Domani Jackson commits to Alabama: Can Nick Saban revive 5-star USC bust?

Alabama landed a transfer portal commitment from former five-star cornerback Domani Jackson. Now he has the chance to revive his career.

Domani Jackson
Domani Jackson / Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Domani Jackson was a five-star prospect coming out of high school, the No. 1 player in the state of California and the No. 5 recruit in the 247Sports composite for the class of 2022.

But anyone who watched him play extensively at USC in 2023 knows he looked far from a five-star in cardinal and gold.

The question is whether he can live up to his vast potential in Alabama Crimson instead.

On Thursday, Jackson announced his commitment to the Crimson Tide, hoping to get his career back on track.

There's good reason to believe he can do just that.

Domani Jackson can unlock his potential at Alabama

USC's defense was incredibly bad under Alex Grinch in 2022 and, especially, 2023. To say players were poorly coached would be a vast understatement. Worse still, they were put in a scheme that seemed to get the least out of each individual.

As a freshman, Jackson was slowed by injury but his sophomore season showed clear signs that he was not well drilled. He looked confused about his assignments, his tackling was horrific at times and his confidence seemed to drain out of him. By the end of the regular season, PFF gave him a 60.7 grade overall with a coverage grade of 60.0. Both of those numbers were worse than the year before and would have been dead last by some margin among Alabama defensive backs with regular snaps this year.

There are valid concerns about Jackson's stiffness as a cornerback, but USC's recent track record for failing to develop the talented corners recruited by new Georgia DBs coach Donte Williams is telling. At this point, it's more likely Jackson's struggles were a USC problem than a fundamental lack of ability in the player himself.

So Alabama has to first focus on rebuilding Jackson's confidence, giving him time to learn the scheme and get back in the groove. He's a big, physical cornerback with plenty of speed. He just needs to be properly developed.

If anyone can figure out how to get more out of the talented cornerback, it's Saban and cornerbacks coach Travaris Robinson.

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