TUSCALOOSA—Unselfishness and versatility are two characteristics that get overlooked in conversations regarding Nick Saban’s philosophy, “The Process.” An internal war wages between the biblical text and the human psyche, due to a desire to constantly please one’s self at all times.
Alabama safety Eddie Jackson will be cashing in major deposits next year, but reasons behind the observation is more than what’s stated. His nine career interceptions and five touchdowns are a product of focus, coordination and experience handling the football. When he is not the main headline or featured image to an article, Jackson is a teacher and leader by example.
From Boyd Anderson High School (Florida) to the University of Alabama, the senior has keep a composed demeanor. He’s instilling the quality into sophomore Ronnie Harrison, while grooming Minkah Fitzpatrick to be the next instructor for future studs in the Crimson Tide’s secondary.
Fitzpatrick, who displays more talent than Jackson, was exposed to a hidden gem of the process against Arkansas. He claimed his third interception of the year in the second half, snatching a pass off the arm of Austin Allen. As Fitzpatrick turned to come out the end zone, Jackson stood front of him.
In this situation, the average senior tells an underclassman to knee the ball in the end zone for a touchback.
Instead of denying the sophomore his moment, Jackson motions Fitzpatrick from the end zone and proceeds to be a catalyst on his 100-yard touchdown run.
Jackson picked up two crucial blocks, including one where he launched his body in front of Allen—allowing Fitzpatrick to scoot into the end zone untouched. While media personnel wanted him to talk about his run, all Fitzpatrick could do was reflect on Jackson’s effort.
“Eddie kept telling me to come on out,” Fitzpatrick said.
“So I followed him to the left side and there was nothing but green grass.”
When asked about why he pointed at Austin Allen, Fitzpatrick said he wanted Jackson to go get him so that Alabama’s defense could make a play. The 6-foot, 194-pound defensive back made the play, guiding Fitzpatrick to multiple weekly honors after a 49-30 win over the Razorbacks.
Something special tends to happen when Jackson has the ball in his hands; an aspect that’s been growing since he was transitioned from cornerback to safety in the summer of 2015.
His two touchdowns (interceptions) against Georgia and Texas A&M last season helped the Tide secure a national championship. Jackson’s versatility on defense and special teams has added three more house calls to his stat sheet, including a 79-yard punt return against Tennessee.
He led the nation in interceptions (six) and return yards (230) for much of the 2015 season, according to ESPN.
Jackson’s punt return average of 25.8 yards currently sits atop this list.
He knows his shot at the National Football League is increasing with each performance, but Jackson continues to be more so focused on leading this year’s to a national championship.