Alex Leatherwood, all 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds of him, is the latest in a long line of All-American offensive tackles to cycle through Alabama. Meanwhile, his Twitter profile picture is that of the 10 pounds-and-fluffy variety. Confused? Us too. Taking Leatherwood’s place on Twitter is a small cat peering at a salad in disgust. Most can identify. Leatherwood found it so humorous he picked the picture to represent himself.
In between planting defensive linemen and opening up rush lanes as the Crimson Tide’s left tackle, Leatherwood is a meme connoisseur. His mom, Delois James, receives them almost daily from her son. With over 1,000 options loaded on his phone, there’s no group chat or DM Leatherwood is afraid to slide into.
“I just have a lot for any situation, to respond to any situation,” Leatherwood told 247Sports.
Leatherwood likes pulling in his bag for the perfect meme, much like he’ll utilize different strategies to stonewall pass rushers. The preseason All-American has allowed just five pressures in 268 pass protection snaps this year, according to PFF College.
Battling on the edge is Leatherwood’s football oxygen. The mental tussle between pass rusher and tackle is what drew Leatherwood to the spot, and the position holds far more creativity than one might expect. Think of Leatherwood as more forceful tour guide than hulking bouncer. He’s scheming to position the defender where he wants him to go.
“It’s a chess match every play,” Leatherwood said. “It’s more than just the physical side. You have to play the game within the game. You have to get into the mind of the defensive end and how he thinks and what he’s trying to do and how to counter it.”
People have attempted to foil Leatherwood in his first year as Alabama’s starting left tackle with little success. A Game of the Century matchup with LSU on Saturday (2:30 p.m. CT, CBS) will hardly be the first time Leatherwood’s played the position in a high-leverage situation.