Alabama senior defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs works through a drill during a recent spring practice in Tuscaloosa. (Photo: Robert Sutton)

Alabama defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs had an impressive January, making a sack in the semifinal Sugar Bowl against Clemson and an 8-yard tackle for loss against Georgia in the national championship game.

Wanting to immediately pick up where he left off would make sense for the 6-foot-5, 287-pound senior from Ruston, La., but Buggs is fine with having to wait a few months before the 2018 season kicks off against Louisville in Orlando, Fla.

"We're setting our identity right here," Buggs said in a recent news conference in Tuscaloosa, "so we've got to come with it every day. We can't count the days. We've got to grind it out."

Alabama held its seventh spring practice Thursday with a two-hour workout in full pads.

Buggs arrived last year from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and quickly became entrenched along the Crimson Tide's defensive front. He started in 13 of Alabama's 14 games, including each of the last 12, and racked up 51 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack.


In the 45-7 whipping of Tennessee, Buggs had a team-high seven tackles while helping hold the Volunteers to 64 rushing yards.

After winning a national title in his first year with the program, Buggs had a chance to leave early for the NFL. He quickly decided that another year at Alabama would be beneficial, but he isn't about to rest on last season's success.

"We've got to get to the quarterback more this year," Buggs said. "We've got to be more disruptive, and we need to get more turnovers. I want to leave it all on the line. It's my last year."

Buggs was asked about wearing jersey No. 49, which is unique for defensive linemen, but there is no unique angle to that tale.

"A number is a number," he said. "They gave me one, and I was OK with it."

Tide land two

Alabama received two commitments for its 2019 signing class Thursday, including one from quarterback Paul Tyson of Hewitt-Trussville High in Trussville, Ala. The 6-4, 217-pound Tyson is a great-grandson of legendary Crimson Tide coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.

Tyson is a four-star prospect according to, which rates him as the nation's No. 222 prospect overall and the No. 7 pro-style quarterback.

The Tide also received a nonbinding pledge from Rashad Cheney, a 6-2, 270-pound defensive tackle from Cedar Grove High in Ellenwood, Ga. Also a four-star prospect, Cheney is the nation's No. 265 overall prospect and the No. 17 defensive tackle.

Cheney committed to Georgia earlier in the recruiting process but backed off in late January.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.