Starters: Cyrus Jones (CB), Tony Brown (CB), Geno Smith (S), Landon Collins (S), Jarrick Williams (Star)
Backups: Bradley Sylve (CB), Eddie Jackson (CB), Marlon Humphrey (CB), Jabriel Washington (CB), Maurice Smith (CB), Nick Perry (S), Laurence Jones (S), Jonathan Cook (S)
Analysis: Landon Collins enters fall camp as the most stable piece in the secondary. The All-American candidate is one of the nation’s best playmakers and will serve as the glue to a unit undergoing a bit of a facelift.
Senior Jarrick Williams found a home last season at "Star"—the Tide’s extra defensive back in nickel sets. His experience and versatility are a plus at a critical position.
The pieces who will surround them in the season opener remain a mystery.
At safety, junior Geno Smith heads into camp as the favorite to land the spot opposite Collins. Smith and Williams appear to be interchangeable parts at safety and star.
The corner position figures to serve as one of the headlines of fall camp, with both starting positions wide open. The indefinite status of sophomore corner Eddie Jackson—who suffered a torn ACL in spring practice—further clouds the picture.
Junior Cyrus Jones is the team’s most experienced returning corner—despite making the switch from receiver only prior to last season. Fellow junior Bradley Sylve has battled injuries throughout his career, but he has a great opportunity to snare a spot in the rotation if he remains healthy.
However, the biggest buzz surrounds hotshot recruits Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey. With so little returning experience and no spots in the rotation set in stone, both former 5-star prospects stand a great chance to see snaps early in the season, provided they quickly adjust to the college level. In Brown’s case, he could be in line for a starting job if he continues to progress.