Alabama will retain the services of junior defensive lineman Raekwon Davis for another year, as the Meridian, Miss. native announced on Twitter that he would be returning to Tuscaloosa for his senior season.
The decision is big for the Crimson Tide considering fellow starter Isaiah Buggs’ eligibility is out and redshirt sophomore Quinnen Williams is likely NFL bound, projected as a top five pick. Had Davis opted to leave it would have meant Alabama would likely be replacing all three of its starting defensive linemen when it kicks off against Duke on Aug. 31.
The All-SEC second-teamer had been a projected top 10 NFL Draft pick in some preseason mock drafts, but it was his teammate in the trenches, Quinnen Williams, that stole the show for the majority of the Tide’s 15-game stretch. Still, Davis finished the year strong, posting 53 tackles, 5.5 of which went for a loss, six quarterback pressures and 1.5 sacks.
There’s no question the soon-to-be senior, had he entered his name into the NFL Draft, would have been one of the more freakish athletes available in this year’s class. At 6-foot-7, 306 pounds, Davis is matchup nightmare that’s often drawn double teams in his time at the Capstone.
“I don’t go against too many people who have longer arms than I do,” Tide offensive tackle Jedrick Wills said of Davis earlier this year. “So, when I went up against him the first time — the first time I went up against him I was at guard because playing at tackle you’re going up against the outside linebackers most of the time — the first time he just reached out — his arms are like three inches longer than mine; he just reached out and grabbed me and pulled me. It was kind of a shock. But, yeah, he’s a freak.”
The Tide’s strength in its 2019 recruiting class is arguably the haul its bringing in on the defensive line with 5-star defensive end Antonio Alfano, the No. 28 player in the country according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite Rankings; 4-star defensive end Justin Eboigbe, the reigning Class 6A defensive player of the year in Georgia; 4-star defensive end and Tide commit Byron Young, who was a force to deal with in Mississippi this past season; 4-star South Florida standout Braylen Ingraham, who some have likened to the aforementioned Williams; and in-state bulwark DJ Dale all set to arrive by the summer. That’s not even including who Bama hopes to add in its 2019 class by February with guys like Ishmael Sopsher, the No. 1 defensive tackle in America, and 4-star defensive end and Mississippi State pledge Nathan Pickering still unsigned.
The future of Alabama’s defensive front looks to be in good hands after the Tide finished 19th in the nation in rushing defense this past season, allowing 121.27 yards per game.