TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — When the Butkus Award semifinalist list was released, Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson tweeted that he and running mate Dylan Moses were the best linebacker duo in the country.
It’s hard to argue with Wilson’s assessment, as he and Moses are the only teammates on the semifinalist list for the award given to the nation’s best linebacker.
“I feel like with him being young and me being older and me being able to experience playing behind Reuben (Foster) and Shaun Dion (Hamilton), it’s a lot of stuff that I can tell him and there’s a lot of stuff that we can work on together,” Wilson said. “I feel like we just have a connection to where I feel like if I’m slacking at something, he’s going to pick me up. If he’s slacking on something, I’ll pick him up. I just feel we’re the best in the country.”
Wilson and Moses get another opportunity to prove they’re the nation’s best linebacker tandem on Saturday, when No. 1 Alabama faces No. 3 LSU in Death Valley for control of the SEC West. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. on CBS.
Moses and Wilson are among 10 linebackers named to the Butkus semifinalist list. Foster (2016), C.J. Mosley (2013), Rolando McClain (2009) and Derrick Thomas (1988) are Alabama’s previous Butkus Award winners.
Wilson was dominant down the stretch for the Tide last season and has carried that late success over to his junior campaign. He has totaled 34 tackles, including 2.5 for loss (minus-5 yards) and 1 sack (minus-1 yard), while contributing 4 quarterback pressures and 3 pass breakups this season.
A versatile athlete who has worked on the inside and outside during his two seasons at Alabama, Moses has recorded 42 tackles to rank second on the team. He has totaled 7.5 tackles for loss (minus-26 yards) and 2.5 sacks (minus-17 yards) as a sophomore while adding a pass breakup, a forced fumble and a quarterback pressure in 2018.
“I’ve always known Dylan to be a great athlete from just growing up seeing him get offers in junior high and stuff like that,” Wilson said. “I knew that he had potential. He was a running back of course, then he transferred over to linebacker. The sky was the limit for him after that.
“I feel like that was the position that he needed to be playing with the type of physicality that he has and the type of instincts that he has with football. I feel like that was a great move.”
Alabama is stocked with Louisiana natives eager to put on a show against their home-state team. But Wilson has seen one teammate talking about the game a little bit more.
“Dylan. He’s ready to smash somebody,” Wilson said. “That’s where he’s from, so he’s fired up.”