Some nagging injuries this season have limited Alabama senior cornerback Deion Belue, the Crimson Tide's most experienced and skilled player at the position. But on a team that is thin on depth at corner, being limited is better than being out. This week, Belue's injury woes might keep him off the field when the Crimson Tide hosts rival Tennessee on Saturday, according to The Tuscaloosa News.
Belue has started five games, but he missed Alabama's game against Colorado State on Sept. 21 and has played hurt since.
"Deion's a good player. He's the most experienced corner that we have," said Alabama coach Nick Saban. "He struggles to stay healthy, or he has struggled to stay healthy this year. We're hopeful he can stay healthy and be out there and play well on Saturdays. ... His experience is invaluable to where we are right now in terms of the secondary. We've lost a couple of safeties, and we have some young corners. It's really important that he can get out there and finish."
Belue ranks No. 92 on the Hot 100 Seniors list by NFL.com draft analyst Gil Brandt. Belue has made just four tackles on the season with two pass breakups at left cornerback, although opposing offenses have tested Alabama's right cornerback position far more than they have Belue. The Crimson Tide has tried a carousel of options on the right side, although true freshman Eddie Jackson appears to be making a strong claim for the role.
If Belue is unable to play Saturday, another young cornerback could be pressed into service. Bradley Sylve, who would otherwise be a strong candidate, is hobbled this week himself.
Belue's possible absence could open the door for another strong performance from Tennessee freshman receiver Marquez North, who made one of the most impressive catches of the season against South Carolina last week.