Alabama head coach Nick Saban provided a positive update on the health of LSU transfer Eli Ricks during his Wednesday press conference.

“When he started here in the offseason program, that was the first thing he’s done for a long time. He lost some weight; he’s been gaining it back.”

Ricks transferred to Alabama in December after spending two seasons in Baton Rouge. As a freshman in 2020, he played in 10 games, making seven starts. Ricks totaled 20 tackles, nine passes defended and four interception, returning two of them for touchdowns.

He earned second-team All-SEC honors and was the only true freshman to be named an All-American. Last season, he totaled 11 tackles, two passes defended and one interception in six games before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in October.

With starters Jalyn Armour-Davis and Josh Jobe departing for the NFL, the California native can make an immediate impact in the Alabama defense. Ricks and the Kool-Aid McKinstry are the favorites to be the starters in the fall. Khyree Jackson will also be in the mix.

At 6-foot-2 and 195-pounds, Ricks is a big, rangy cornerback with tremendous ball skills. He has the ability to shift momentum at any given moment and gives Alabama another playmaker in the secondary.

The Crimson Tide have seen eight defensive backs selected in the first round during the Nick Saban era and the rising junior could be next in line.

Will Anderson believes Alabama’s 2022 defense  is “capable of being better than we were last year” and Ricks will play a big part in making that statement come true.

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The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs 41-24 to win the 2021 SEC Championship.

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