Alabama completed its seventh practice of the spring on Thursday and safety Jordan Battle talked about the progression he’s seen from cornerback Eli Ricks.

"He's learning the playbook. He just got here, but every day, he's getting better and better. He's learning, getting more comfortable out there. He's playing faster as he gets more comfortable.”

Ricks immediately bolsters an Alabama secondary that ranked eighth in the conference in pass defense a year ago. He is one of the favorites to replace starters Jalyn Armour-Davis and Josh Jobe. Ricks will be competing with Kool-Aid McKinstry and Khyree Jackson to fill the two vacant spots.

The former five-star recruit in the 2020 recruiting class transferred to Alabama in December after two seasons at LSU. As a freshman, he appeared in 10 games, making seven starts. Ricks recorded 20 tackles, nine passes defended and four interception, returning two of them for touchdowns, which earned second-team All-SEC and third-team All-American honors. This past season, he registered 11 tackles, two passes defended and one interception in six games before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in October.

Ricks has only been on campus for a short period of time, but the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., has certainly made an impression on his new teammates.

“Definitely talented,” said linebacker Henry To’o To’o. “He works really, really hard. Ever since he came in Day 1, he wanted to learn. He wanted to work out in the weight room 24/7. He wanted to get off-field work. He’s in the training room 24/7, so whenever I’m in there, I see him in there.

“It’s the little things like that that you kind of take note of players like that and know that he’s going to be a good addition to the program.”

The rising junior brings a tremendous skill set to the Crimson Tide defense. At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Ricks is a big, lengthy corner with elite ball skills. His size and physicality fit the mold of some other recent Alabama defensive backs, including Armour-Davis, Patrick Surtain II and Marlon Humphrey. He plays with a ton of passion and energy that can ignite a defense.

The Crimson Tide return to the practice field on Saturday, April 2.

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