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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.

For those wondering what Forde was talking about re: a new pool, last summer the UA Board approved $21 million in facilities upgrade to Alabama’s Natatorium — already one of the fastest lanes in the sport:

This project will also provide a top-of-the-line team suite that will include new locker rooms and nutrition station as well a team meeting room and a separate team lounge. The addition of a 25-yard by 25-meter outdoor pool that will also include springboard diving stations will greatly enhance our versatility in terms of training as well as hosting meets.”

The project will take the existing 25-yard indoor pool on the east side of the facility, remove its roof and expand it to a 25-yard by 25-meter pool, while increasing the depth of the pool to accommodate the additions of 1-meter and 3-meter springboards for diving.

More at the links above

There are now enough drafted Alabama players in the NFL to make up an entire roster — with room to spare:

The Crimson Tide’s 10 selections were the most for any school in the 2019 Draft. Alabama’s 87 draftees over the last 11 years are the most by any program in college football in that span. LSU is second with 75 followed by USC at 70. The Crimson Tide has now had 32 players selected in the last three NFL drafts, marking the third consecutive year 10 or more players have been chosen.

The double-digit draftees brought the Crimson Tide’s NFL player total to 61, but the number doesn’t stop there. Several players that didn’t hear their names called signed as undrafted free agents, and they will slowly start to show up on rosters as camps begin. Players like Hale Hentges (Colts), Saivion Smith (Jaguars), Lester Cotton (Raiders) and Jamey Mosley (Jets).

Greg Byrne was in TSN yesterday, highlighting how Alabama’s renewed push for home-and-home series is good for college football:

Enter Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne, who, since his hiring in January 2017, has worked with Saban to secure four high-profile home-and-home series through the 2032-33 season.

It all starts, Byrne said, by determining which schools may have potential openings for a home-and-home series. In that effort, he uses the FBS scheduling tool “Gridiron” - spearheaded by ESPN executive Dave Brown, who helped kickstart the popular marquee neutral-site games in the first place - to find quality teams with potential openings in their schedule.

From there, Byrne discusses with Saban the potential value in scheduling opponents from several different standpoints: How much will the team have to travel? What recruits would be good to invite to this game? How often has Alabama visited this stadium?

A really interesting look at how the sausage is made.

Heisman odds came out yesterday, and guess who’s favored at 5/2? Tua Tagovailoa, who should have shared it with his ‘Bama teammate, Quinnen Williams:

2018 numbers: 245 of 355, 3,966 yards, 43 TD, 6 INT

What will Alabama’s best player have in store for an encore to his impressive sophomore campaign? Tagovailoa proved he wasn’t invincible late in the year vs. Georgia and Clemson, making a couple uncharacteristic throws into coverage resulting in mistakes. Two interceptions in the SEC Championship Game ultimately cost him the Heisman to Kyler Murray. But his body of work? It’s hard to argue after breaking numerous single-season program passing records. Tagovailoa rarely played in the fourth quarter last season and at one point, was the most accurate passer nationally. First-year OC Steve Sarkisian is extremely excited to work with the potential Top 5 pick.

Dare we say it? Oakland was somewhat competent last week during the draft (even if they did overdraft Ferrell.) Here’s the interesting story about how draft guru Mike Mayock essentially held Gruden’s hand in landing Josh Jacobs.

Head coach Jon Gruden wanted the Alabama running back in silver and black, with the No. 24 overall pick earmarked to get him.

There was high anxiety that wouldn’t be enough. NBC Sports’ Peter King reports in his latest Football Morning in America column that stress levels raised an octave, or five, when Philadelphia traded up from No. 25 to 22 in Thursday night’s first round.

The Eagles were also known to covet Jacobs and, since the whole world knew about the Raiders’ interest, there was great fear Philadelphia traded up to grab him.

Remember last week when I told you about the super-violent Oklahoma commit that played linebacker and has great potential in the slot — Drew Sanders?

He must have gotten the memo that we loved him around these parts:

Alabama has landed a big commitment.

Four-star outside linebacker Drew Sanders flipped his commitment from Oklahoma to Alabama Monday night after taking an official visit to Alabama this past weekend.

If you want to see some film and get a thumbnail sketch of the Denton athlete, we’ve got you covered right here.

Nine-to-twelve first round picks? Is that good?

The mock draft business never rests. One cycle ends and another begins.

So, in the days following the 2019 NFL draft, a whole new set of projections hit the internet streets. There’s an even heavier Alabama influence on the 2020 versions.

We surveyed 10 different mock drafts for next season and 12 different Crimson Tide players appeared on at least one of them. The Big Lead had nine among its 32 first-round picks.

Finally, we take you to Men’s and Women’s Tennis, both of whom are competing in the NCAAs next week. The Tide squads qualified for play, and for the women that in particular was a big deal:

For the first time since 2015 the Alabama women’s tennis team is returning to the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships after earning a No. 3 seed in the Tallahassee Regional. The Crimson Tide (18-11) will take on No. 2 seed UCF (22-3) for the second time this season, at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center in Tallahassee, Fla., while No. 1 seed and host Florida State (20-6) will play No. 4 seed South Alabama (22-4).

The tournament birth is the 15th in program history after the Tide went 18-11 on the year with four wins over nationally-ranked foes. UA is one of nine Southeastern Conference teams to punch its ticket in this year’s field of 64. Alabama and UCF played earlier this year on Feb. 15 with the then-ranked No. 21 Knights taking the 6-1 decision in Tuscaloosa.

For the men, it is part of an increasingly-consistent across-the-board improvement in the Tide’s non-rev sports:

The Alabama men’s tennis team is returning to the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships for the second consecutive year after earning a No. 2 seed in the Austin Regional. The Crimson Tide (16-10) will take on No. 3 seed USF (17-7) in the first round of action on Friday, May 3 at 10 a.m. CT at the Texas Tennis Center in Austin, Texas. Texas (23-2) is the host and No. 1 seed and will play against No. 4 seed Tennessee Tech (10-13) on Friday afternoon.

This marks the 19th team appearance in the NCAA Tournament in program history, while it is the first time the team has gone in back-to-back years since 2009-10. Alabama is one of 10 teams in the Southeastern Conference to earn a bid in the tournament. The Tide will enter the tournament with a 16-10 record, including seven wins over nationally-ranked opponents.

Best of luck to all of ‘Bama’s competitors.

That’s about it for the day; with graduation taking place on Saturday, we are fast-approaching the offseason. #Pray4RBR.

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