Alabama Debuts Its First All-Black Offensive Line in School History
Alabama football has a rich history of African-American players dating back to when legendary head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant first integrated Alabama's program in 1971.
Offensive line has always a position of strength matter who was in the game. With the likes of Sylvester Croom, Chris Samuels, Andre Smith, and Jedrick Wills Jr. being featured on some of Alabama's best offensive lines throughout the years, it's a surprise that the 2021 Alabama Crimson Tide feature the schools first all-black offensive line.
Saturday night against Miami in the 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta for the first time ever, Alabama debuted its first ever all-black starting offensive line. It was wildly speculated with the official depth chart coming out on Monday. For a offensive line who lost three starters from the year before, they more than handled its own against Miami, making the way for an offense that produced 501 yards. They only allowed one sack all night long. Let's take a look at Bama's new-look o-line
Evan Neal No. 73 may very well be the best offensive lineman in the country. Neal made the move from right to left tackle in the off season replacing former starter Alex Leatherwood as he was drafted by the Las Vegas Raiders in the first round of this year's draft. Standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing in at 350, he a surprising athletic guy as shown in this video:
One on other side of the line at right tackle is Kendall Randolph. Randolph has played tight end and along the offensive line for the tide. He has now settled in his new role as the starter at right tackle very nicely. His versatility will translate very own to the NFL.
Veteran Chris Owens started and played right tackle on Saturday due to Randolph still nursing an ankle injury.
Left guard is another position along the offensive line Bama will be replacing with Deonte Brown moving on to the NFL. Its next man up at Alabama. In comes Javion Cohen, sophomore from Phenix City, AL. Cohen is off to a great start to young career and with great coaching , he could be one of the next offensive lineman in Bama's rich history.
Right guard Emil Ekiyor Jr. is back in the lineup for the tide. The redshirt junior brings experience and leadership to this talented line. He's another versatile offensive lineman Bama has it's disposal. Ekiyor can play either guard or center. He was the No. 2 center overall on the 247Composite coming out of high school in 2018.
Last but most certainly not least is the elder statesman of the line, center Chris Owens. Owens is the ultimate team guy. He has spent most of his career at Bama as a reserve lineman across the offensive line. He got his first shot at quality play time when All American center Landon Dickerson went down in the SEC Championship game last year against Florida. Now Owen is the full time starter and will lead this offensive line to greatness.
On Saturday Darrin Dalcourt stepped up and started at center with Owens shuffling out to right tackle.
This offensive line of Alabama's will down as one of the greatest. It has the right mixture of talent, leadership, and versatility. That's even true for the guys on further down the depth chart for the o-line. They have guys ready to step in and step up.