Alabama Upperclassman Linebacker ‘Running Out of Chances’

Upperclassman linebacker Chris Braswell, who was part of the 2020 Alabama recruiting class, is running out of chances according to Bleacher Report’s Brad Shepard.

“There’s no shame in not cracking Alabama’s starting lineup considering how much talent head coach Nick Saban cycles in year after year,” Shepard prefaced before saying, “But edge-rusher Chris Braswell, the No. 19 overall recruit from the 2020 class, likely expected more.”

Braswell has just 33 tackles through the first three years of his collegiate career in Tuscaloosa, the first of which he took a redshirt during the last Crimson Tide College Football Playoff National Championship season. Shepard, though, sees a perfect storm of preparation and opportunity giving him the chance to change the narrative in 2023.

“This year, with Will Anderson Jr. off to the NFL, Braswell has a clearer path to start at the “Jack” outside linebacker spot,” Shepard wrote. “He has bulked up to 6’3″ and 255 pounds, so he is physically ready to lead.”

Shepard has no doubt Braswell has what it takes to live up to expectations this upcoming fall. “Braswell is the type of player whom Saban has watched blossom throughout his tenure at Alabama,” Shepard wrote. “Some guys may be slower to break out or are blocked by elite players, but they prove to be top-tier stars once they get on the field. Braswell will line up opposite Dallas Turner and should form a fearsome duo that could wreak havoc quarterbacks.”

Chris Braswell Could Leave Alabama For the NFL in 2024

Braswell has up to three years of eligibility left given his redshirt freshman season and the fact that everyone who played during the 2020 season is eligible for an extra season.

Shepard believes Braswell could ultimately end up in the NFL, though.

“Although he’s listed as a senior on Alabama’s roster, Braswell could play a few more seasons in Tuscaloosa,” Shepard prefaced before saying, “But even with all of the exciting, young edge-rushers and outside linebackers on Alabama’s roster, Braswell could also boom this year and head to the NFL.”

Trey Sanders Could ‘Resurrect Career’ With TCU

Another member of Alabama’s Class of 2020, Trey Sanders, could also be running out of chances. Sanders, unlike Braswell, though, won’t be looking to reach his potential under new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees after his January 5 transfer to TCU.

Shepard believes that the departure of two of the College Football Playoff runner-up’s running backs could open the door for Sanders in Fort Worth. “Sanders has a prime opportunity to be firmly in the Horned Frogs’ rotation. Leading rushers Kendre Miller and Emari Demercado have both declared for the NFL draft, which means plenty of reps are available. Can Sanders be enough of a threat to prove he’s an every-down back? Emani Bailey should get some run this year for the Frogs as well, and with so many key pieces gone from last year’s national runner-up team, head coach Sonny Dykes has to find playmakers.”

Shepard believes that the IMG Academy product would have the chance to “resurrect” his career with the Horned Frogs.

“Sanders should have every opportunity to prove he belongs in TCU’s backfield rotation. It would be a great story if he can resurrect his career in Fort Worth,” Shepard wrote.

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