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Nick Saban talks Alabama draftees, Tua Tagovailoa on NFL Network

Alabama head coach Nick Saban appeared on NFL Network on Thursday to recap the 2019 NFL Draft and discuss his current Crimson Tide team. Below is everything Saban said during an interview with Andrew Siciliano, including an update on his return from hip replacement surgery.

Does it ever get old seeing the young men that are in your building, that go to class, that work so hard every day -- both on and off the field -- hearing their name called and having that journey take them to the NFL?

“No, not at all. A lot of the guys that we recruit here and a lot of guys when they’re in high school and they play, a lot of them have dreams, regardless of what they play -- football, basketball, baseball. They all want to be professional athletes some day. And these guys put a lot into it. They work hard. They really mature and contribute a lot to our program. I know it’s their dream, and I’m always happy to see them have success at the next level. I mean, that’s one of the goals of our program here.”

Let’s talk about Quinnen Williams, if we could, who went third overall to the Jets. Coach, what makes him so special?

“His initial quickness and his ability to play with his hands, play with leverage, get off blocks quickly. He’s athletic, so he’s a really good pass rusher. He’s not a huge, gigantic, overpowering guy, but the rest of it is perfect for this day and age in football. And I go back to the initial quickness, the use of his hands. And this guy is a really smart, instinctive player, and I think sometimes people overlook how that impacts someone’s production -- and his production here was fabulous.” 

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Former Tide star Irv Smith Jr. signs contract with Minnesota Vikings

Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

He’s the highest drafted rookie of 2019 to sign a contract. 

For former University of Alabama tight end Irv Smith, Jr., he put pen to paper on Thursday in finalizing his four-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings. News came from Adam Schefter of ESPN and per Spotrac, Smith’s deal is worth $5.78 million ($2.98 million guaranteed) with a $2.23 million signing bonus. 

The 6-foot-2, 242-pounder turned in a contribution last season that went a long way into quarterback Tua Tagovailoa being recognized as an All-American and Heisman finalist. 

He recorded 710 yards receiving on 44 catches with seven touchdowns – setting a single-season school record for scores by a tight end. Smith averaged 16+ yards per catch and had a strong showing at the NFL Scouting Combine.

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Durability of Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa to be monitored next season

© Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

One draft is done; however, people tend to focus much on the future. 

Todd McShay, an NFL Draft expert for ESPN, is one of few analysts that has already started putting together a Way-Too-Early mock draft for 2020.

While many media outlets have the University of Alabama placing seven guys in the first round, it all starts with returning junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – of whom McShay has slotted as his No. 1 overall selection. 

In his first season as a starter, Tagovailoa took Crimson Tide fans and consumers of college football by storm with his abilities as a natural distributor of the ball.

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Alabama football: O-line features nice blend of talent, experience

Alex Leatherwood looks to be a part of a solid offensive line for the Tide in 2019. Photo by Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s note: This is part four of an eight-piece series that will take a look at the entire team as Alabama heads into summer workouts. Register here to view the premium content in this series. Here we take a look at Alabama’s offensive line.

Projected depth chart

First group: Alex Leatherwood, Emil Ekiyor, Chris Owens, Matt Womack, Jedrick Wills

Backups: Scott Lashley, Deonte Brown, Kendall Randolph, Evan Neal, Pierce Quick, Hunter Brannon, Amari Kight, Tommy Brown, Tanner Bowles

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Marlon Humphrey, Josh Rutledge headline UA's spring commencement

ByCharlie Potter 7 hours ago

A total of 80 University of Alabama student-athletes are slated to receive degrees during this weekend's commencement activities, including 14 All-Americans, three NCAA champions and four CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. The Crimson Tide's tally also includes 15 master’s degrees.

Crimson Tide All-American and Baltimore Raven Marlon Humphrey is among the 10 football players set to graduate. Others include SEC Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year Hale Hentges, who is getting his master’s degree this weekend after signing with the Indianapolis Colts last month, as well as CoSIDA Academic All-American Keaton Anderson.

Other Alabama football players include Kyle Edwards, D.J. Lewis, Milo Lewis, Xavian Marks, Scott Meyer, Chris Owens and Matt Womack.

MLB draftees Josh Rutledge and Geoffrey Bramblett both earned their degrees this month, putting them among the nine UA baseball players receiving degrees in the spring, along with football and baseball standout Keith Holcombe, who finished his master’s degree this semester. Rutledge, a 2008 Freshman All-American, was drafted in 2010 and played for the Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox during his pro career.

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Saban offers JUCO DB who grew up fan of Alabama

Alabama offered a rising junior college defensive back in the state of Texas on Thursday. Good news for the Crimson Tide ... he grew up a fan of the program.

