Alabama’s senior cornerback Cyrus Jones will likely miss spring practice, due to a hip injury. His experience and performance on the field last season could still lock him into a primary role. Jones totaled 46 tackles, three interceptions, 13 pass breakups (team-high), two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 14 games. Eddie Jackson, a junior, is projected as the team’s second corner, but he will have to fend off sophomores Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey.
Tony Brown, who stands at 6-foot-0 and 198 pounds, saw action in 13 games as a freshman in 2014. He put in 10 tackles and a pass breakup. Alabama’s meeting with Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., was Brown’s best outing. He accounted for four tackles, a pass breakup and a blocked extra point. Brown is a secure tackler with solid ball skills. He possesses both top-end and recovery speed. Brown has the potential to be a lockdown cornerback.
Marlon Humphrey, standing at 6-foot-1 and 186 pounds, looks to write his own chapter as a legend at the University of Alabama. Humphrey’s father, Bobby, was a dominant running back in his tenure with the Crimson Tide (1985-88). He recorded 3,420 rushing yards and 40 total touchdowns. Humphrey was named to the College Football All-America Team in 1986-1987. Marlon Humphrey redshirted in 2014, but like Brown he has size and ball skills. He has speed, balance, footwork and hands. Humphrey enjoys jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage.
A former five-star prospect, Tony Brown is a product of Beaumont, Texas. He was a marquee name at Ozen High School, collecting 191 tackles, 31 pass breakups and four interceptions in his career. He was one of few players in Alabama’s 2014 recruiting class that enrolled early.
Marlon Humphrey was a five-star recruit from Hoover, Ala. He displayed athleticism and solid coverage skills with the Hoover Buccaneers. Humphrey chimed in with 77 tackles, 31 pass breakups and 13 interceptions (three returned for touchdowns) in his tenure.
Brown and Humphrey are two-sport athletes. Both dominated football and track in high school and look to do the same at Alabama. Brown excelled in the 60-meter hurdles during an indoor event on Feb. 14, 2014. He was clocked at 7.83 seconds, 7.92 seconds and 7.95 seconds on all three of his attempts. His efforts placed him in the top 10 in the history books.
Track helps both players train for football, but Brown and Humphrey want to see more field time in 2015. Both individuals are five-star athletes that have tremendous upside. Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban wants his cornerbacks to have experience and technique. Eddie Jackson has the experience, but his technique is a working progress. Brown and Humphrey both have solid technique; an opportunity is what they seek. Spring practice and summer workouts will tell how far both have come.