Isaiah Buggs stands out on star-studded defensive line


CW/ Hannah Saad

Cody Estremera, Sports Editor

Isaiah Buggs has been a force to be reckoned with since he stepped foot on Alabama’s campus as an early enrollee from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He started all 13 games and finished with 51 total tackles and 1.5 sacks last year.

He returned for his senior year and has started right where he left off. The senior from Ruston, Louisiana is third on the team with 16 tackles, while leading the team with 5.5 sacks.

Against Texas A&M, Buggs finished with a career-high in sacks with 3.5, seven total tackles and two quarterback hurries.

“He really played well in this last game, and I think this last game sort of showed what he’s capable of,” coach Nick Saban said. “We’d like to see him do that on a consistent basis. This was by far his best game. I think he’s healthy, and hopefully we’ll be able to build on that and he’ll continue to have that kind of performance and production in the future.”

With his performance against the Aggies, Buggs was named SEC Co-Defensive Lineman of the Week. It was his first time being selected as an SEC player of the week.

“It was a great honor to be honored by them,” Buggs said. “Dreams come true and it’s a blessing, but I wouldn’t be able to do that without my team. It’s great, and I have all these great players around me that I get to play with and practice with each and every day.”

Buggs is a high-energy player, and it shows whenever someone makes a play on defense. He’s usually one of the players jumping around getting everyone hyped up.

“He’s an energy-starter for us,” tight end Hale Hentges said. “He obviously played very well Saturday and did a great job. He’s just a big, physical presence. Anytime you go against him in practice you know you have to buckle your chinstrap. He brings a lot of energy, a lot of juice. He’s hard to move off the ball. And he obviously can rap pretty well, as you probably heard in the stadium.”

The former No. 2 junior college player in the country has made an impression in his second year with his leadership.

One of his better examples was shown in the ESPN four-part series “Training Days: Rolling with the Tide.” Players were talking and taking their time to get to Saban’s closing remarks. Buggs rose his voice above all the others and quieted the rest of the team.

“We got too many guys talking,” Buggs said. “That’s [Saban] the man who needs to talk.”

While Buggs leads the defensive line in tackles and sacks, the line, as a whole, is one of the better groups in the country. Alongside Buggs are Quinnen Williams and Raekwon Davis.

Williams is a force on opposing offensive lines, getting into the backfield seemingly at will. He has 15 tackles and four tackles for loss. At the start of the year, Davis was ranked as the No. 8 prospect for the NFL draft by ESPN’s Mel Kiper. He has 13 tackles and a team-high five quarterback hurries.

“We hang around each other just about every day, and we feed off of each other,” Buggs said. “We always challenge each other to do each other’s best each and every day. That’s what we do, and we’ll continue to do that.”