Jackson started four games and appeared in seven contests as a true freshman last season, racking up 19 tackles, an interception and two fumble recoveries. The Florida native and former four-star prospect had been working with the first-team defense for much of the spring before injuring his knee during a scrimmage on Saturday.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said Jackson hurt his knee in a "noncontact" situation where he jumped for the football and "came down funny."
"Eddie Jackson had an MRI Sunday which confirmed that he had ligament damage in his knee that required surgery," Saban said Monday in a statement. "... We are confident Eddie will make a full recovery and be ready to go this fall."
It is expected to take Jackson about five months to recover, which could cause him to miss preseason camp. If Jackson is unable to return for the regular season, a medical redshirt is possible.
Jackson came on strong early last season, starting in Week 3 against Colorado State and then again the following week against Ole Miss, where he made three tackles and broke up two passes. He started a third straight game before seeing his playing time dwindle down the stretch.
However, with the benefit of bowl practice, he returned to the starting lineup against Oklahoma in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Without Jackson, Alabama's lack of depth at cornerback becomes more noticeable. Bradley Sylve and Cyrus Jones are the two most veteran players at the position, and neither has been a full-time starter in their careers.
Five-star freshman Tony Brown has made a good impression since enrolling in January, but his development is still in its infancy. Alabama will also welcome another five-star freshman cornerback into the fold when Marlon Humphrey arrives on campus following graduation.
"We've just got to keep working and developing depth," Saban said of the secondary as a whole. "[I] feel like have a few more guys that have a good understanding of what we're doing. We just seem to not be making as many mental errors as we have in the past at this time."