TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri is out for the season with a knee injury.
Coach Nick Saban said Monday that Sunseri will have surgery on his left knee Tuesday. He declined to give specifics of the injury except that he had ligament damage.
“Vinnie’s done a great job for us,” Saban said. “He’s an outstanding player and really good person, good leader. Can’t say enough about the job he’s done throughout this year and his career. Always hate it when guys get injuries. It’s a tough part of the game.
“But it’s going to provide an opportunity for some other guys to step up and play well. We’ll probably play with Landon Collins in that position.”
Collins filled in at free safety during Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s two-game suspension that ended before the Arkansas game, but strong safety is his normal position. Jarrick Williams is expected to back him up.
“Landon’s been a very good player for us in whatever role that we’ve asked him to play,” Saban said. “He’s played money. He’s played some free safety. He’s played strong safety. Strong safety is his natural position.”
Alabama plays Tennessee on Saturday.
Sunseri is the only defensive back to start each of the first seven games for the top-ranked Crimson Tide. He was injured while covering a kickoff in the first quarter against Arkansas.
Sunseri has 20 tackles and returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
The junior has played in 34 games and started 15 in his career.
Collins said this transition won’t be as hard since he’s had more practice time at strong safety.
“For me, it’s much easier because that’s where I’ve been playing the whole season,” he said. “I went back to strong this past game and just felt much more comfortable and I think played better.”