With college football knocking on our door, The Crimson White sports staff decided to get together and give our predictions for the upcoming season. Read below how we think Alabama will fair in 2017, and some more big picture predictions.
Alabama regular season record
Matthew Speakman: 12-0
Cody Estremera: 12-0
Joe Klingbeil: 12-0
Ben Stansell: 11-1
James Ogletree: 11-1
Ehsan Kassim: 11-1
Alabama offensive player of the year
Matthew Speakman: Jalen Hurts
Alabama has so much depth at the skill positions that it is going to make Hurts’ job easier. Even though he didnt finish the season as strong as he would have hoped, he still was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year. His legs, combined with an improved passing game should allow him to reach new heights.
Cody Estremera: Calvin Ridley
Calvin Ridley showed growth in his run blocking last year. Now that Jalen Hurts has a year under his belt he will grow as a passer, which will help Ridley’s numbers.
Joe Klingbeil: Jalen Hurts
The Crimson Tide begins and ends with Jalen Hurts. The sophomore quarterback is the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Year and will only become a more productive and polished signal caller as his career continues.
Ben Stansell: Jalen Hurts
Even if his passing accuracy has only marginally improved from last year, Jalen Hurts should still rack up gaudy offensive numbers this season. With a year of experience under his belt, it’s not difficult to envision Hurts competing for national awards.
James Ogletree: Calvin Ridley
Freshman wide receiver Jerry Jeudy has drawn comparisons to Ridley from many, including Ridley himself, and Jeudy’s presence will draw attention from defenders and allow Ridley to return to his 2015 form.
Ehsan Kassim: Calvin Ridley
Ridley felt like he did not do enough in the National Championship game against Clemson and he has a Clemson poster in his room to remind him of that. I think he comes in with a chip on his shoulder and has a huge season. I think he goes over 1,000 yards receiving and solidifies himself of being a top 5-10 pick in the NFL Draft.
Alabama defensive player of the year
Matthew Speakman: Rashaan Evans
Just like Minkah Fitzpatrick, Rashaan Evans brings an unmatched versatility to what should be one of the best defenses in the country. His ability to play inside and locate ball carries will be huge, but he also has the speed to drop in coverage and rush the passer.
Cody Estremera: Minkah Fitzpatrick
There is a reason why Fitzpatrick was on eight different award watch lists this preseason. He led the Crimson Tide in interceptions last year and will again this year. Now that he is playing safety he will have more free range on the defense to fly around the field.
Joe Klingbeil: Ronnie Harrison
There is so much talent on this defense and it can be argued that the majority of it resides in the secondary. Opposing offenses should be smart enough to keep the ball away from Minkah Fitzpatrick, which leads to more opportunities for Harrison. The hard-hitting safety will make receivers nervous running across the middle, and make quarterbacks think twice before throwing his way.
Ben Stansell: Minkah Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick, one of the best defensive backs in the country, will be relied on as the leader of an absolutely loaded Alabama secondary this season. His versatility, high football IQ and big play ability make him an easy choice for defensive player of the year.
James Ogletree: Minkah Ftizpatrick
Last year, Fitzpatrick reaffirmed his status as one of the most versatile players in college football, excelling at outside cornerback, nickel cornerback and safety. Already the Alabama record-holder for most career interceptions returned for touchdowns, Fitzpatrick will continue to make plays wherever he lines up on the field.
Ehsan Kassim: Minkah Fitzpatrick
This one is pretty obvious, but Fitzpatrick has taken a bigger leadership role and is a threat to score the ball on the defensive side of ball. He has a great work ethic and the rest of the Alabama defense will follow his lead.
Matthew Speakman: Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Cody Estremera: Sam Darnold, USC
Joe Klingbeil: Sam Darnold, USC
Ben Stansell: Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
James Ogletree: Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Ehsan Kassim: Jake Browning, Washington
Source:: The Crimson White Sports