ALABAMA’S EDDIE JACKSON // ADJUSTING AT SAFETY
Alabama’s junior defensive back Eddie Jackson embraced his transition from cornerback to safety during the offseason. Head coach Nick Saban mentioned to the press how Jackson and senior safety Geno Smith provide this year’s secondary with leadership, range and athleticism.
Jackson recorded 41 tackles, a sack, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception last season, yet struggled with footwork and playing against physical receivers. He was rushed back into action after a knee injury in the spring of 2014, but seemed to have regained a swagger in his step against Wisconsin last week at AT&T Stadium.
He finished second on the team in tackles with six, including one on third down.
Jackson limited Wisconsin’s receivers from yards after catches by tackling in space. He created the first turnover of the game, intercepting a pass off Badgers’ senior quarterback Joel Stave in the fourth quarter. His efforts on defense helped Alabama secure a 35-17 win over Wisconsin.
Jackson enrolled at Alabama in 2013 as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and 247 Sports.
At 6-foot, 194 pounds, Jackson played wide receiver and defensive back at Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. He caught 37 passes for 792 yards and a touchdown as a senior in 2012. On defense, Jackson recorded 66 tackles, a forced fumble and five interceptions.
He chose to attend Alabama over LSU, Florida State, Tennessee and Arkansas. Jackson battled for a starting spot at corner in 2013 and saw action in seven games, scratching four starts.
He put in 19 tackles, including 16 solo stops. Jackson had one tackle for loss, three pass breakups, a quarterback hurry, a fumble recovery and an interception. Alabama’s meeting with Ole Miss was Jackson’s best outing, as he chimed in with four total tackles, two pass breakups and an interception.

The Crimson Tide shutout the Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium 25-0.
Jackson lost some speed in his recovery process last season, yet still managed to have productive games against Florida Atlantic, Arkansas, LSU and Mississippi State.
He collected six tackles and a sack in Alabama’s 14-13 win over Arkansas. Jackson registered five total tackles, a pass breakup and an interception in the team’s 20-13 overtime victory over LSU. He came up with a season-high seven tackles and three pass breakups in the Crimson Tide’s 25-20 win over No.1-ranked Mississippi State at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The move to safety gives Jackson an opportunity to continue attacking the football and create turnovers. He won’t need elite speed; however, he must be able to track the ball and deceive quarterbacks. Jackson fits the mold of a strong safety in his ability to be solid in run support.
An area of improvement for Jackson is boxing out bigger wide receivers.
He lacks good technique in establishing position on jump ball situations. The Southeastern Conference will present him with athletic targets, such as Malachi Dupre (LSU), Josh Reynolds (Texas A&M), Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss), Malcolm Mitchell (Georgia) and De’Runnya Wilson (Miss. St.). It will be imperative for Jackson to set a tone physically and play the ball.
Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

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