Laurence Jones, Battle for strong safety
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Alabama witnessed a smooth transition at strong safety from Mark Barron (2008-11) to Landon Collins. Both players along with Vinnie Sunseri produced stellar careers in Tuscaloosa. All three individuals anchored the Crimson Tide’s secondary and were members of national championship teams. Barron and Sunseri are currently in the National Football League, while Collins prepares to take the next step.
Alabama may feature a true freshman at strong safety in 2015, but not before sophomore Laurence “Hootie” Jones has a chance to shine. Jones, standing a 6-foot-2 and 221 pounds, was a consensus four-star prospect upon his arrival to Alabama.
He was the third Louisiana native in the Crimson Tide’s 2014 recruiting class (Cam Robinson, Cam Sims). Jones played cornerback at Neville High School, and helped the Tigers capture a Louisiana 4-A State Football Championship in 2014. He saw action in seven games last season, assisting on two tackles.
Jones has the size and capabilities to be productive in the secondary. He’s a natural enforcer with solid ball skills.
Defensive backs coach Mel Tucker is taking Alabama’s secondary back to basics. He’s having the players re-learn the fundamentals of the game. No position is safe, as Alabama resumes spring practice next week. Jones will have to fend off Ronnie Harrison, Jabriel Washington and Maurice Smith for the starting job. Barron to Collins was an exceptional transition. Will Jones meet Alabama’s expectations? We will have all spring and summer to find out.