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5 Days ‘Til Alabama Football Kickoff: Cyrus Jones

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We count down to kickoff with a tribute to a player whose heart is greater than his stature.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

These days, Alabama recruits a ton of all-world talent – the players with prototypical size and speed, the can’t-miss prospects who come to Tuscaloosa on a three-year ride to the NFL.

Cyrus Jones was not that guy.

Listed generously at 5-foot-10, Cyrus Jones came to Alabama as a four-star ATH, a player with physical tools but no position. He managed to impress the coaching staff immediately, earning a bit of playing time as a true freshman WR for the 2012 national champions. Before the 2013 season, he was moved to cornerback in order to help fill out a very thin DB corps.

That 2013 season wasn’t easy for him.

New to the position, Cyrus found himself looking at the wrong things a little too often and, not yet having mastered his craft, victimized by taller receivers. At times he had to endure what was generally unfair criticism for a player who had been thrown into the fire. Fortunately for Cyrus, he had what his teammates affectionately called "Little Man Syndrome" that drove him to prove his doubters wrong.

Showing a heart that is far greater than his stature, Jones worked tirelessly in the 2014 and 2015 off-seasons to ultimately become the key senior leader in a secondary that, after some failings in the previous two seasons, is widely praised as the key unit in the 2015 national championship campaign. Also the primary punt returner, he was a vocal team leader headed into the College Football Playoff and boy, did he show out once he got there:

After helping lead his team to the title, Cyrus went on to the NFL Combine and performed well enough to earn a second round selection by the iconic New England Patriots, and currently looks to be in line to start as a rookie. The preseason has gone well for him, as he already notched his first interception:

Then followed that up with this:

Way to make a splash, Cyrus. Looks like you are well on your way to a stellar career.

Not bad for a little man.