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Former Defensive Tackle Joshua Frazier Retires from NFL

via: Touchdown Alabama

In a tweet posted this afternoon, former Alabama defensive tackle Joshua Frazier announced that he is “done” with the game of football. Frazier said in the post that he has a lot going on in his personal life and that he can’t give the game the necessary attention that it deserves. He also thanked his teammates from his high school and from the University of Alabama.

The Springdale, Arkansas product arrived at Alabama as a part of the 2014 recruiting class. He was listed as a four-star recruit and also shared the class with other stars like Jarran Reed, Rashaan Evans, Christian Miller, Marlon Humphry, Bo Scarbrough, Tony Brown, Da’Shawn Hand and Cam Robinson. Frazier was also apart of two national championship teams.

In his four seasons as a member of the crimson tide, Frazier was mainly a rotational player among the stacked defensive line. After the 2017 season, Fraizer entered the NFL draft and was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 246th pick of the seventh round.

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Former Alabama DL Joshua Frazier 'done with football'

ByCharlie Potter 8 hours ago

Former Alabama defensive lineman Joshua Frazier is hanging up his cleats.

On Thursday, Frazier announced via Twitter that he was “done with football.”

“I’m done with football. I’ve decided...I’ve got a lot going on right now in my life personally and can’t put my 100 into the game I love. Made some great memories with my teammates at Harber And @AlabamaFTBL and was blessed with the opportunity to be drafted to the @steelers

“Thank you everyone who helped me on my journey.”

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NCAA Takes Look At Injury Reports

It was a big deal — make that a REALLY big deal — when sports gambling, including gambling on college sports, was expanded from Las Vegas. Now, only the most naive would suggest that there isn’t gambling on Alabama football in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham and everywhere else in the nation regardless of the presence of a gleaming casino with a sports book. There is not in Alabama, but projections are that sports books will be available in some 30 states within five years. (Alabama will probably become No. 50 a few years after Utah makes it 49.)

With the expansion, there is more than ever a concern about corruption, to the extent that according to a report by CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd something called the NCAA Gambling Working Group will propose that schools reveal the status of injured football players each week — “available,” “possible,” or “unavailable” — but without revealing the type of injury.

Obviously, a coach could announce “possible” on all of them without revealing much of anything.

The point, though, is that sports injuries never seem to be that much of a secret. The NFL routinely has a reveal each week (“probable,” “doubtful,” or “out”). As for the college game, no one ever seems to be caught off guard by the absence of a key player on Saturdays.

Nick Saban (Photo: Stuart McNair, Scout.com)

 At Alabama, Coach Nick Saban has an almost weekly announcement regarding injuries and some expectation of a player’s availability. (Of course, his most notable injury announcement concerned his own recent hip replacement procedure.) Many coaches nationwide have spoken out against the suggestion that injuries be revealed as giving away the game plan to the opposition.

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Five offseason questions revisited: Special teams

Revisiting five questions for Alabama's special teams as the Crimson Tide moves through the offseason.

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Justin’s Recruiting Bites

Alabama Recruiting Update

Alabama’s 2019 recruiting class has 15 verbal commits as high school football spring practices are geared to start soon or have already begun. Nick Saban and the rest of Alabama’s coaching staff is expected to visit some key targets during this period. Information on a couple of targets the Tide will visit and more is included in Justin’s Recruiting Bites below:

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What Saban, Alabama players said about new coaches this spring

Alabama welcomed seven new assistant coaches to Tuscaloosa this offseason, and plenty was said about more of them during the Crimson Tide’s 15 spring practices from March 8 to April 13.

We didn’t hear from any running backs or outside linebackers, so there are no quotes on either Charles Huff or Sal Sunseri, but below is what Nick Saban and Alabama’s players said about offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive line coach Brian Baker, safeties coach Charles Kelly, offensive line coach Kyle Flood and wide receivers coach Holmon Wiggins in the spring.

STEVE SARKISIAN

Nick Saban: “My experience is the guy did a really good job when he was here. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him for what he did before he came here as an offensive coach. I don't think it's fair to criticize when a guy takes over a job one week before a game and has to go try to implement something because the circumstance we were in. I think if you look at the body of work with the Falcons, they were like sixth in the NFL in offense or whatever so there's got to be some level of expertise to allow them to do that. The players that I talked to there thought he did a really good job and was a good coach. He's, I think, a tremendous asset on our staff and we're very pleased and happy to have him. We had a whole list of people we went through to hire and I feel like we were really, really fortunate to get a guy that was offered the Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator job to come to Alabama and had a successful stint in the NFL.

“We're going to run our offense do the things that we do. I'm sure that there are some things that they did in Atlanta just like there were some things when Brian Daboll came here that they did in New England that we implemented in the offense and those things were very helpful. We'll do the same thing. If Sark's got things that he thinks are going to be beneficial and fit in with the things that we're doing then we'll implement some of those things. He's got great knowledge and experience and the biggest thing is he's well organized and he's got good relationships with the players and he's a good teacher.”

Tua Tagovailoa: “Well, I think you can’t really compare all the coaches. you look at it more so as these guys have their own way of coaching, these guys have their own style and you just got to learn to go with it because at the next level it is not always going to be the same person. So, you’ve got to be able to adjust and you’ve got to be able to go with it as well. So, they all have different styles. Coach Locksley was one way. Coach Daboll was another way and with the offense we’re running now it’s different, too. It’s just getting used to what they’re doing and what they like and going with it. 

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Where Alabama commits rank in latest 247Sports Composite update

ByHank South 16 hours ago

It's a three-team battle between Alabama, Clemson and LSU for the top spot in the 247Sports Composite Team Recruiting Rankings, with each program spending time at No. 1 in the standings in recent weeks.

The Bayou Bengals currently claim the No. 1 spot with the Crimson Tide coming in at No. 2, but with how narrow the margin is between the three teams in the standings, one commitment or decommitment could change the entire order.

Affecting that order is the 247Sports Composite Rankings, an industry-generated average. Those rankings were updated this week with several Alabama commits moving up in the standings.

Here's a look at where they currently sit, along with the latest in their recruitments.

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Jumbo Package: Jayden George, son of NFL standout Jeff George, commits to Alabama

Yesterday, Alabama picked up the commitment of walk-on quarterback, Jayden George. That unusual last name should tip you off as to his pedigree — the son of former NFL occasional star/journeyman Jeff George.

Here are the highlights from Jayden’s senior season in Indianapolis.

George the Elder was an interesting player. He had one of the quickest releases, strongest arms, and best play-fakes you could wish for. The physical skills were there for a true Hall of Fame career. Unfortunately, the 1990 No. 1 overall pick also had an ego to match, intermittent injuries, and a penchant for bratiness that made his tenure uneasy with just about every team he played for over a 13-year career. George probably had his most memorable moments for Alabama fans during his time as the signal caller for the (very fun) run-and-shoot Atlanta Falcons under June Jones.

Anyway, Jayden has not been evaluated by any recruiting services, but he has been invited to several campuses — including Georgia most recently. You can tell he has had some coaching from the old man too. He is a throwback for sure: a true dropback passer with nice play-action out of the Ace sets. His arm is live, but he doesn’t appear to have the quick release of his dad. He is an interesting player. In an era of athletes-as-quarterbacks, Jayden is a pure throwing quarterback; a guy from another time and place.

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Son of former NFL QB walking on at Alabama

Alabama landed a preferred walk-on commitment from 2019 quarterback Jayden George of Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central on Wednesday evening.

"It’s been a long process and I’m excited to announce I will be continuing my dream to play football at the University of Alabama next year!" George Tweeted. "I can’t wait to be a part of something special! All glory to God! #RollTide."

The 6-foot-3.5, 205-pounder signal caller has taken several visits in recent weeks to programs like Georgia and Miami, but it was Alabama where he saw the best fit.

George passed for 3,100 yards and 42 touchdowns last season, helping lead Warren Central to the Class 6A state championship win. 

Jayden is the son of former Illinois quarterback and No. 1 pick in the 1990 NFL Draft Jeff George, who had stints with the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks and the Chicago Bears. The elder George led the league in passing yardage in 1997, and for his career threw for over 27,000 yards. Jayden's older brother, Jeff Jr., played for Illinois before transferring to Michigan and then Pitt. 

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Alabama's 2019 offseason to-do list

The offseason has arrived, and the countdown to Alabama’s 2019 season is getting shorter and shorter. But what are some of the things the Crimson Tide coaching staff and players need to do before the upcoming season arrives in order to get back to the College Football Playoff?

Below, BamaOnLine takes a look at bullet points on Alabama’s offseason to-do list.

Hip hip hooray?

Head coach Nick Saban underwent hip replacement surgery last week, and less than 48 hours after the robotic procedure, the 67-year old was back at work. An avid golfer, Saban was forced to withdraw from the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge and will likely miss the Regions Pro-Am next week, though he still might make an appearance. It’s not surprising that the 13th-year head coach was adamant about getting back on his feet as quickly as possible, but it’s also important that he heals properly in order to be ready for the season.

“It’s more than he just wanted to get back to work. He’s back to work with a purpose,” head trainer Jeff Allen told ESPN’s Chris Low. “He feels like he owes this place and his players his total effort. He demands way more of himself than he does of anybody else.”

