Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Alabama Analysis: Talented Tide secondary

While replacing the likes of Dre Kirkpatrick and Mark Barron will be virtually impossible, the 2012 edition of the Alabama secondary should be exceptional.

Led by safety Robert Lester, the Crimson Tide will have a nice mixture of experience and young superior talent, as they roam the terrain of the mighty SEC.

Look for the aforementioned Lester, Vinnie Sunseri, Dee Milliner, and junior college transfer Deion Belue, who originally signed with ‘Bama in 2010, to be the “glue” for the Tide in the 3-4 base defense.

The prominent players

S-Robert Lester
S-Vinnie Sunseri
CB-Dee Milliner
CB-Deion Belue
CB-John Fulton
CB-Travell Dixon

Emerging talent

Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix
Jarrick Williams
Landon Collins
Geno Smith
Nick Perry
Bradley Sylve
Jabriel Washington

Robert Lester

In respect to key roles in the rotation, look for John Fulton and Travell Dixon to see action at the cornerback position this fall. Although Fulton has never seen substantial minutes, the former four-star prospect has been with the Tide since 2010 and knows the system. As for Dixon, look for the top defensive back in the junior college ranks to contribute this season and incorporate his experience and on-field mental maturity.

Both Fulton and Dixon will be doing battle with Deion Belue for the cornerback position opposite Dee Milliner. While Belue appears to have the edge, expect Fulton or Dixon to see the field in the nickel defense.

In respect to the safety rotation, look for Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix to play the role of backup to Vinnie Sunseri. Clinton-Dix is a true safety, but also has the skills to play corner if necessary. The talented sophomore played in several games last season as a true freshman.

While so much talk has surrounded freshman Landon Collins, his position in the rotation is unknown. Collins has the body of a senior safety, but experience is still the name of the game at such a critical position. Given Collins’ five-star rating, and the “drama” of his recruitment, many Tide fans are anxious to see him in action.

From top to bottom, the 2012 secondary will be a solid group. Certainly deeper and more experienced than the 2010 collection that followed the 2009 championship team.

With three experienced players (Lester, Milliner, and Sunseri) being groomed under the Tide system, and two highly touted JUCO transfers (Belue and Dixon)…Alabama is in good hands.

Unit Rating: 9/10

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