Nick Saban Gives Update on Defensive Upperclassman’s Neck Injury

Update on the status of Alabama defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe's neck injury

Getty Nick Saban provided an update on the status of Alabama defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe's neck injury (Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images)

Senior Alabama defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe has played his last game of the season due to a neck injury, according to Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. Saban commented on Eboigbe’s status while speaking to reporters on October 26.

When a reporter asked Saban whether Eboigbe, the No. 5 overall defensive lineman in the 2019 recruiting class, he delivered the news: “I don’t think so.”

Eboigbe hasn’t played since September 24. Saban accounted on October 1 that he’d been hurt and announced October 26 that he’d undergone surgery.

“I think that he had a procedure done that would enhance his opportunity to be able to play in the future but I don’t think that that’s going to come this season,” Saban said. “He’s got a neck injury that we’re having specialists look at to make sure we manage correctly. We’re not gonna allow him to play until we can get the exact, most expert plan of action for him and his future.”


Justin Eboigbe Can Return to Alabama in 2023

Even though Eboigbe is in his fourth year of eligibility, he still has a chance to return to the team in 2023 because of several reasons.

For one, an additional year of eligibility was granted to all players who were active during the 2020 season, which was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eboigbe started 12 games, including that year’s Iron Bowl against Auburn, and helped the defeated Alabama win a national championship during a season in which many players nationwide opted out.

Eboigbe also can gain another season of eligibility by taking a redshirt this season given that he cannot play due to injury. That would mean Eboigbe could return not only in 2023 but also in 2024.

He is considered to have potential for an NFL career. According to NFL Draft Buzz, Eboigbe is currently ranked No. 93 among all college players and the No. 19 among linemen, which likely would peg him as a mid-round draft prospect.


Nick Saban on His Lack of Punishment for Jermaine Burton

While many, like popular podcast host Pat McAfee, weren’t impressed by how Nick Saban handled the Jermaine Burton situation, the Crimson Tide head coach held firm on his decision not suspend the receiver in the wake of controversial video of him smacking a female Tennessee fan in the aftermath of Alabama’s loss to the Volunteers on October 15.

Saban denied the lack of discipline for Burton having an adverse effect on other members of the Tide. “It didn’t have any issue with our team,” Saban said when asked by a reporter on October 26 if not suspending Jermaine Burton sent a certain kind of message to his teammates (h/t 247Sports).

He also made a comparison of the Burton situation to disciplining children as a parent. “I think that everybody’s always looking at what you do,” Saban said. “I think the difference in what a lot of people think is, is discipline necessarily punishment? You punish your children only if you think that’s gonna change your behavior. Otherwise, you try to have them learn lessons from things that they do. And that’s basically how we look at discipline and how we try to discipline our players.”

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