The Alabama Crimson Tide will start its national championship defense on Sept. 4 in Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA., when the Tide takes on the Miami Hurricanes.

The Alabama defense is expected to be a strong point for the team but the Crimson Tide may be without one of its more prominent defenders to start the year. Redshirt senior LaBryan Ray is currently missing time with a groin injury according to Nick Saban.

“From an injury standpoint, I think LaBryan Ray has a pretty significant groin injury that he kinda got toward the end of the summer that may keep him out for a couple of weeks but hopefully we’ll get him back and he’ll be confident in his ability to play and we’ll just wait to see day-to-day how that goes," said Saban.

Ray is expected to be one of the stronger members of a big defensive line group. In 31 games he has tallied 65 tackles with five sacks and one forced fumble.

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Injuries have plagued Ray's entire career with the Crimson Tide. He suffered a foot injury in 2017 and in 2018, a lower leg injury in 2019 and an elbow injury in 2020. The former No. 1 recruit in the state of Alabama in the class of 2017 has missed 24 games in his four years on campus at the Capstone.

His absence provides more opportunities for others like Byron Young, Justin Eboigbe Jah-Marien Latham and others.

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