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Returning starter: Deionte Thompson
Starters lost: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Anthony Averett, Ronnie Harrison, Levi Wallace


There is very little experience to build around, with the loss of all of last year’s starters as well as Tony Brown, who will be missed both for his talent and his quotability. Thompson — the only returning player in the secondary with an interception last year — started both playoff games in 2017, part of an upward arc that saw him grow into a dependable safety. Trevon Diggs has been groomed for a cornerback spot. The rest of the secondary seems wide open. The candidates include some players with limited experience: Xavier McKinney, who had a solid spring at safety; Jared Mayden, who has been working primarily as the money back; junior Shyheim Carter, who has seen duty at cornerback; sophomore Daniel Wright and redshirt freshman Kyriq McDonald. All could all contend for playing time. That leaves at least room for as many as five newcomers in the rotation.


This is the area to watch, especially early in the year against proficient passing teams like Louisville and Arkansas State. Savion Smith, a junior transfer, looked like a contributor in the spring. That still leaves four freshmen — Patrick Surtain Jr., the nation’s top defensive back recruit, as well as Jalyn Armour-Davis, Josh Jobe and Eddie Smith — in the mix.


As with most positions, there’s a new assistant coach in charge of the defensive backs with Karl Scott coming in from Texas Tech. “Graduate assistant” Nick Saban will continue to have hands-on responsibilities as well.


Youth will be served, but the talent is there to have another typically strong Alabama unit.


Alabama’s defense allowed just 5.4 yards per attempt to opposing passers last season. The Crimson Tide intercepted 19 passes and held opponents to less than 54 percent completions.


“We did lose six DBs to the NFL, it’s no secret. But these guys, what I notice about them is their hunger – their approach, the way these guys are dialed in at meetings. That’s very apparent to me so far. These guys are hungry to get out there.”
– Defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi

TideSports College Football Preview