No. 1 Alabama could have a couple of boosts ahead of its Cotton Bowl semifinal against Cincinnati on Friday. During a Thursday news conference, Nick Saban provided updates on injured wide receiver JoJo Earle (lower-body) and cornerback Jalyn Armour Davis (hip), stating both players practiced this week and will be “game-time decisions.”
“[Armour Davis is] a mature player, and he knows whether he can go out there and do his job,” Saban said. “And JoJo has practiced as well, so we’ll make game-time decisions on how much those guys are able to participate.”
Earlier this week, Alabama defensive coordinator Pete Golding provided an update on Armour-Davis, stating that the redshirt junior cornerback looked good during practice while stating, “It’s good to have him back.”
Armour-Davis has missed Alabama’s last two games with a hip injury. The 6-foot-1, 192-pound defender has been the Tide’s most dependable cornerback this season, recording three interceptions and four pass breakups over 10 starts. Alabama is already without one starting cornerback in Josh Jobe, who had surgery on his foot earlier this month.
Earle has not played since suffering a lower-body injury against New Mexico State on Nov. 13. He suited up for Alabama’s SEC Championship Game against Georgia but did not take part in any snaps. The speedy receiver should offer a major boost to an offense that lost starter John Metchie III to a season-ending knee injury earlier this month.
Earle has appeared in 10 games this season, making his first career start against Southern Miss. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound receiver has recorded 12 catches for 148 yards. He also served on punt-return duties, averaging 6.79 yards on 14 attempts. Friday’s Cotton Bowl will serve as a homecoming of sorts for the Aledo, Texas, native who grew up roughly 45 minutes away from AT&T Stadium where Alabama and Cincinnati will play.
In addition to updates on Armour-Davis and Earle, Saban said there have not been any issues among his available players amid rising COVID-19 concerns.
Alabama (12-1) and Cincinnati (13-0) will meet at 2:30 p.m. CT on Friday. The winner will advance to the College Football National Championship Game in Indianapolis on Jan. 10.