davis.