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Alabama football's defense might be the strength of the team early on while the offense gels, and the linebacking corps will likely be the strength of the defense.

Here's a look at the linebackers as Alabama gets ready to start fall practices Friday.

Departed starters: Dylan Moses (undrafted free agent, Jacksonville Jaguars)

Returners: Christopher Allen (redshirt senior), Will Anderson Jr. (sophomore), Chris Braswell (sophomore), Jackson Bratton (sophomore), Kyle Flood Jr. (sophomore), Christian Harris (junior), Demouy Kennedy (sophomore), Shane Lee (junior), Jaylen Moody (senior), Quandarrius Robinson (sophomore), Drew Sanders (sophomore), Jordan Smith (sophomore), Bennett Whisenhunt (sophomore)

Additions: Kendrick Blackshire (freshman), Colin Bryant (freshman), Ian Jackson (freshman), Christian Johnson (freshman), Keanu Koht (freshman), Deontae Lawson (freshman), Henry To'o To'o (junior), Dallas Turner (freshman)

Analysis: Alabama's roster is filled with talent across the board, but the linebacking group might take the crown for most talent. The Crimson Tide defense features some of the nation's best at the position, and as a whole, it might have the best linebacking corps in the country. Anderson and Harris headline that group. Anderson turned in an impressive freshman season, finishing with 10.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Those efforts earned him a spot on the All-SEC second team. Allen also earned a spot on the All-SEC second team, and he will return for his redshirt senior season as a presence on the edge opposite Anderson. In the middle, Harris is set to start his third season after earning semifinalist recognition for the Butkus Award for his sophomore season with 79 total tackles. The departure of Moses leaves the spot next to him open. To'o To'o, a transfer from Tennessee this offseason, will be competing for that spot. But he sounds to have already made a strong impression the way coach Nick Saban talked about him at SEC Media Days. The veteran coach called To'o To'o one of the best defensive players in the conference while he was with the Vols. Saban added that his new linebacker can be a quarterback type guy on defense. That doesn't sound like the description of a guy who's going to spend most of his time on the sideline.

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