Tide Must Replace Reamer At Sam

Most of the attention in Alabama football on linebacker replacement has focused on Dont'a Hightower taking over for Butkus Award winner Rolando McClain at middle linebacker. But Bama uses four linebackers, and there are other places where starters are gone. One of those is strongside linebacker.



Perhaps one of Alabama's most underrated players in the 2009 national championship season was strongside linebacker Cory Reamer. Rolando McClain rightfully gets credit for his football intelligence, but Reamer was in the same league as a "coach on the field" and leader. Reamer was also capable of moving to another position on quick notice if needed. Now Reamer has moved on to the New York Jets, where by all accounts he is doing very well.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban and his staff are filling a number of gaps. Strongside linebacker is a key position, one of the outside spots in the Tide's defense. While it's true that Bama more often than not is not in a true 3-4 defense, the strongside linebacker is frequently in the game in other alignments, including playing the star position, which is much like an additional safety.

The other outside linebacker spot, Jack, is more akin to a defensive end spot.

At the end of spring practice, it appeared that Jerrell Harris, a 6-3, 231-pound junior, was the leader at strongside linebacker.

It would be incorrect to say that Harris has had a disappointing career after only two years on campus, but it is a bit surprising that the high school star has seen action in only 16 of a possible 28 games in his first two seasons. His statistics are only six tackles, four of them last year. He had three tackles in the A-Day Game.

Chavis Williams is a 6-4, 223-pound senior who has seen action in 20 career games. He has been used as a third down pass rusher and on special teams. He has career totals of five tackles, two quarterback hurries, and one sack. He had three tackles, a sack, and a quarterback hurry in this year's A-Day Game.

Alex Watkins, 6-3, 232, is a junior who saw limited action on defense but played on special teams last year. He appeared in three games and recorded one tackle as a sophomore. He had three tackles and a sack in this year's A-Day Game.

Jonathan Atchison, 6-2, 228, hasn't been seen much as he was redshirted as a freshman in 2009. But he was visible in the A-Day Game with an impressive sack. Atchison has the speed Bama likes in its linebackers.

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