Alabama Football: Defensive Back Depth Hurting After Two Losses

Jimmy McMurreyAnalyst IIAugust 12, 2012

Projected starter Vinnie Sunseri will be without backup Jarrick Williams.
Projected starter Vinnie Sunseri will be without backup Jarrick Williams.John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

Alabama has lost two players in the defensive secondary. Safety Jarrick Williams tore an ACL while junior college cornerback Travell Dixon left the team for "personal reasons."

According to, the loss of these two players happened in rapid succession. Dixon will not be returning, and Williams, a junior who never redshirted, will likely be out for the entire season.

This is the second time the injury bug has gotten the best of Williams, who missed significant time in 2010 due to a shoulder injury.

Both of these players provided ever-important depth at their positions even though the starting jobs were all but locked up by other players.

Williams, 6'1", 212 lbs., was in line to contribute heavily on special teams and serve as a backup safety. The starting roles for the safety position seem thoroughly secured by senior Robert Lester and sophomore Vinnie Sunseri, with Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix still vying for a starting job as well.

Travell Dixon arrived at Alabama from the junior college ranks just in time for spring practice. At the time, he looked like a sure-fire bet to land a starting role with his excellent size at 6'1", 191 lbs.

After a mediocre showing during the A-day game, Dixon was completely out-shined by Alabama's other JuCo transfer cornerback, 6'0", 170-pound Deion Belue.

Belue, though paper-thin by SEC standards, is an electric playmaker that made a name for himself during the spring scrimmage when he returned an interception for 97 yards.

Dixon's future at Alabama looked to be a two-year career as a backup and could very well have been a factor in the "personal reasons" that sent him packing.

The most interesting development in this situation has to do with 5-star recruit Eddie Williams. At 6'4", 215 lbs., Williams is a physical specimen that has the moves to play either safety or wide receiver.

Since his commitment to the Tide, it looked as if Williams would play wide receiver. However, Alabama's receiver corps is as deep as any in the nation, albeit a bit inexperienced. Even with the loss of Chris Black, Alabama's receivers are highlight reels waiting to happen.

With the loss of players in the secondary, Williams began practicing at the safety position. This is not a definitive look at where he will play in the future, but an option that Nick Saban seems to be toying with.

A permanent move to safety by Williams would be an interesting scenario, as sophomores Clinton-Dix, Sunseri and true freshman Landon Collins all have the makings of great Alabama safeties.

In this situation, Clinton-Dix would seem more likely to make a switch to cornerback, an option that always had a realistic chance of happening, as he is completely capable of filling that role.

Alabama will still have more than enough depth to make another run at the national championship, but the loss of two players who were expected to contribute heavily as backups is never good news.