Here's What We Know About Jack
Alabama likely would have won the national championship without the fumble caused by Eryk Anders, but it was a nervous time in the Crimson Tide camp when Texas got the ball back trailing by only 24-21 with 3:08 remaining. Instead, Anders, the Crimson Tide's jack linebacker, crunched back-up Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert and the ball popped out, recovered by Courtney Upshaw. Upshaw ordinarily was Anders' back-up, but was in the game as an outside linebacker on the side opposite Anders. Bama, of course, went on to a 37-21 victory and the Crimson Tide's 13th national championship.
Jack linebacker is something of a hybrid, often as not playing as a pass-rushing defensive end.
The man most likely to replace Anders is Upshaw. a 6-2, 263-pound junior. It was a bit of a surprise at this year's Southeastern Conference Media Days when Upshaw was selected second team All-SEC by the media. Upshaw has had some spectacular plays, including the fumble recovery in the BCS Championship Game at the Rose Bowl. He has played in 27 games at Alabama and has been involved in 37 tackles. He has also had a sack, four tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries, and broken up two passes.
In his one start, at Kentucky last year, he had an outstanding game. He had four tackles and a sack and returned a fumble (caused by Rolando McClain) 45 yards for a key touchdown at the end of the first half.
Two outstanding redshirt freshmen and a sophomore could also be in the mix at jack.
Ed Stinson (6-4, 252) spent last year on the scout team at outside linebacker. He has an explosive first step, making him particularly effective in pass rush. He was considered more likely to be a defensive end when he came out of South Dade in Homestead, Fla.
Jonathan Atchison (6-2, 228) is smaller than other candidates, but the redshirt freshman showed in his year on the scout team that he has a knack for getting into the opposing backfield.
Glenn Harbin (6-5, 260, soph) has spent two years on the scout team and has not seen game action. Originally a defensive end, he's got good pass rush skills that could be utilized at jack linebacker.
Some national and regional outlooks include an incoming freshman as a possibility at jack. C.J. Mosley, 6-2, 225, from Theodore, was ranked the nation's 15th outside linebacker prospect by Scout.com.
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BamaMagYesterday at 10:40 AM