Mack Wilson, Dylan Moses primed to take over middle of Alabama defense

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Mack Wilson, Dylan Moses primed to take over middle of Alabama defense

Hannah Saad

Hannah Saad

Hannah Saad

Ben Stansell

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After showing more than just flashes of their potential last season, Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses are in position to become the leaders of Alabama’s linebacker corps next season.

In order to do so, Wilson, a junior, and Moses, a sophomore, have had to first step into the leadership void left by graduating seniors Shaun Dion Hamilton and Rashaan Evans during spring practice.

“I think both of those guys have really good ability,” coach Nick Saban said. “I think the same old theme, because it’s a theme with me and the team, is their consistency in terms of the mental energy and intensity and leadership that they show on a consistent basis. They do it at times, but it’s a little up and down.”

If Wilson and Moses do start at inside linebacker for Alabama next season, they have a chance to be a terror for opposing offenses. Coming out of high school, both Wilson and Moses were highly touted as five-star recruits, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Moses ranked as the No. 13 overall recruit in the 2017 class. Wilson was the No. 16 recruit in the 2016 class.

So far at Alabama, they have lived up to that billing, each having contributed to the Crimson Tide’s defensive success in different ways.

It did not take Wilson long to make a name for himself as a freshman in 2016, earning notoriety for the devastating hits he delivered as a member of Alabama’s special teams unit. Wilson’s role expanded even more last season when he had to fill in after Alabama’s linebackers were ravaged by the injury bug. Despite battling a foot injury himself, Wilson played in 12 games and recorded a team-high four interceptions to go along with 40 tackles.

Moses was also a beneficiary of the injuries suffered by last season’s linebacking corps, receiving action in eight games, starting in two and totaling 30 tackles before suffering an injury during Alabama’s bowl preparation. 

During the A-Day game on Saturday, Wilson will shoulder the bulk of the defensive play calling responsibilities, something he has grown used to throughout spring training.

“Mack [Wilson] has done a good job,” redshirt junior safety Deionte Thompson said. “He’s the main signal caller for our defense. So he communicates it to the front and communicates it to the back end, and we’ve been doing a pretty good job of getting the calls from him this spring and communicating it across the board.”

The linebacker group surrounding Wilson and Moses is stocked with talented veterans. On the outside, the team will have junior Terrell Lewis, senior Christian Miller, redshirt junior Anfernee Jennings and sophomore Chris Allen, who saw significant action.

“We have a great group of linebackers every year, but this year too,” Williams said. “Having Terrell (Lewis) and Christian (Miller) back, those guys are really quick off the edge. Dylan Moses is a quick guy, Mack (Wilson). You can really name off anyone in the linebacker and they are all quick off the ball, so as a tackle it’s something I really have to take into account.”