Tide appears set with Cyrus Jones at defensive back
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Aug 03, 2013 | 3014 views |  0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama coach Nick Saban wouldn’t reveal whether Cyrus Jones’ move from wide receiver to defensive back is permanent, but according to the updated roster released at Saturday’s practice, Jones is officially a defensive back.

Jones continued to practice at cornerback during Alabama’s second day of preseason practice.

“He seems to be progressing well at defensive back," Saban said. "I think he's very athletic. ... We see a lot of ability there and really like the development. I can't say anything is permanent, but right now that's what where we're going to try to develop Cyrus.”

Jones, a sophomore, worked with the right cornerbacks behind John Fulton. Jones spent much of spring practice working out with the defensive backs. He earned extra reps as Fulton sidelined by a toe injury.

He opened preseason practice in a crimson jersey, which is what defensive players wear in practice, and worked solely with the cornerbacks during the media’s viewing period.

Jones is the latest swiss army knife in the Crimson Tide’s arsenal. Jones spent much of his freshman season playing sparingly at wide receiver and returning kicks.

The 5-foot-10, 196-pound athlete played in 11 games as a true freshman, catching four passes for 51 yards, returning 10 kickoffs for 250 yards and bringing back eight punts for 61 yards.

He played running back, slot receiver and cornerback at Gilman High in Baltimore, intercepting five passes his senior year.

Dee Milliner departure for the NFL after last season left a gaping hole in the Tide’s secondary. Deion Belue is expected to become the No. 1 cornerback on the left side with Fulton holding down the right side, but it may be wide open after that. Rising sophomore Geno Smith has experience and showed promise as the 2012 season went on, but the Tide will need depth when facing teams that like to spread out defenses with multiple receiver looks.

Belue noted that the spring workouts put Jones ahead of the curve. He said he’s teaching Jones the “tricks and trades” of the position.

“There haven't been any major adjustments because he's an athlete,” Belue said. “He can play offense, defense, kickoff return. He's adjusted really easy.”

Jones wears No. 5, the same number is wide receiver Chris Black. Rules state college football players can wear the same jersey number, but are not allowed to be on the field at the same time, making it common for teams to give an offensive and defensive player the same number.
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