Summary: Branch Plays better than his measurables, at just under six-feet tall and 190 pounds. Savvy player who was used in the slot, where his coverage instincts are excellent, and in the box, where he is an aggressive tackler. Branch is quick, fast and strong with the ability to match up with shifty slot receivers, bigger possession receivers and pass-catching tight ends. He plays with urgency and has a high football IQ.
FRANKLY: Don’t dwell on his size. In three years as a starter at Alabama, mostly as a slot safety, Branch took on challenges of every type, from nifty slot receivers to large receivers and tight ends. Plays tough against the run, using smart angles to do the job. Branch looks worth a middle first-round pick.
HISTORY — From College Profile
2022: Started every game at the star position for the Crimson Tide ... earned first team All-America honors at defensive back from CBS Sports and ESPN.com and at the flex position by Pro Football Focus ... also selected as a second team All-American by the Associated Press ... named a second team All-SEC honoree by the AP ... recorded 90 tackles, good for third on the Tide defense ... finished second on the team with 14 tackles for loss (-56 yards), including three sacks (-20 yards) ... added seven pass breakups, two interceptions and a pair of quarterback hurries ... also returned two punts for 65 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown ... named a midseason All-American by CBS ... selected as an honorable mention preseason All-American by PFF ... earned defensive player of the week honors from the Alabama coaches for his play against ULM, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, LSU, Ole Miss, Austin Peay and Auburn ... also selected as a special teams player of the week by the Tide coaching staff for his output against the Warhawks. Utah State: Finished with five tackles against the Aggies. Texas: Recorded seven tackles, including one for loss (-2 yards) in Austin. ULM: Contributed in a big way on both defense and special teams ... registered five tackles, including one sack (-6 yards), to go with a pass breakup in the secondary ... entered at punt returner in the second half and took his lone ball 68 yards for a touchdown, the Tide's first punt return for a score since 2020. Vanderbilt: Finished with three tackles against the Commodores ... added one punt return for no gain. Arkansas: Exited the game just before half with an injury ... recorded three tackles during his time on the field. Texas A&M: Led the Tide with nine total tackles, including two for loss (-9 yards) ... also broke up a pair of passes on the night. Tennessee: Recorded nine tackles, including half a tackle for loss (-2 yards). Mississippi State: Finished with four total tackles, including 1.5 for loss (-6 yards) and one sack (-5 yards) ... also contributed two pass breakups and a quarterback hurry against the Bulldogs. LSU: Recorded nine tackles to rank second on the Tide defense ... also broke up one pass and added a quarterback pressure. Ole Miss: Was flying all over the field in Oxford ... totaled eight tackles, including a team-high tying two for loss (-6 yards) ... also added a game-saving pass breakup on the Rebels' final offensive play of the night. Austin Peay: Tied for the team lead in tackles with eight stops, including one for loss (-2 yards) ... also picked off his first pass of the season as part of Alabama's two interceptions on the day. Auburn: Recorded eight total tackles, including one for loss (-1 yard). Kansas State: Put together an impressive Sugar Bowl ... totaled a team-high four tackles for loss (-22 yards) as part of his career-high 12 stops ... also notched one sack (-9 yards) and picked off a pass.
2021: Totaled 55 tackles, including five for loss (-18 yards) and one sack (-5 yards) ... added a team-high nine pass breakups to go with a quarterback hurry and one fumble recovery ... selected as one of the defensive players of the week by the Alabama coaching staff for his play against Cincinnati. Miami: Made the start at safety in the opener ... broke up one pass and added five tackles, including one for loss (-2 yards). Mercer: Recorded one tackle against the Bears. Florida: Finished with two tackles, a quarterback hurry and one pass breakup in his start at The Swamp. Southern Miss: Totaled three tackles on the night. Ole Miss: Saw time against the Rebels but did not record any stats. Texas A&M: Led the Alabama defense with 11 tackles, including a team-high two for loss (-9 yards). Mississippi State: Recorded half a sack (-3 yards) as part of his five total tackles on the night. Tennessee: Rotated in the Tide secondary but did not record any stats. LSU: Broke up a pair of passes while adding one tackle against the Tigers. New Mexico State: Tied for the team lead in tackles with six stops while also breaking up one pass on the day. Arkansas: Totaled three tackles against the Hogs. Auburn: Got the start in the Iron Bowl, finishing with four tackles, including one for loss (-2 yards). Georgia: Broke up two passes while adding three tackles against the Bulldogs. Cincinnati: Made an impact all over the field in his start against the Bearcats ... finished with a team-high eight tackles, including half a sack (-2 yards) ... added a pair of pass breakups, part of the Tide's season-high tying six in the game. Georgia: Recovered a fumble and posted three tackles in the CFP National Championship Game.
2020: Saw time in 12 games with three starts ... totaled 27 tackles, including half a stop for loss ... added seven pass breakups and two interceptions to tie for third in the SEC in passes defensed among all freshman defenders ... also contributed one quarterback hurry to his first-year totals ... selected as a defensive player of the week for his efforts against Mississippi State. Texas A&M: Earned his first collegiate action on special teams in the home opener. Ole Miss: Saw time on special teams in Oxford. Georgia: Recorded his first career tackle with one stop on kickoff coverage. Tennessee: Continued his work on special teams while seeing significant minutes in the final quarter against the Vols ... tallied one tackle to go with a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup. Mississippi State: Earned his first career start and took advantage of the opportunity ... finished with seven tackles to rank second on the team in that category ... added half a tackle for loss and two pass breakups ... earned defensive player of the week accolades for his play on Halloween. Kentucky: Made one tackle on kickoff coverage ... also saw time on defense. Auburn: Picked off his first career pass and returned the ball 30 yards, just missing a pick-six ... added two tackles to his Iron Bowl effort. LSU: Rotated in on defense while continuing his duties on special teams. Arkansas: Recorded his second interception of the season, picking off the Razorback pass in the end zone ... added four tackles to his stat line in Fayetteville. Florida: Saw extensive minutes in the Tide secondary group while also working on special teams ... finished with four tackles against the Gators. Notre Dame: Made his second start of the season ... totaled three tackles while breaking up one pass on the day. Ohio State: Got the starting nod for a second consecutive game and the third time all season ... recorded four tackles while breaking up a season-high three passes against the Buckeyes.
High School: Rated as a four-star recruit by all major sites ... member of the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team as the 72nd-rated player overall and the No. 3 safety in the country ... the No. 79 player on the Rivals250 ... ranked 18th in his home state and the No. 21 safety prospect nationally by Rivals ... No. 101 on the ESPN300 ... ESPN also listed him as the third-rated player in the country at his position and the No. 44 overall recruit in the Southeast Region ... fifth-ranked prep safety overall and No. 90 player in the country by 247Sports ... the 10th-rated player from Georgia by both ESPN.com and 247 ... ranked as the No. 7 safety prospect and No. 11 player in Georgia on the 247Composite ... earned a spot in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas ... finished his career at Sandy Creek High School as the program's career interceptions leader ... selected as the Georgia 5A Ironman of the Year by the conference coaches as a senior, presented to the top-two way player ... named to the Fayette News' "Super 12" squad following his junior season ... earned All-County Defensive Player of the Year from his conference coaches in 2018 ... totaled 58 tackles, five interceptions and six pass breakups in that junior campaign ... also contributed at wide receiver and on special teams for the Patriots ... led by Brett Garvin at SCHS ... picked Alabama over Ohio State, Oklahoma and Tennessee.