The Alabama Crimson Tide added a physical presence to the interior of their future defense Sunday, when defensive tackle Akial Byers committed to their 2017 recruiting class.
Hank South of 247Sports reported the news and included comments from Byers’ Fayetteville High School head coach, Benji Mahan, on the big decision:
The reason it’s Alabama is in a span of two or three weeks he got 15 to 20 offers from some really big-time schools. And to me the difference in Alabama and some of those is, it wasn’t just, ‘Hey we would like for you to come to our school’ and then just kind of done. Alabama not only gave him an offer, they invested in his life and built a relationship with him and his mom and his brother and with us as coaches. That to me is what separated them.
When we left Ohio State, me and him, I said what do you think and he said Alabama. I say why? He said Coach (Karl) Dunbar and Coach (Billy) Napier and that was the bottom line.
The 6’4″, 275-pound lineman is a 4-star prospect, per 247Sports’ composite rankings, and the No. 228 overall player, No. 13 defensive tackle and No. 2 recruit from Arkansas in the 2017 class.
He drew plenty of attention from the SEC, being an Arkansas native, and his home-state Arkansas Razorbacks and the Crimson Tide earned each of the predictions for his commitment in 247Sports’ “crystal ball.”
Florida State, Missouri, Michigan, Iowa State and Oklahoma were also among the programs that showed interest.
Hudl shared some highlights from Byers’ junior campaign, which showed how effective he can be as the anchor of a defensive line:
Byers’ size immediately jumps out when you study his film. It allows him to overpower his way into the backfield and stop running backs in their tracks. If he isn’t the one making the tackle, he helps stretch the play to the outside, where his teammates can corral the ball-carrier.
Byers also occupies double-teams, which frees up pass-rushing lanes for defensive ends and holes for linebackers to attack. He can create pressure on the quarterback up the middle as well, which helps him stay on the field for all three downs as more than just a force against the run.
Winning the line of scrimmage is key against power-rushing offenses that utilize the middle of the field and spread attacks that rely on timing between the quarterback and receivers. Byers will help Alabama consistently disrupt opposing offenses if he lives up to his potential in the collegiate game.
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