In a year where Alabama has some of its important leaders on both sides of the ball, one player on defense has begun to step into that role, according to head coach Nick Saban.

"We added DJ Dale to the leadership group because he's emerged as a leader in the offseason program."

Alabama retained a few of its leaders on defense such as linebacker Henry To'o To'o and safety Jordan Battle, but after losing Phidarian Mathis on the interior of the defensive line, it appears Dale has stepped up in that area in the eyes of the coaching staff.

Dale, who is a Birmingham native, was eligible to enter the NFL Draft after this past season, but elected to come back for his senior year instead, citing "unfinished business" to take care of in 2022.

He will undoubtedly play a huge role on the defense on the field in 2022, but now it seems as if his voice in the locker room carries a lot of weight as well.

Dale returned from a late season injury to start in the SEC Championship game where he was a key piece, recording four tackles including one for a loss, as well as starting both playoff games, tallying a sack in the Cotton Bowl against Cincinnati and two tackles in the national championship.

Crimson Tide fans will certainly be hopeful that Dale's "unfinished business" in 2022 concludes in a second championship for him in his time at Alabama.

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