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April 3, 2013

Pagan coming into his own

TUSCALOOSA | Jeoffrey Pagan's time has come.

Former University of Alabama defensive lineman Damion Square said it plainly enough when asked about the Crimson Tide's junior defensive end at UA's Pro Day a month ago: "Jeoffrey Pagan's going to be better than Damion Square," he said.

That's a potentially NFL-bound defender who started for two national championship teams deferring to a protege who saw Square just as much as a role model.

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"Damion was like my right-hand man when he was here. He taught me just about everything I know, everything the coaches didn't, Damion taught me everything," Pagan said. "I give props to Damion because he's really helped my game a lot."

Along with Ed Stinson, Pagan is helping to lead a young group of defensive linemen charged with replacing three lost seniors.

"That just opened up doors for younger players like myself to come in and be able to help out and actually play a role. I feel like my role is actually greater than it was," Pagan said. "I have an opportunity to do something special. (But) there's no depth chart."

Pagan said Stinson, a senior, is looked upon as the old man of the defensive line group, a quiet leader who can be relied on for advice of any kind.

"He's like the father. He's like somebody we can always go to if we need help. He's just somebody that knows the game, and he's very helpful to anything we need from him," Pagan said.

Tight end Harrison Jones said Pagan is among several young defensive linemen who are proving themselves capable of larger roles this spring.

"We've got some real talented guys and guys that really work hard on the defensive line, Pagan especially," Jones said. "I see those guys stepping up and filling spot that were kind of left open last year from guys leaving the team - big team leaders like Damion Square and Jesse Williams and guys like Quinton Dial. That's going to be a big part for our team this year, is the defensive line stepping up."

According to Pagan, redshirt freshman Dalvin Tomlinson brings a unique skill set to the defensive line and is among the more exciting talents in the unit. And Tomlinson's strong suit, Pagan said, is just the area Pagan feels the biggest need for his own improvement: pass rushing.

"He's got big hands, he's big, strong, powerful, he's fast. Dalvin's definitely somebody I think is going to come in and be able to make an impact on the D-line," Pagan said. "Definitely help this team with pass rush because we struggled a little bit with the pass rush. I think Dalvin can definitely help us out in that area."

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.


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