Six players to watch during Alabama’s A-Day game

Sam MacDonald

James Benedetto

Alabama will host its annual A-Day game on April 21 at 1 p.m. CT. The scrimmage, which is free and open to the public, gives Alabama fans their first glimpse into the 2018 season. Young players will get the opportunity to show off their skills for their fans while also battling for playing time. This year, Alabama is limping into the spring game as multiple players will be held out of the game. So, players who usually are overlooked have a chance to prove themselves. 

Here are the biggest names to keep an eye on during the spring game:

DE Quinnen Williams

The redshirt sophomore started off his tenure with Alabama with a bang. Williams finished fourth on the team in tackles for loss with 6.5 and also finished with two sacks. With Raekwon Davis and Isaiah Buggs returning, Williams will most likely be in the rotation on the line.

DB Saivion Smith

The former LSU signee spent the 2017 season with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Smith was rated the No. 2 player in the 247Sports composite junior college rankings and the top defensive back. Smith played in 10 games his lone year at LSU. In his eight games at Mississippi Gulf Coast, Smith tabbed 31 tackles and two interceptions. So far this spring, Smith has been one of the starting cornerbacks, along side Trevon Diggs. 

G Joshua Casher

After only playing in 16 games during his time at Alabama, Senior Joshua Casher looks to have a breakout year. Casher took 16 snaps against Mercer and also appeared in games against Fresno State, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Tennessee. He is competing with several players, like sophomores Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Wills for a spot on the offensive line. Only one member of the starting line last year is leaving the team. The Mobile, Alabama native was a four-star prospect and was ranked the best center in the nation according to Rivals.com. 

DB Xavier McKinney

McKinney spent most of his freshman year on special teams and saw some action in the secondary.  McKinney played in 13 out of 14 games in 2017 and registered eight stops with 1.5 tackles for loss. The defensive back was a unanimous four-star prospect and was considered a top-10 safety nationally by all major recruiting outlets. For most of the spring, McKinney has been playing safety on the first team defense, next to Deionte Thompson. 

DE LaBryan Ray

The 6-foot-5, 280 pound defensive lineman saw action in six games as a freshman, but was limited down the stretch by a nagging foot injury. The Madison, Alabama native was a composite five-star prospect and was ranked the No. 1 player in the state of Alabama. He finished with five tackles, 2.5 of which were for a loss, and a secured a sack against Texas A&M. Ray seems poised to have a major impact on the A-Day game and will look to carry that momentum into the fall.    

WR DeVonta Smith

Smith will always be remembered for his catch to win the national championship against Georgia. He finished with seven receptions last year for 156 yards and three touchdowns. He was sometimes the forgotten freshman behind Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs, but he looks to make a jump this season. Since Calvin Ridley left for the draft, and Jeudy is out for the rest of the spring, this is the moment where Smith can make his move into being a main option for the Alabama passing game. He has been playing some defense during spring practice.