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18 for 18: How soon will Patrick Surtain Jr. make an impact?

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Alabama is set to take part in SEC Media Days on July 18, marking the unofficial start to the Crimson Tide’s 2018 season. Before head coach Nick Saban or any of the Alabama players take the podium at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, BamaInsider.com will pass the time counting down 18 important questions as the Crimson Tide looks to repeat as champions and claim an 18th national title this season.

How soon will Patrick Surtain Jr. make an impact?

How do you replace a player like Minkah Fitzpatrick? For starters, it helps to have a five-star freshman phenom waiting in the wings.

Before we get started, let’s make one thing clear: no one on Alabama’s roster is going to step in and replace Fitzpatrick. Last year, the All-American defensive back became just the third player in NCAA history to win both the Bednarik and Thorpe awards and helped the Crimson Tide by filling in at almost every position in the secondary. An Alabama team needing to replace its top six defensive backs doesn’t have a ready-made replacement for that. No team does.

However, some believe the Crimson Tide might have something close.

According to a source close to the team, freshman Patrick Surtain Jr. was one of the most impressive performers during Alabama’s summer workouts last month. Surtain, the son of three-time Pro Bowl corner Patrick Surtain, was even referred to as “Minkah 2.0,” due to his ability to play at several spots across the secondary.

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