Editor’s note: Each day between now and Alabama's date with Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship, we will review the season for a key Crimson Tide player and attempt to project what’s next for him. Today we’ll look at safety Robert Lester.
No. 37 Robert Lester
42 tackles, four interceptions, seven passes defended
Role in 2012: Lester was a Second-Team All-SEC selection by the coaches for his play at safety on the No. 1 defense in the country.
The good: The redshirt senior was the only returning starter on the defense from a year ago and his leadership cannot be understated for youngsters such as Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, Deion Belue and Vinnie Sunseri. Lester was steady throughout the season, coming up with big plays when they were needed -- including end zone interceptions against Tennessee and Mississippi State. His 42 tackles rank sixth on the team.
The bad: Lester wasn't the same without Mark Barron playing alongside him. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Alabama native played well near the line of scrimmage but struggled allowing big plays in the passing game. Georgia was able to catch Lester guessing on a few passes and Texas A&M caught the veteran out of position at times as well.
Crystal ball: It's hard not to say Lester maximized his potential at Alabama. You'll remember he was once viewed as a throw in to get Julio Jones out of Foley High. As it turns out, Lester could do more than add depth to the secondary. He's turned himself into a viable NFL prospect. While he likely won't be a high draft pick, his size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) and smarts (he ran a pro system at Alabama) should aid him at the next level. Expect Landon Collins to slide into Lester's spot next year. The former top safety in the 2012 Class will be an upgrade in terms of overall athleticism at the position.