C.J. Mosley technically isn't a starter for Alabama, but he's arguably the key to the Crimson Tide defense that will try to shut down Notre Dame in Monday Night's 2013 BCS National Championship Game.
Nick Saban bills his squad as a 3-4 team aimed at stopping the run, with four linebackers, two on the inside. In that alignment, Mosley is listed as co-starter alongside Nico Johnson, a great player as a run-stopper in his own right. However, when teams are looking to pass, and Saban employs a more conventional 4-3, Mosley is often the middle linebacker. That didn't stop him from being a consensus all-American, or the most important player on Alabama's defense - the No. 2 scoring defense in the country, behind only Notre Dame.
Mosley led the team in tackles with 99, registering seven tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions -- one returned for a touchdown -- a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery, not to mention four passes defended. He was the one who tipped the game-deciding pass in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia, sealing his team's spot in the national title game. And when the team voted on its MVP, they didn't pick one of their superstar running backs or all-everything lineman Barrett Jones -- they picked Mosley, the co-starter at middle linebacker.
The 6-foot-2, 232-pounder was a finalist for the Butkus Award for the nation's top linebacker. He could have been a top pick in this year's NFL Draft, according to Dan Kadar of SB Nation's Mocking the Draft, but the junior has already announced he'll be back for his senior year. Bill Connelly wondered who would score points for Notre Dame, a question Mosley will have a pretty big say in.
Here's a look at Mosley's play in the season opener against Michigan, a game he returned an interception for a touchdown: