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 57 days until kickoff, let's look at one of the earliest stars of the Nick Saban era, Marcell Dareus. 

Marcell Dareus was a cornerstone member of Alabama's legendary 2008 recruiting class. Hailing from Huffman High School in Birmingham, AL where he was actually teammates with fellow Crimson Tide star Andre Smith, Dareus joined the team as a four-star recruit.

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In his freshman season with the Tide, Dareus appeared in eight games, recording four tackles and two quarterback pressures. Alabama finished the season with a top-10 defense in the nation and came just short of a berth in the national title game, losing to Florida in the SEC Championship.

As a sophomore in 2009, Dareus and the Tide took the nation by storm. Alabama went undefeated and won its first national title since 1992, defeating Texas 37-21. The Birmingham native finished the year with 33 tackles, 9 TFL's, 6.5 sacks and even a pick-six, which he nabbed in the championship game.

In his junior season, Dareus' dominance continued. The 6-foot-4, 295 lb. defensive lineman recorded 34 tackles, 11 TFL's and 4.5 sacks and was named to the All-SEC First Team.

Heading into the 2011 NFL Draft, Dareus was regarded by nearly every major draft analyst as one of the top defenders in the class and was selected accordingly, going third overall to the Buffalo Bills.

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The former four-star spent seven seasons in Buffalo, made back-to-back Pro Bowls (2013-14) and was named First Team All-Pro in 2014. After leaving the Bills, Dareus spent three seasons in Jacksonville before becoming a free agent ahead of the 2020 season.

Though Dareus has not suited up for a team since 2019, he worked out for the Baltimore Ravens this offseason and looks to be attempting a comeback.

At 32 years old, Dareus' best days of football are likely behind him. With 10 years of NFL experience though, he could certainly provide a solid veteran presence to a defensive front.

Stay locked in to Tide1009.com for the countdown to Alabama football, and check out the rest of the list here.

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Starting Alabama Quarterbacks Under Nick Saban

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