Alabama had two of its three talented cornerbacks from the 2018 signing class on the field at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., for the College Football Playoff National Championship matchup versus Clemson.
While one of the players ended its first season with All-Freshman Team honors from the Southeastern Conference, the other progressed with confidence and has earned the respect of his teammates and coaching staff as the Crimson Tide is in spring ball.
Despite the 44-16 loss to the Tigers, having Josh Jobe fill in for the injured Saivion Smith at left corner was a bright spot for Alabama. He entered off the bench and provided one pass breakup and two tackles.
The sophomore had a strong offseason program and after six days of practice, Nick Saban is noticing how the four-star gives the Tide a special look in its defensive backfield.
Jobe, a native of Miami, Fla., has lined up at corner – opposite Patrick Surtain II – during all sessions to this point in both nickel and dime formations. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder was a four-star prospect via all major recruiting sites and has the make-up to be a shutdown defender.
After collecting eight tackles in 14 games last season, Saban said Jobe is creating “depth and versatility” for a secondary that has Xavier McKinney and Shyheim Carter as leaders.
“We have a lot of confidence in Josh Jobe,” Saban said on Wednesday.
“He’s made a lot of improvements. We think he has had a pretty good spring thus far. We thought he made a lot of progress last year. I think he is much more confident this year and he’s played pretty well.”
A product of Cheshire Academy in Connecticut, the No. 117 player from the ESPN 300 is allowing the Tide to work returning senior Trevon Diggs at nickel. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder has always had speed, range and ball skills; however, confidence is something Diggs has had issues mastering.
Since returning from a foot injury, Saban said the Maryland native has gotten better in this area and with Carter (sports hernia) limited – Diggs is working at the star position.
“It gives us an opportunity to give Trevon some experience there,” Saban said on working Diggs at corner and star. “He’s becoming more confident now and I think it will give us more diversity in terms of who we can play where.”
Of course, Alabama looks to return Carter to full strength.
With him being tied for second on the team in breakups (10) last year and posting two interceptions, the idea of moving Carter to free safety would be a good one. He knows how to tract the football and came on strong down the stretch of 2018, especially in the SEC title game against Georgia.
Along with Carter, Saban wants to see consistency from Jared Mayden, Daniel Wright and Eddie Smith; nevertheless, Jobe working the corner spot gives the Tide plenty of options.
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