After a year of supposedly “rebuilding” under Nick Saban, the Alabama football program will kick off camp without one of their key offensive stars. 

Perhaps Nick Saban misspoke. Maybe this is the actual “rebuilding” year. After all, how can we expect the Tide to dominate without Cameron Latu?

All that aside, Saban revealed Thursday that the Crimson Tide star tight end would miss a portion of camp due to an undisclosed injury. This would be a tough blow to Alabama’s offensive core as Latu is the returning leader in all three major receiving categories among Alabama’s returning tight ends.

Last year, Latu had eight touchdowns, one more than Irv Smith caught back in 2018. Additionally, Latu had 26 total catches for 410 yards. That may not seem flashy, but eight touchdowns are enough to make defenses aware of your presence.

Latu is undoubtedly worthy of the attention, especially after catching five passes for 102 yards and scoring a touchdown in the loss to Georgia in the national championship last season.

Alabama football: Cameron Latu to miss some of camp

You have to feel terrible for Cameron Latu, and having an injury right before camp is painful for any player to go through, but the Alabama Crimson Tide have weapons all across the board. There is wide receiver Jac’Corey Brooks, who will be expected to take a giant leap in the passing game, and the Alabama ground game is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Additionally, the defense will be pushed to be better, given Saban’s background and the expectations for that unit in general, given who they produced to the NFL in recent years. Most of those players are coming back and know they would not like to experience what happened last year again.

Losing Latu certainly is a hit to Alabama, and we can only hope he comes back healthy and more robust. But in the meantime, while he’s out, we can wonder if Saban will use his absence as another piece of evidence that the Crimson Tide are really in a “rebuild.”

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