TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — When DeVonta Smith was suplexed by Josh Jobe during the first quarter of Alabama’s A-Day game, Smith didn’t object.

Smith just calmly trotted back to the huddle as the refs threw a flag for what they deemed a personal foul for unnecessary roughness on Jobe.

In fact, Smith appreciates the way Jobe plays cornerback.

“It seems like every time we do something in practice, every receiver has that DB and every DB has that receiver they just want to go and compete with,” Smith said. “I feel like he’s the DB I want to compete with every day.”

Jobe, a rising sophomore, is slated to start at one of the cornerback spots this season. He lined up at right cornerback during A-Day, and looked eager compete against Alabama’s loaded receiver group. He was credited with 4 tackles and a game-high 3 pass breakups, including a notable one against Jerry Jeudy. He never appeared to be out of place or miss an assignment during the scrimmage. Jobe was one of five players to win the Jerry Duncan “I Like To Practice” Award at the conclusion of spring.

“Just how confident he’s getting now and how physical is,” Smith said of what he noticed from Jobe this spring. “His confidence level is way up there now. He’s going to be real good. He makes me be more physical. It’s something that helps me and helps him too.”

Alabama linebacker Anfernee Jennings added that Jobe had a “helluva spring.”

As it stands, Alabama’s nickel defense featured Jobe at right corner, Trevon Diggs at left corner, Patrick Surtain II at Star (fifth defensive back), and Xavier McKinney and Jared Mayden in the two safety spots. (It’s worth noting that Shyheim Carter, who started at star last season, was limited a lot during spring. His return from injury could shake up the secondary.)

Diggs is heading into his senior year, and Surtain II has plenty of experience despite only being a sophomore. Jobe is the new kid in the group with Saivion Smith moving on to the NFL, but you wouldn’t know it based on his play.

“That dude competes, man. He’s a competitive guy,” McKinney said. “He likes to guard the best whenever we’re out there on the field. Pretty much all he does is work. I wasn’t surprised at how he performed (in the A-Day game). I thought he did a great job. That’s what type of guy he is.”

Jobe was considered an elite athlete after spending his senior year in Connecticut. He was rated the No. 7 cornerback nationally by 247Sports and a Top 50 player overall. Jobe grew up in Miami before moving to Connecticut for his senior year. He was committed to the Hurricanes but flipped just before the Early Signing Period and signed with Alabama over Georgia, Miami, Auburn, Tennessee and Michigan.

A former 4-star recruit in Alabama’s 2018 recruiting class, Jobe played in 14 of Alabama’s 15 games last season, missing only the LSU matchup.

He finished the year with 8 tackles and 1 pass deflection while playing in a limited role. But when Saivion Smith went down in the National Championship Game against Clemson, Alabama turned to Jobe, giving him valuable experience on a big stage. He broke up one pass and had two tackles during the title game loss.

Alabama coach Nick Saban noticed Jobe’s improvement throughout the spring, noting that he was “much more confident even this year.”

If Jobe continues to progress, Alabama’s secondary should be the strength of the defense — after being an area to attack last season. The group has the perfect blend of experience and natural talent.

“We’re creating good chemistry,” McKinney said. “I feel like we’ve done a better job of not just on the field stuff, but off the field. Hanging around each other and other small stuff. I feel like that’s good for us, and we’re having more fun when we’re play. We’re less anxious, and more relaxed when we’re out there.”