Alabama football searching for star and money starters in the secondary

Brett Hudson
Tide Sports
Alabama defensive back Jordan Battle (9) and Alabama defensive back Shyheim Carter (5) break up a pass in the end zone intended for Tennessee wide receiver Jauan Jennings (15) during the Crimson Tide's 35-13 victory in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

When Charles Kelly became Alabama’s safeties coach, he was the odd man out. He was the new one in a room full of veterans, coaching a group of starters that had starting experience before he got to campus.

The dynamic has flipped. 

Kelly enters his second year on the job with four returning  in the entire position group, all of them belonging to  sophomore Jordan Battle.

Players: Jordan Battle, redshirt junior Daniel Wright, junior Ronald Williams Jr., freshman Brian Branch, freshman Malachi Moore, sophomore DeMarcco Hellams, redshirt sophomore Jalyn Armour-Davis, redshirt sophomore Eddie Smith, freshman Kristian Story.

2019 stat: Nine of Alabama’s 17 interceptions last season came from safeties; four of them came from Jared Mayden, one of just seven SEC players to have four or more interceptions last season.

Storyline: Battle and Wright have little to threaten their spots as UA’s deep safeties, which leaves the star and money positions completely up for grabs.

Star is the fifth defensive back in nickel packages and money is the sixth defensive back in dime packages. Hellams has shown development going into his second season, but UA elected to get some immediate help at the position in pulling Williams Jr. from Hutchinson Community College; that decision was before Moore and Branch started impressing in preseason practice.

That gives UA four capable players for two spots — and that’s not including Armour-Davis, the most experienced of the group. Trimming that list will not be easy, and since none of them are seniors, the winners of the positions could be the ones UA depends on for two years or more.

Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or bhudson@tuscaloosanews.com or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson