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December 7, 2010

Matchup: Ala. OL vs. Miss. DT

MORE ALA-MISS Players arrive | Key matchup | Five things to watch | Monday news/notes

While skill positions tend to grab the spotlight, games are won in the trenches. The Alabama offensive line faces a challenge from the defensive tackles on the Mississippi squad. Rivals.com's Chris Nee breaks down the matchup.

The players

Alabama offensive line: Reese Dismukes (Spanish Fort), DaMon Husband (Williamson), Steven Jones (Foley), Nick Lawhorn (Foley), Brandon Morgan (Hoover), Hayden Naumann (Decatur), Lance Schuffert (Prattville), C.H. Scruggs (Walker)

Mississippi defensive tackles: Justin Hamilton (Natchez), Cortez Hartzog (Gulfport), P.J. Jones (Tupelo), Jawaun Merchant (Brookhaven), Christian Ringo (Madison Central)

The breakdown

The Alabama offensive line is led by Dismukes, an Auburn commitment. Dismukes will likely end up at center in college but may move toward the outside for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. The four-star, Rivals250 prospect joins Schuffert as one of two true centers on the team.

At the guard spot, Husband will be the biggest man on the offensive line as he checks in at well over 300 pounds. The other guard spot will likely come down to Samford commit Scruggs, Jones and Morgan. One of them could move to tackle and join Lawhorn and Naumann.

The two players who will likely lead at the defensive tackle position for Mississippi are Hartzog, a Southern Miss commitment, and Jones, an uncommitted prospect with double-digit offers. Neither player is particularly a plug in the middle, as both check in around 270 pounds. Jones is the top defensive tackle in the Magnolia State. He is capable of lining up on the inside or outside and creates problems by quickly getting out of his stance and using his hands to shed the blocker. Hartzog is a player who is tough and tries to utilize brute strength instead of technique at the point of attack. Merchant and Ringo also check in around 270 pounds for the Mississippi defensive front.

The beef up front will be provided by Hamilton, who is 6-foot-3 and more than 300 pounds. Despite his girth, Hamilton possesses good athleticism and feet that should make him a pivotal player in the middle for Mississippi.



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