32 Days Away from Bama Kickoff: C.J. Mosley
Each day counting down to Alabama's Week 1 matchup with Utah State, I will highlight one former player whose jersey number coincides with the amount of days until the game. In honor of 32 days until kickoff, let's look at the career of one of the best linebackers in Crimson Tide history, C.J. Mosley.
C.J. Mosley was a feared member of the Crimson Tide defense from 2010-13, and helped usher in an era of dominant units for Nick Saban in the early part of his tenure at Alabama.
A native of Theodore, AL, Mosley was a four-star prospect that chose the Tide over the likes of Auburn, Arkansas, Florida State and more. Ranked as the third best at his position in the country, per 247Sports, the linebacker was one of the most sought after prospects in the nation.
In his freshman year with the Tide, Mosley played in all 13 games, finishing with 67 tackles, 1.5 TFL's, 0.5 sacks and two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns. He earned consensus Freshman All-American status, and was primed for an ever bigger sophomore season.
In 2011, Mosley and the Alabama defense were dominant. As a unit, the Tide allowed just 8.2 points per game, and limited teams to under 200 yards per contest. The Tide finished the regular season 11-1 and avenged its sole regular season loss in the title game, defeating LSU in commanding fashion, 21-0.
As a junior, Mosley again led a fierce Alabama unit. The third year linebacker compiled 107 tackles, 8.0 TFL's, 4.0 sacks and two interceptions, one of which was a pick six, and was named a First Team All-American. The Tide again made the trip to the national title game and won in convincing fashion, defeating Notre Dame 42-14.
Despite heavy interest from the NFL, Mosley opted to return for his senior season and lead yet another tough Crimson Tide defense. He finished the year with a team leading 108 tackles and won the Butkus Award on top of being named First Team All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
After an incredible Alabama career, Mosley entered the 2014 NFL Draft and was selected in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens. Throughout his tenure in Baltimore, Mosley became widely known as one of the fiercest linebackers in the entire NFL. Across five seasons, he compiled 579 tackles, 43.0 TFL's, 8.5 sacks and nine interceptions.
Mosley departed in 2019 as a free agent and signed a massive five-year, $85 million deal with the New York Jets. A groin injury sidelined him in his first season and 2020 saw the veteran linebacker opt out due to concerns over COVID-19, but 2021 was an incredible return to form season for the former Bama star. Mosley led the team in tackles with 168 was a bright spot for a struggling franchise.
In eight seasons in the NFL, Mosley has separated himself as an elite linebacker with innate skills to defend the run. He is a four-time Pro Bowler (2014, 2016-18), four-time All-Pro (2014, 2016-18) and is one of the best players to ever walk through Tuscaloosa.