Alabama’s Malachi Moore is expected to play Saturday against No. 11 Texas, while fellow defensive back Jaylen Key will be a game-time decision, sources told ESPN on Friday.
Both players left last week’s 56-7 season-opening win over Middle Tennessee State with undisclosed injuries.
Moore and Key both practiced this week, and Alabama coach Nick Saban said on his weekly radio show Thursday night that he was encouraged by their progress.
Moore plays No. 3 Alabama’s hybrid “star” position and is one of its most versatile players in the secondary. Key, a UAB transfer, started at one of the safety spots in the opener and intercepted a pass in the second quarter.
More should be known about Key’s availability Saturday ahead of the 7 p.m. kickoff in Tuscaloosa. He’s earned a reputation as one of the toughest players on the team, but Saban noted Thursday that defensive back is a hard position to play if you’re unable to move around very well. Senior Kristian Story, who replaced Key last week, would step in at safety if Key is unable to go.
Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers passed for 260 yards and three touchdowns in the Longhorns’ 37-10 season-opening win over Rice. He was knocked out of the Alabama game last year with a shoulder injury after going 9-for-12 with 134 yards in the first quarter. The Tide won 20-19 on a field goal in the final seconds.