Stay healthy

Speaking of surgeries, Alabama will also look to avoid any injuries this offseason. Last year, the Crimson Tide lost linebackers Terrell Lewis and Christopher Allen to ACL injuries before the 2018 campaign even started. Saban mentioned some players could have shoulders scoped after spring practice, and freshmen Darrian Dalcourt and Jeffery Carter were possibilities there, BamaOnLine has learned, along with redshirt senior Matt Womack. But between now and the start of preseason camp later this summer, staying healthy will be a top priority for the Tide. 

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Giving Away Money: Vegas drops rat poison in Dabo’s Ostarine

For about a century, there were three longstanding truisms about Alabama football: Alabama never had a Heisman winner, Alabama never won a national title with a Republican in the White House, and Alabama has never won a national title when being tabbed the No. 1 team in the nation.

Nick Saban has upended the apple cart as to the first two of these, but the latter is still true: Alabama has never won a national title when being the nation’s preseason top dog. This season, Alabama is firmly in second place behind Clemson...even in Vegas.

And that’s just how we like it.

Yesterday, some of the offshore books began dropping preseason odds to win the College Football Playoff Championship, and, if you want to make some decent money, you could do a whole lot worse than laying some early scratch on the Tide:

Clemson 2-1

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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Leaving the Alabama bubble for the NFL a challenge for some former Tide players

His position coach, Burton Burns, was no longer in his ear and telling him to go to class. Then again, there was no class to attend. The 15-hour, semester-long course load had vanished along with the evening study halls and mandatory 6 a.m. workouts that ensured he’d be occupied from dawn until dusk.

All of a sudden Trent Richardson was bored with a lot of time on his hands and millions of dollars in his bank account.

“What do I do now?” he asked himself.

We’ve talked and speculated around this issue for years, especially in the earlier half of Saban’s tenure at Alabama when the Tide’s NFL draft picks were riddled with flameouts. Some players who thrived in Saban’s structured system struggled to stay focused and driven at the next level when they no longer had people checking behind them for everything.

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Alabama Football Film Room: Josh Jobe looks the part

Josh Jobe got his baptism by fire on the biggest stage. As a true freshman, he was inserted into the line-up in the national championship after starting corner Saivion Smith went down with an injury. Jobe was by no means perfect; but he acquitted himself well, considering the situation, and made two tackles to go along with a pass break-up.

With Smith’s departure to the NFL and versatile defensive back Shyheim Carter limited after surgery, Jobe spent the spring with the first team. At A-Day, he operated as the right cornerback in nickel and dime packages; and he had an excellent outing.

2nd and 10: Jobe (#28) is the right cornerback at the bottom of the screen, playing about 7 yards off the line. He takes one step back on the snap before changing gears when he sees it’s a handoff. Jobe quickly comes down and forces Najee Harris (#22) to keep moving laterally instead of cutting upfield. Harris is a load to take down, but that doesn’t stop Jobe. He hits him up high and, with a bit of help from Moses, who did a good job of avoiding traffic, makes the tackle after a minimal gain.

3rd and 4: Jobe is in press coverage on DeVonta Smith (#6) at the bottom. Smith runs a little hitch route right at the sticks, and there’s a little bit of separation. The yard or two would possibly be enough for Smith to catch it and pick up the first had the throw been on the money, but it’s high. Smith jumps to snag it, giving Jobe more time to close; and he smashes into Smith right after it’s caught. Jobe knocks him back several yards before finishing up the tackle with a suplex, which unfortunately draws a flag and gives the Crimson offense a first down.

3rd and 3: It’s third and short, and the offense goes after Jobe again. He’s at the top of the screen, playing off on Jerry Jeudy (#4). It’s another quick hitch at line to gain. Jobe hesitates slightly once he sees the pass is going to Jeudy, and he wastes a step. Still, once he changes directions; he closes quickly and delivers a jarring hit on Jeudy, showing the physicality we saw in the previous two plays. Jeudy had already started to drop the pass before Jobe got there, but Jobe at least made it so that it would’ve been difficult for Jeudy to hang on had he caught it.

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Jumbo Package: The NFL has drafted enough Alabama players in the Saban era to fill an entire roster

Yesterday, Pat Forde read these tea leaves for Alabama’s swim and dive program...

And, right he was:

Alabama Director of Athletics Greg Byrne has announced the hiring of Coley Stickels as The University of Alabama’s next head swimming and diving coach. Stickels comes to Tuscaloosa following a two-year stint as Indiana’s associate head sprint coach.

The Hoosiers are coming off a program-first sweep of the men’s and women’s Big Ten team titles in 2019. It was also the men’s third-consecutive team championship, while the women captured the league crown for the first time since 2011. In all, the men won 24 medals – 13 gold, six silver and five bronze, and the women took home 14 medals – seven gold, one silver and six bronze.

If we’re going by results, this seems to be another outstanding move by the Ninja, who has made a knack of hiring up and coming small division coaches and big time assistants ready for a shot at a Power 5 job.

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