The long line of great Alabama defensive backs continues as safety Eddie Jackson looks to carry the torch for the position group in 2016 as one of the top overall players in the country. Jackson, a preseason All-American after making six interceptions in 2015, has made a lot of strides since moving to safety last season, with some pegging him as the best safety in the 2017 draft class.
Making Jackson’s success even more remarkable is the fact that he came to Tuscaloosa as a three-star prospect, per 247Sports. When a program like Alabama chooses you over four-star and five-star kids, and you’re able to succeed at the level like Jackson’s, it speaks volumes about both the kid’s work ethic (he came back from a ACL injury in the spring of his sophomore year and came back to start 10 games) and the ability of the coaching staff to develop players.
Jackson should have another great year in 2016 despite the departure of Kirby Smart to Georgia, as the Crimson Tide boasts a big, athletic front seven, as per usual. He’ll definitely have opportunities to make plays on the ball early on this season with games against Southern Cal and pass-happy Western Kentucky before entering SEC play. Tilts versus Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Auburn will provide challenges for Jackson with all the different ways those offenses like to attack defenses, and his development will be key for the Tide in those match-ups.
As a safety, Jackson is an invaluable asset to Alabama’s defense with his length, athleticism, and ball skills as more and more defenses move to quarters coverage to combat the proliferation of spread offenses. Since he’s relatively new to the position, Jackson has to improve as a tackler, but the sky is certainly the limit for Jackson.