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Alabama Football: Who wins both cornerback spots for the Crimson Tide next season?

Josh Jobe looks on the field during 2020 CFP title game
Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

The secondary should be the strength of Alabama’s defense next season.

It loses Patrick Surtain II to the National Football League; however, it returns Josh Jobe, Jordan Battle, Malachi Moore, DeMarcco Hellams, Brian Branch, and Daniel Wright among others with experience. On Wednesday, the Crimson Tide signed its highest-rated recruiting class of the Nick Saban era. Of its 27 nationally signed letters of intent, eight players are five-stars.

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Within the class, the Tide signed a lot of talent for its defensive backfield.

Spring football will provide some competition, but fall practice should tell the story. Assuming that Jobe’s spot is safe, although it is not, yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine looks at the names in line for the other cornerback spot.

Marcus Banks

Marcus Banks is entering his third year at Alabama.

A native of Houston, Texas, the former four-star was one of the best defensive back prospects in the 2019 recruiting cycle from Dekaney High School. He has played in 16 games, including nine in 2020, with most of his action coming on special teams.

The 6-foot, 180-pounder has the skills to be successful. He needs to consistently show he is the best option.

Ronald Williams Jr.

It was unfortunate what happened to Ronald Williams last year in fall camp.

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After coming over from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, he was ready to make an impact. Williams recorded 49 tackles, eight pass breakups, and four interceptions in two seasons.

He earned All-American honors in his sophomore year from the National Junior College Athletic Association. During the last two weeks of preseason camp at Alabama, Williams suffered a fractured arm and missed the early part of the season. He saw the field in three games but collected only one tackle.

Before his injury, Pete Golding told reporters that Williams had the size, speed, and physicality to be a successful cornerback in the Southeastern Conference.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, the Louisiana native has a chance to recapture what he lost.

Jalyn Armour-Davis

Alabama fans were excited when Jalyn Armour-Davis came to the Tide in the 2018 signing class.

An alumnus of St. Paul Episcopal High School in Mobile, Ala., Armour-Davis arrived with Surtain and Jobe. He suffered a knee injury before the start of the 2018 season and missed the year.

As a former four-star, he has played in 17 games since his return.

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Coach Saban raved about Armour-Davis’ capabilities upon his arrival. The 6-foot-1, 192-pounder is good with press coverage and his length frustrates wide receivers. He, like Williams, suffered from enduring an injury early at Alabama. It takes time to bounce back and sometimes, one can find itself buried on the roster. Hopefully, Armour-Davis can be impactful in his fourth season.

Other names to watch

Ga’Quincy McKinstry (5-star)

Devonta Smith (4-star)

Khyree Jackson (4-star, JUCO)

Kadarius Calloway (4-star)

Summary: This signing class will be a lot of competition.

Ga’Quincy McKinstry and Khyree Jackson are both coming to take someone’s job. McKinstry is an unbelievable athlete who will play football and basketball. Jackson, a junior college transfer, is 6-foot-4 and the Tide has not had a cornerback with that much height. As for Devonta Smith and Kadarius Calloway, both possess speed and strong ball skills. Calloway is the biggest among the four, weight-wise, measuring at 210 pounds.

Saban wants his best on the field and all four players will push at cornerback.

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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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