Alabama's vaunted defense will be without its starting middle linebacker Saturday when the Crimson Tide opens the season in Atlanta against West Virginia. Senior Trey DePriest has been suspended for what UA coach Nick Saban described as a "minor NCAA infraction" and "just a one-game deal."
DePriest has been nursing an injury in the preseason and hasn't taken full-time practice reps with the first team. As such, Saban indicated inside linebackers Reggie Ragland and Reuben Foster are better prepared to fill in. DePriest will be among the Alabama defensive starters with a chance to be drafted next year, and is arguably the Crimson Tide's most talented senior on that side of the ball. Though not considered as strong a prospect as junior safety Landon Collins, DePriest has played since he was a freshman and handles calls and checks for Alabama's defensive front.
DePriest's season debut will come in Week 2 against Florida Atlantic.