Cornerback was arguably the weakest point on the entire Alabama roster during the 2013 season -- a major reason why true freshman Eddie Jackson was able to emerge by season's end as one of the Tide's more dependable options at the position, even starting the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma.
So ESPN's report Sunday that Jackson suffered a torn ACL in a Saturday scrimmage may cause more worry in Tuscaloosa than an injury to the Tide's deep roster typically would. Jackson will miss at least the remainder of spring practice and fall camp, with the report setting his recovery timetable at five months.
Per al.com, Saban confirmed in a statement Monday afternoon that Jackson had suffered "ligament damage" and had undergone knee surgery, but added he was "confident Eddie will make a full recovery and be ready to go this fall."
Nick Saban said after the scrimmage Saturday that Jackson had suffered a noncontact injury and would undergo an MRI Sunday. Saban was also effusive in praise of the Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. native.
"Eddie was having a great spring and probably our best corner, most consistent," he said.
I May Bend But Won't Break, Minor Set Back For A Major Comeback— Eddie Jackson (@2Cool_Eddie) April 7, 2014
Jackson started four games -- including the Sugar Bowl, where he led the team with 10 tackles -- and appeared in seven during his freshman season.
Even if Jackson is forced to miss more than the initial five months -- putting his season in jeopardy -- the Tide still have some experienced options, including juniors Bradley Sylve and Cyrus Jones, as well as five-star early-enrollee Tony Brown.
But Nick Saban doesn't drop public appraisals like calling Jackson "probably our best corner" lightly. It stands to reason that Jackson probably was the Tide's best corner this spring -- and that if his recovery period is longer than expected, it could prove a legitimate blow to Alabama's hopes of reclaiming the national championship.