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Friday, August 2, 2013
Crimson Countdown: Brandon Ivory

By Alex Scarborough

Alabama fumble recovery
Brandon Ivory (right, then wearing No. 62) will be the anchor of the Alabama defensive line in 2013.
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. 99 Brandon Ivory
Redshirt junior defensive lineman

Expectations for 2013: Ivory has seen his role on the defense steadily increase since his arrival at Alabama in 2010. The former three-star prospect redshirted his first season, played four games the next and then took a big step forward last season when he appeared in 13 of the Tide's 14 games and even made a start against Western Kentucky, recovering a fumble and forcing a quarterback hurry. And now that former starting nose guard Jesse Williams is in camp with the Seattle Seahawks, Ivory is projected to become the full-time starter there in 2013, the centerpiece of a defensive line that will feature Jeoffrey Pagan and Ed Stinson.

Best-case scenario: At 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds, Ivory is the perfect size for a nose guard in coach Nick Saban's defense. While he might not be the most athletic defender on the field, he can certainly eat up space and take on multiple blockers, plugging running lanes and freeing his teammates to make plays in the backfield. As with any nose guard in a 3-4 scheme, Ivory's success won't be defined by the tackles he makes, but rather by the success of the defense as a whole.

Worst-case scenario: Ivory should watch his tail, though, as Darren Lake continues to make strides as his backup. The true sophomore is a raw talent with a high developmental ceiling. Coming from a small program out of high school, Lake was behind both in terms of physical maturity and defensive understanding a year ago. As he continues to redefine his 324-pound frame and learn the finer points of the game, Lake should be in position to battle Ivory for repetitions.

Future impact: The nose guard position won't get any less competitive as a pair of incoming freshmen had better learn the ropes in Tuscaloosa. True freshmen A'Shawn Robinson, a 320-pound prospect out of Texas, and Darius Paige, a 314-pound lineman from South Alabama, are both four-star recruits who will likely push for playing time in the coming years.