BY THE NUMBERS
Landon Collins: 70 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 INT, 8 break ups
HaHa Clinton-Dix: 52 tackles, 7 TFL, 2 INT
Jarrick Williams: 40 tackles, 2 TFL, 1.0 sack
Cyrus Jones: 25 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1.0 sack, 1 INT
Deion Belue: 20 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1 INT
Vinnie Sunseri: 20 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 2 INT
Eddie Jackson: 19 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1 INT
John Fulton: 19 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 1 INT
Maurice Smith: 13 tackles, 0.5 TFL
Geno Smith: 10 tackles, 1.0 TFL
Bradley Sylve: 10 tackles
Jabriel Washington: 1 tackle
Nick Perry: 1 pass break up
THE SPRING CAST
Laurence "Hootie" Jones
ON THE WAY
Who will be the top draft pick among the current Alabama defensive backs?
THE STAR ATTRACTION
The readers of AL.com certainly like Landon Collins. It's hard to argue with those results as the former 5-star recruit lived up to the hype. Like so many, he worked his way up through special teams as a big hitter. Even as a starter at safety, Collins was the most active down-field tackler on punt and kickoff return teams.
But he'll be more important on defense in his junior year. The starting strong safety after Sunseri tore his ACL against Arkansas, Collins was very active in the secondary. He intercepted two passes including the one he ran 89 yards for a touchdown against Tennessee.
At 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, he brings the most bulk among safeties in the Alabama defense. Hits bring a little extra punch with Collins, but his speed isn't diminished. His ability to lead will also become a factor with Clinton-Dix and Sunseri going pro.
THE RISING STAR
Few players had the playing time-to-discussion piece ration quite like Eddie Jackson last year. As a true freshman, he started early-season games against Colorado State, Ole Miss and Georgia State before heading back to the bench. His grasp on the playbook appeared to be the biggest issue while he also dealt with a few nagging injuries.
But things started clicking late in the year. He began working with the first team again as Sugar Bowl preparations progressed. Jackson earned that fourth start against the Sooners in New Orleans and made 10 of his 16 freshman-year tackles. He got beat on a deep pass that set up the touchdown to put Oklahoma up two touchdowns.
Still, his long arms and speed make him the kind of cornerback Nick Saban likes to develop at Alabama. Having an offseason and spring to master the playbook will be huge for Jackson.
THE WILD CARD
The transition for cornerback to safety took about a year. Now former 5-star Geno Smith has come out the other side with a real shot at making noise at safety. He saw some playing time last year and made a huge pass breakup late in the Mississippi State game. The depth chart had him behind Clinton-Dix at free safety, so he'll figure to be the guy to beat as the spring begins.
He also shared time with Jarrick Williams at the Star position, so there are multiple opportunities. At 186 pounds, Smith could stand to bulk up a little since Clinton-Dix played the position at 208 pounds a year ago.
THE NEW GUY
There are two big-name cornerbacks in this year's class, but Tony Brown is in Tuscaloosa for the spring and Marlon Humphrey is not. So he'll have a head start, and with a 5-star reputation and track speed, Brown will have a shot to work into the rotation.
The graduation of Belue and inconsistency at the other corner could help make Brown a factor. He has the size (6-feet, 195 pounds) and the speed to make him a rising star on the Tide track team as well. Last spring, he won the Texas 4A state championship in the 110-meter hurdles after being ranked as high as the No. 2 cornerback in the country.
Will he start in Year 1? That's not easy in Alabama's complicated defense. But he'll have more time in the program than Humphrey in the friendly competition for playing time.
Alabama had six different players start games at cornerback in 2013 and just three in the 2012 national title run. Last year's defense ranked No. 26 in pass-efficiency (116.84), while the 2012 group was seventh (103.7)
BY THE NUMBERS