2014 was feast or famine for Alabama’s cornerback Eddie Jackson. He made some plays, but struggled against elite competition. His 41 tackles were good for 10th on the team last season. Jackson added six pass breakups, two forced fumbles, a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery in 11 games.
His best games were against Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU and Mississippi State.
Jackson was instrumental in Alabama’s 14-13 win over Arkansas. He was solid against the run, helping Alabama hold Arkansas to 89 yards rushing. Jackson totaled six tackles and a sack. Tennessee made its matchup against Alabama interesting in the second half, but lost 34-20. Jackson put in four tackles and a fumble recovery.
Offensive woes would strike again for Alabama in its meeting with LSU. The Crimson Tide was able to limit huge plays from LSU’s running backs, including true freshman Leonard Fournette. Alabama’s secondary held the Tigers to 76 receiving yards on eight catches. Jackson recorded five tackles, a pass breakup and a crucial interception in the second quarter. Alabama stunned LSU in Baton Rouge, La., with a 20-13 overtime win.
Alabama fans, who were aided by C-Murder, provided all the hype needed for the Crimson Tide’s contest against Mississippi State. Inside linebacker Trey DePriest got it started with a safety, but it was Alabama’s secondary that aggravated Dak Prescott. He was intercepted three times, all of which came on pivotal drives. Jackson accounted for a seven tackles (season-high) and three pass breakups. Alabama knocked off then No.1 Mississippi State, 25-20.
Jackson’s biggest task in 2014 came against Auburn. He was in charge of defending Sammie Coates, a 6’2” freak athlete at receiver. Coates consistently beat Jackson off the line of scrimmage. Jackson couldn’t jam him, and failed to stay with him on vertical routes. He totaled five tackles, but Jackson couldn’t keep Coates from reaching the endzone. He caught five passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns.
An ACL injury (knee) that occurred in the spring of 2014 may have been the reason behind Jackson’s struggles. He was viewed as one of Alabama’s acclimated cornerbacks heading into the 2014 regular season. Jackson was a pleasant surprise as a freshman in 2013.
He appeared in seven games, making four starts. Jackson totaled 19 tackles, 16 solo stops, three pass breakups, an interception and a fumble recovery. His finest moment came against Ole Miss. Jackson posted four tackles, two pass breakups and an interception in his second career start. He helped Alabama shutout Ole Miss’s high-powered offense, 25-0.
Fully healthy, Jackson enters his senior season in Tuscaloosa. His teammate, Cyrus Jones, has established himself as a primary cornerback. It’s now up to Jackson to fend off competition. Alabama returns Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey to its secondary in 2015. Five-star corners Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kendall Sheffield may redshirt next season, but will still look to push in spring practice.
Jackson, a Florida native, has two years of experience in the system. He’s got a solid frame at 6’0” and 188 pounds. Jackson plays the run well, and isn’t afraid of lowering the boom. His big hands help him jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. Jackson’s footwork and ball-skills need improvement. He has to locate and high-point the ball, as well as develop more recovery speed.