Alabama-LSU: Roster breakdown and game predictions
Alabama and LSU are two of the best schools when it comes to recruiting and it has shown on the field as the Tigers are the top-ranked team nationally and Alabama is No. 2. The two SEC powers meet Saturday.
Here is a breakdown of each roster by star ranking. Then Rivals National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney predict the final score of the game.
The Crimson Tide have 11 former five-stars on the roster with a lot of weapons all over the field, whether it’s running back Najee Harris, receivers Jerry Jeudy and Jaylen Waddle or offensive linemen Alex Leatherwood, Evan Neal and Jedrick Wills.
Defensively, defensive end Terrell Lewis and cornerback Patrick Surtain have been big, and linebacker Dylan Moses probably would have had a monster season if not for a knee injury. Freshman running back Trey Sanders is also injured or he could have had a huge year as well. Linebacker Ben Davis has not materialized as expected.
Incredibly, there are 55 four-stars on the Alabama roster - and they are some of the best players on the team, including quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, wide receivers DeVonta Smith and Henry Ruggs and the top-two tacklers so far this season in DB Xavier McKinney and LB Shane Lee. LBs Anfernee Jennings and Christian Harris and DL Raekwon Davis, who rounds out the top five in tackles, were all four-stars as well.
Alabama has 15 three-stars and just two two-stars on the roster.
Eight former five-star players are on LSU’s roster, with the defense being in focus here. Cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., was the No. 1 prospect in the 2019 class. Linebacker Jacob Phillips is first on the team in tackles and safety JaCoby Stevens is second. Linebacker Marcel Brooks and defensive lineman Tyler Shelvin are also on that side of the ball.
There are 37 four-stars on LSU’s roster (compared to 55 for Alabama), but a bunch of prospects on both sides of the ball who could have arguably been bumped up to five-star status, including receiver Ja’Marr Chase, running back John Emery, safety Grant Delpit, maybe Damone Clark and K’Lavon Chaisson and a host of impressive offensive linemen.
What also stands out about LSU’s roster when it comes to rankings are some three-stars and even one two-star who should have been higher. Defensive end Neil Farrell is one. Quarterback Joe Burrow is definitely another. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is a third. And especially two-star wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who leads the team with 55 catches for 819 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He should have had a much higher ranking.
I’m going with Alabama in this one for the simple reason that LSU has to prove to me it can beat Nick Saban in a huge game. Alabama has the edge in many areas, especially the offensive line, and the running game will wear down the LSU defense. Burrow will get his and LSU will score points - unlike in other matchups between the teams - but Alabama will outscore the Tigers. And the running game, of all things, will be key. Tagovailoa and the receivers will get theirs, but Alabama will have a huge day on the ground as well and win this game.
Prediction: Alabama 37, LSU 27
Alabama has won the last eight meetings in this series and LSU hasn't scored more than 17 points in any of those games, three times being shutout. The majority of the early betting is on LSU, yet the line continues to climb to six points. The Crimson Tide have the star-ranking advantage in a significant way, the game is in Tuscaloosa, this is a huge statement game for Alabama to reclaim supremacy in college football. I know LSU’s offense is vastly improved, and while the Tigers are still one of the best four teams in the sport, everything is telling me to pick Alabama in this game.
Prediction: Alabama 34, LSU 24