- Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer
During the summer, TideNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Alabama roster -- excluding the Tide's 2013 recruiting class -- in our Crimson Countdown series. Starting with No. 1 Dee Hart, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Brandon Ivory.
No. 33 Trey DePriest
Expectations for 2013: C.J. Mosley will see his role expand given Nico Johnson's departure and so will DePriest, who started 13 games for the Crimson Tide in 2012 yet shared duties in what amounted to a three-man rotation at inside linebacker. DePriest ended the season with 59 tackles last season, and he will likely be asked to do even more in 2013. The pressure is already on as NFL scouts begin to look harder at the Tide's second-leading tackler.
Best-case scenario: At 6-foot-2 and 242 pounds, DePriest has the ideal dimensions to play at the next level. ESPN draft insider Mel Kiper Jr. already ranks the junior as the 39th-best prospect on his first 2014 Big Board. With a strong season, he could see that number rise into the first round where the choice of whether or not to leave school early becomes difficult given Alabama's track record of supporting players with first-round grades.
Worst-case scenario: DePriest saw his spring end early because of a stress fracture to his right foot, and while coach Nick Saban insisted that the surgery to repair it was more precautionary and to "go ahead and fix it before it got bad," it's still hard to overlook what it could mean moving forward. After all, durability issues often have small beginnings. Should his injury linger into the fall, it could mean more opportunity for Reggie Ragland, who is likely to be the primary backup at inside linebacker this season.
Future impact: Should DePriest remain a second-round prospect or lower, he'll likely return to the Tide as a senior in 2014, which would be good news for a group of linebackers that will lose Mosley for sure and could also see starting outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard take off for the NFL. If DePriest does leave, Alabama won't be in horrible shape, though, as a strong 2013 signing class starts to take shape with commitments from linebackers Shaun Dion Hamilton and Zach Whitley Jr.
4dEdward Aschoff and Alex Scarborough
4dAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf