Alabama Football: What can Domani Jackson bring to the Tide secondary?

USC v Notre Dame
USC v Notre Dame / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Former USC cornerback Domani Jackson was one of the first players Alabama Football landed in this year’s transfer portal cycle, committing to join the Crimson Tide just a few days before Christmas. Jackson’s commitment was big at the time, as Bama was slated to lose a pair of first round draft picks at corner in Terrion Arnold and Kool-Aid McKinstry. 

A lot has unfolded since Jackson committed just a month ago, and the events that have transpired only make his addition more critical. Arnold and McKinstry indeed declared for the draft following the conclusion of Alabama’s season, followed shortly by the retirements of head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. The subsequent departure of defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson meant that Alabama was dealing with a total rebuild in the secondary. 

The Crimson Tide was dealt one more blow when projected starting cornerback Trey Amos hit the transfer portal and left the program. Amos was very promising in his one season in Tuscaloosa, and figured to be the top corner on the depth chart in 2024. He was joined in the portal by young cornerbacks such as Earl Little Jr., Dezz Ricks, Antonio Kite, and Jameer Grimsley, all of whom elected to exit the program. 

These departures have left Alabama very thin at cornerback, as the Tide will return just one scholarship corner from its 2023 roster in redshirt freshman Jahlil Hurley. The room will be supplemented by highly-touted freshmen such as Jaylen Mbakwe and Zabien Brown, but Domani Jackson has suddenly become the only cornerback on Alabama’s roster with legitimate game experience.

Alabama Football: What does Domani Jackson provide?

Domani Jackson was a 5-star cornerback and was widely considered to be a top-5 player in the country coming out of high school. He strongly considered Alabama, but ultimately chose to remain in his home state and become a Trojan. 

Jackson still has the physical tools that made him a 5-star and a projected first-round draft pick. He has an NFL-ready body, and is probably big enough to play safety at the college level. At the same time, he is a rangy and fluid athlete that runs with wide receivers easily.

Jackson’s production at USC won’t blow anybody away, but he was solid in coverage and gained valuable experience. He started as a true sophomore in 2023, notching 33 tackles and three pass-breakups. 

Domani Jackson’s first two years of college football were played under Lincoln Riley in one of the worst defenses in the Power Five. This could be viewed negatively, assuming his time with USC inhibited his development. Optimistically, however, it could also mean he has a lot more room to grow in Tuscaloosa. Jackson will be playing under savvy, knowledgeable coaches like Kane Wommack and Maurice Linguist. This newly-assembled staff should be able to get the best out of the former 5-star. 

Domani Jackson has become arguably the most important transfer addition for Alabama Football, given the lack of experience at the position. He was always a high-upside player who could add value to the roster, but the recent losses have made him more of a necessity. 

It’s not ideal that Bama has to depend so heavily on Jackson to pan out, but that is the hand this new coaching staff was dealt. Look for Domani Jackson to be an instrumental piece in the Alabama secondary in 2024.