- Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer
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With spring practice complete and fall camp right around the corner, TideNation's power rankings return with a look at the top 10 Alabama players heading into the offseason.
1. QB AJ McCarron (Last ranking: 2): After three trips to the White House, there's not much that fazes McCarron. Even after two interceptions in the A-Day game, there wasn't an ounce of concern. "None," in his words, and at this point in his career there shouldn't be. His championship rings, his record-breaking stats and his talent speak for themselves. There might not be a more decorated quarterback in school history by the time he hangs it up.
2. ILB C.J. Mosley (3): It's one thing for a quarterback to play with a black jersey. It's another for a linebacker to do it. But a bum shoulder wouldn't slow Mosley down. The rising senior and leading tackler from last season played all spring with a shoulder harness and a no-contact jersey, yet he found a way to contribute. On Saturday, Mosley finished with a team-high nine "tackles" and, more impressively, caused and recovered a fumble on the same play.
3. LT Cyrus Kouandjio (NR): He's the rock, the anchor to a line replacing three starters. And if you're going to start over, it's nice to have a franchise left tackle like Kouandjio. The rising junior enters the season as arguably the most prized offensive linemen in the SEC. It's only a matter of time before he declares for the NFL draft and is taken near the top of the first round, so Tide fans should enjoy him while they can.
4. RB T.J. Yeldon (7): It's almost as though Yeldon was an afterthought as many fans clung to the untapped potential of early enrollee Derrick Henry this spring. It's typical of a talented team, though, as Yeldon, only a sophomore, is already taken for granted. It was only a year ago that he was the energizing rookie making fans forget about incumbent Eddie Lacy. Unoticed or not, Yeldon is a feature back worth his weight in gold.
5. WR Amari Cooper (4): Best of luck to cornerbacks around the SEC because the next two seasons aren't going to be fun for you. Ask Alabama defenders and they'll tell you how easy it is to look foolish when you're trying to tackle Cooper. If he were on the hard court, you'd call what he does an "ankle-breaking crossover." Since he makes people miss on the gridiron instead we'll suffice to call it "special." With even more depth around him as a sophomore, it's dangerous to think what he'll be able to do when teams can't double- and triple-team him.
6. S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (NR): With so much uncertainty in the secondary, it has to feel good for the staff to see how far Clinton-Dix has come. Building off a strong finish in the national championship game, he has solidified himself as an opening day starter at safety. He's not the headhunter that Mark Barron was, but his ability to track the football is just as good. If Nick Saban can develop another every-down safety to play alongside him, the defense could be in good shape.
7. RG Anthony Steen (honorable mention): Steen didn't participate in the hype of last season's line, but his contributions to it were undeniable. As Kouandjio explained, he was the only one to complete a perfect season in 2012 by allowing no sacks and committing no penalties. Together with Kouandjio, offensive line coach Mario Cristobal has plenty to build off of this season.
8. CB Deion Belue (NR): Belue was picked on last season. There was no other way to put it as teams threw at him early and often, and were successful about 43 percent of the time. It's no wonder as he often looked a second behind or out of place. But he was a rookie then, and this year he seems to be on more firm footing. He won the Bobby Johns Defensive Back Award this spring and looks to be much more confident in Saban's system.
9. OLB Adrian Hubbard (honorable mention): It was a precariously quiet offseason for Hubbard, who finished last season with such a bang, racking up three sacks in the final three games and inserting himself into the conversation as a possible early entry to the NFL draft. Hubbard decided to stay for at least another year and returns to Tuscaloosa as the defense's most potent pass-rusher. While he didn't make much noise during the spring, failing to register a sack during A-Day while not being credited with one during any of the previous two scrimmages, he's nonetheless Alabama's best option when it comes to putting pressure on the quarterback.
10. C Ryan Kelly (NR): It should come as no surprise that Kelly won the Lineman of the A-Day Game award on Saturday. We've heard for almost a year now how talented the center is. He's the prototypical center with good size, quick feet and natural leadership instincts. Kouandjio said he's the most serious person he's ever played with, and that's saying a lot when you add up all the All-Americans he's seen come and go in Tuscaloosa.
17hSam Khan Jr.
22hCraig Haubert and Tom Luginbill