Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Malachi Moore is the player leading Alabama into its new era

CW / Riley Thompson
Alabama safety Malachi Moore (#13) sets up before a practice drill.

On Jan. 10, 2024, Nick Saban called a team meeting and announced his retirement from football. The team and the entire football world were soon in disarray. 

Adding to the team’s sorrows, the retirement triggered a 30-day transfer portal window for the Crimson Tide. Over 10 players eventually left the program during this window.  

However, just a day after Saban’s retirement, when athletic director Greg Bryne and the rest of Alabama’s athletic department were still in the midst of an unprecedented coaching search, graduate student safety Malachi Moore appeased the Crimson Tide fan base, announcing his return to the program.  

It was not just Moore’s announcement that served as a rallying cry to the fanbase, but a three-second clip from the hype video posted to announce his return. 

“If they ain’t wearing crimson, f— ’em” has evolved into a motto among Crimson Tide fans. 

Moore’s “if they ain’t wearing crimson” mentality helped muster the team’s leaders, the 60-plus players who elected to stay with the Crimson Tide and the entire fan base of Alabama football. 

 The permanent team captain was front and center for head coach Kalen DeBoer’s first team meeting with the program, just after the former Washington coach landed at Tuscaloosa National Airport.  

“There’s a lot of new changes,” Moore said. “Coach Saban left a great legacy here, but Coach DeBoer, coming here and being man enough to come up here after Coach Saban and kind of take on this job head-on, it’s been really great. He’s been bringing a lot of great new energy into the atmosphere and a lot of new ideas.” 

The whirlwind around Saban’s retirement and DeBoer’s hiring seems like a lot, but it’s just been another stepping stone in Moore’s Alabama career. The Trussville, Alabama, native has seen it all through his five years with the program.  

Committing to the Crimson Tide as a four-star prospect out of Hewitt-Trussville High School, Moore quickly earned a crucial role in the program. In 2020, Moore started 11 games at Saban’s signature star position. In his freshman season, he totaled 44 tackles and led the team with four forced turnovers (three interceptions and one fumble). Moore was selected to the All-SEC freshman team and earned second-team All-SEC honors. 

Moore’s freshman season wasn’t all sunshine, though. He suffered a back injury late in the season and was forced to sit out of the College Football Playoff, where the Crimson Tide would wrap up a perfect 15-0 season with a 52-24 win over Ohio State in the national championship. 

In Moore’s sophomore season, he still started at the star position and remained healthy through all 15 games, seeing time in each, but he didn’t put up the same production as his freshman year as he was still hampered by injury.  

In his junior season, Moore was pushed down the depth chart slightly, as the emergence of Brian Branch in 2021 was strong enough to push the future second-round draft pick into the star position, the role that Moore thrived in during his freshman season. As a rotational player in the 2022 season, Moore totaled 31 tackles and five pass breakups for the Crimson Tide.  

More could have opted to enter the NFL draft in 2023, as he was receiving considerable buzz to be a midround pick; however, believing in the coaching staff’s vision, the Alabama native returned for his senior season. 

In his fourth year with the program, Moore returned to the form he was in his freshman season. Moore moved from star to safety and finished the season with a career-high 52 tackles and one interception. However, his senior season was once again plagued with injuries. In the opening game of last season against Middle Tennessee, Moore left early after tweaking his ankle. Moore recovered in time to play the following week against Texas; however, later in the season, he suffered another ankle injury against Texas A&M, which forced him to miss Alabama’s Week 7 matchup against Arkansas. 

As Moore transitions into his final season with the Crimson Tide, he once again finds himself embarking on another plot twist in his career. Saban’s retirement marks the end of a 16-year era filled with championships and first-round picks. However, DeBoer’s arrival has generated buzz and excitement around Tuscaloosa, with Moore as a seasoned leader at the forefront of the transition.  

One of DeBoer’s staffers, new defensive coordinator Kane Wommack, said Moore’s leadership has been key thus far throughout his short tenure in Tuscaloosa. 

“Malachi Moore is an unbelievable professional,” Wommack said. “He’s not satisfied with where he is, and he’s done a tremendous job as a football player. We’re really excited about what he’ll bring from a leadership standpoint, especially with these young defensive backs that are very talented, but they need that leadership, and they need that experience to be able to win the play.” 

Moore’s presence in Tuscaloosa is significant entering the upcoming season as the Crimson Tide returned only five defensive backs from the previous roster. 

One of those returnees, cornerback Jahlil Hurley, said that Moore was a key factor in his decision to return and has been a reliable source of information and encouragement this spring. 

“We were both here last year; we both played for Coach Saban,” Hurley said. “If I need something, I know I can go to Malachi. If I went to another school, I would have to rebuild those relationships.” 

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