The Spring Prospectus is a daily series taking a quick look at each position group before UA beings spring practice. This list of position groups will be updated with links as each one posts: quarterback, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, inside linebackers, outside linebackers, safeties and special teams.
When assessing its cornerback position, the University of Alabama did something it only does when it determines it needs immediate help: signs a junior college player.
“If you recruit a junior college guy, that guy needs to play,” UA coach Nick Saban said.
Ronald Williams Jr. is on campus after signing out of Hutchinson Community College, getting to UA in time for the beginning of spring practice on Friday. He is part the cornerback position that will be an intriguing one both in personnel usage and alignment of that personnel.
Top returners: Patrick Surtain II (tied for the team lead with eight pass breakups).
Losses: Trevon Diggs (tied Surtain for the team lead in pass breakups), Scooby Carter (transfer portal), Nigel Knott (transfer portal).
Returning depth: Josh Jobe, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Brandon Turnage and Marcus Banks.
Early enrollees: Williams (four-star, top 15 junior college prospect in the nation) and Jahquez Robinson (three-star from Jacksonville, Florida).
Surtain II is a returning starter, Jobe is the one who stepped in when Diggs skipped the Citrus Bowl and Williams Jr. was brought to UA to satisfy an immediate need. If nothing happens to change that status, it is likely those three will be the two starting cornerbacks and the starting Star. Surtain II spent a good bit of last preseason training to play Star and Williams has played the position in the past, so either could comfortably take the job.
If any of them fails to live up their expected performance, the next mane in line is likely Armour-Davis, but spring will sort out that pecking order among him, Turnage, Banks and Robinson. The competition used to be more crowded before Knott’s and Carter’s defections.
Robinson is not your typical early enrollee: he got out of Sandalwood High School early enough to participate in the final week of on-campus bowl practices before the team left for Orlando and the Citrus Bowl.