If one was to take the pulse of the Southeastern Conference in search of the best coverage cornerbacks, results would range from Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III to LSU’s Tre’Davious White. Alabama’s defensive backs coach Mel Tucker has developed his own scheme.
A secondary that limits big plays and creates turnovers is what he and head coach Nick Saban both desire. An individual that has risen to the top of that request is senior corner Cyrus Jones. While mainstream media harps on Hargreaves, White and others, Jones remains consistent.
He started to blossom last season in his second year at cornerback, totaling 46 tackles, two forced fumbles, three interceptions, 13 pass breakups, a fumble recovery and a touchdown. Jones did all of this in 14 games, despite suffering from a torn labrum in his hip.
Former All-American safety Landon Collins took Jones under his wing in 2014, and now its Jones’ chance to return the favor to Alabama’s young secondary.
Coach Saban said Jones is Alabama’s “most seasoned” cornerback.
“I thought Cyrus played most consistent for us last year,” Saban said in Monday’s press conference. “I do think that the more a guy plays, the more experience he will gain. Cyrus has played very well for us so far this year and I think he has a good understanding of what we expect for him to do. He sets a good example in terms of how he works and what he does.”
He earned second-team All-SEC honors last season from the Associated Press; however, Jones was left off numerous preseason All-American, all-conference and award watch lists.
According to an article from Matt Zenitz of AL.com, Jones was frustrated about being left off the Bronko Nagurski Award list, the Chuck Bednarik Award list and the Jim Thorpe Award list. Jones told AL.com that “I guarantee people are going to respect me by the end of this year.”
Jones has done himself justice to start this season, collecting three tackles, two pass breakups and an interception in two games. Baltimore’s native son considers himself as a shutdown corner, and with six career interceptions to his credit, Jones will have more opportunities to prove himself.