The Alabama Crimson Tide missed the College Football Playoff for the first time ever during the 2019 season, but there’s a realistic chance it can happen again in 2020.
The skinny: With key 2019 players departing, the Crimson Tide will not only have their work cut out replacing all that talent, but they’re going to look completely different as well. On top of that, there are some other extremely talented programs that may have an easier path to the College Football Playoff.
The big departures: The big one, of course, is Tua Tagovailoa. But the dynamic lefty isn’t the only impact player moving on from college football to the NFL this spring. Here’s a look at the other key underclassmen who are leaving the program.
Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback: A potential top-3 pick this coming April, Tagovailoa transformed the Alabama program the past two seasons from a run-oriented, defensive-minded powerhouse into an offensive juggernaut.
Terrell Lewis, EDGE: An impact defender, Lewis has outstanding pro potential.
Xavier McKinney, safety: A versatile defender who racked up six sacks, five interceptions and two touchdowns the past two seasons.
Henry Ruggs III, receiver: One of the most electric receivers in the nation the past couple of seasons, Ruggs will be a first-round pick, according to the latest mock drafts.
Jerry Jeudy, receiver: Technical, and deadly. Jeudy can make even the best defenders look silly in the open field, and he will be highly coveted by NFL teams for his polished skill.
Jedrick Wills, offensive tackle: One of the best tackles in college football, Wills has a chance to hear his name called early in the draft.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that Alabama loses a bunch of top players every year, and that Nick Saban has an outstanding track record of being able to replace that lost talent with comparable — if not better — players.
Not surprisingly, ‘Bama had the nation’s second-best recruiting class for 2020, and it was the best in the SEC, per 247 Sports.