Alabama in the Pros

Ronnie Harrison providing life for Jaguars on defense after defeating Colts

© Douglas DeFelice - USA TODAY Sports

A berth in the playoffs is unlikely for the Jacksonville Jaguars; however, seeing some of its selections from this year’s National Football League Draft stand out is a great thing. 

In the third round, the franchise decided to a bring a Florida native back home. 

Ronnie Harrison, a former safety at the University of Alabama, was an exceptional all-around talent but he always came second when Minkah Fitzpatrick entered a conversation. One of the knocks on the 6-foot-2, 207-pounder was him being perceived as just a “box safety.”  

RELATED: Jaguars’ veteran defensive back said he “loves” Ronnie Harrison’s game

Even with him recording seven interceptions and 17 pass breakups during his three-year tenure (2015-17) with the Crimson Tide, many NFL scouts did not see Harrison as a consistent ball-hawking defender in coverage. Despite the Jaguars carrying a 4-8 record, he has a been a bright spot in the secondary and Sunday’s matchup against Indianapolis provided more evidence.  

Andrew Luck had the Colts riding a five-game win streak into Jacksonville, with an opportunity to gain some ground on the Houston Texans in the AFC South. Behind Harrison, the Jaguars blanked Indianapolis and forced Luck to attempt 52 passes in a 6-0 victory. 

The former national champion assisted Jacksonville in limiting the Colts to 265 yards offensively, 41 yards rushing and being effective five times on third down in 18 tries. 

He collected three total tackles, but Harrison’s game-changing play came late in the fourth quarter on one of two final possessions for Indianapolis. He came off the edge on fourth down with one yard to go and sacked Luck, to force a turnover. On the season, Harrison has turned in 27 total tackles – including two stops for loss with one sack. He also has two pass breakups. 

It has not been the fruitful season the Jaguars expected; nevertheless, getting production from Harrison and building around him should position the team for success next season.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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