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, cornerbacks and special teams.
One of Alabama’s starting safeties spent a week in Mobile for the Senior Bowl. The other one, and the Star that started alongside him, went to the NFL Combine.
That being the case, UA clearly has a lot to replace at the back of its defense, a process that begins Friday with the beginning of spring practice. The
Top returners: Jordan Battle (saw time as a a deep safety in Dime packages, tallying 30 tackles, an interception and a pass breakup).
Losses: Xavier McKinney (led the team in tackles and forced fumbles), Jared Mayden (led team with four interceptions) and Shyheim Carter (second on the team with seven pass breakups).
Returning depth: Daniel Wright, DeMarcco Hellams and Joshua Robinson.
Early enrollees: None.
The wild card that is not mentioned above: cornerback Patrick Surtain II. Surtain started at outside corner last season, but was considered an option at Star before UA ultimately chose to use him at corner and Surtain II. It’s possible UA does it again for the full season in 2020, and the same could be done with the cornerback addition out of junior college, Ronald Williams III.
That may be UA’s best option since the two returners with the most experience — Battle and Wright — got that experience at deep safety. They are the heir apparents for McKinney and Mayden at deep safety, so if Hellams and Robinson are to see significant snaps in 2020, Star is likely their best bet. Mayden was complimentary of both Hellams and Robinson after the season.