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12 figures who will define the 2019 NFL offseason

The 2019 NFL offseason will be defined by some blockbuster trades, a few high-profile free agents changing teams and a draft that’s about as wide open as any we’ve seen in the past.

The backdrop here are those individuals who will define these events once the calendar turns to March.

Multiple general managers are in position to change the fortune of their teams. One specific owner has a ton of work to do in order to keep his proud franchise relevant. Meanwhile, multiple veterans could change the dynamic around the NFL for next season.

It’s in this that we look at 12 figures who will define the 2019 NFL offseason.

John Dorsey, general manager, Cleveland Browns

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Alabama's 2019 recruiting class is so good it will make you sick

Nick Saban is on another level, folks. Alabama’s 2019 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 by 247Sports, and it’s easy to see why.

In fact, the program’s latest list of signees is so impressive all you Crimson Tide haters might feel inclined to rush to your nearest waste basket or toilet to throw up.

The big picture: With an average rating of 0.9438, the Alabama 2019 recruiting class has only one 3-star player out of 15 enrollees.

Saban landed two 5-star players at premium positions — offensive tackle and defensive end.Of the remaining 13 signees, just one is a 3-star player.That one player is placekicker Will Reichard, who is No. 1 at his position nationally.

But there’s more: The Crimson Tide also have 12 other players who have signed letters of intent. All 12 are 4-star players.

The bottom line: If you were hoping to see Saban’s empire finally crumble after watching Clemson route the Crimson Tide in the title game, think again.

Tua Tagovailoa is back again for another season and should be better than ever.Last year’s recruiting class was ranked No. 5 nationally, and Alabama’s 2020 recruiting class is projected to be No. 1.
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Report: Dolphins already targeting Tua Tagovailoa ... for 2020

The Miami Dolphins have a lot of work to do this offseason in order to become relevant following a disappointing 7-9 season in 2018.

While fans in South Beach are thinking short term, owner Stephen Ross apparently has his sights set on 2020.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Ross and Co. are already targeting Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for the 2020 NFL Draft.

“We keep hearing that owner Stephen Ross really, really likes Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and that getting a high 2020 draft pick is the priority,” Jackson reported on Wednesday.

In order for this to come to fruition, the Dolphins are looking to potentially add another first-round pick for the 2020 NFL Draft. If that’s the case, moving down from the 13th spot in April’s draft could make a ton of sense.

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Alabama's Quinnen Williams to buy grandma a new car with first NFL paycheck

Alabama star defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is about to become a very rich young man as he prepares to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

Projected to be a top-five pick, his first NFL contract is going to be flush with guaranteed cash.

The young man already knows what he wants to spend his first paycheck on, too, and what his mind is set on is incredibly sweet.

“I think I’m going to buy my grandma a car,” he said in an interview with TMZ Sports. Williams also said he wants to buy her some jewelry because she doesn’t really wear any.

The ‘Bama star lineman said his grandmother has been very tight with cash, but his impending NFL paychecks are going to change all that.

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Report: Jalen Hurts had visit with Miami coaches

Jalen Hurts is having himself quite a weekend.

The Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback is seeking a new college football program as a graduate transfer and has begun his process of evaluating teams. He visited with Maryland on Friday, Oklahoma on Saturday, and Sunday was his day in Miami.

According The Athletic’s Manny Navarro, Hurts met with Miami’s coaches and had dinner at Prime 112, a posh Miami steakhouse.

Navarro says Miami believes they have a 50-50 chance of landing Hurts.

Hurts spent three seasons at Alabama — starting two national championship games for the Tide. He has passed for 48 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his career.

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Steve Sarkisian reportedly will return to Alabama

Steve Sarkisian is headed back to a familiar place, according to a report.

Sarkisian was offered the Arizona Cardinals’ offensive coordinator position and reports on Friday indicated the sides were close to a hire. However, a day later reports said Sarkisian would not be Arizona’s offensive coordinator.

Instead, ESPN’s Dianna Russini says Sarkisian is headed back to Alabama to rejoin Nick Saban’s staff.

Sark was with Alabama as their offensive coordinator for the 2016 season before leaving to take the Falcons offensive coordinator job after Kyle Shanahan was hired by the 49ers. Sarkisian was fired after two seasons on the job and had another chance to continue as an NFL OC, but he apparently liked an offer from Saban more.

Saban needs to rebuild his offensive coaching staff after losing offensive coordinator Mike Locksley to Maryland, and the likely OC replacement, Dan Enos, to Miami.

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Why we needed the Kick Six

This is probably not going to be a popular opinion, but when Alabama football went down to Jordan-Hare and was shocked by a near-improbable play that immediately went down in the annals of sports history, a chain of events was set in motion that led us to this moment. It was a blessing, you know. […] Alabama Football: Why we needed the Kick Six - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.
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Most compelling matchups in college football Week 13

Rivalries galore dominate the storylines in Week 13’s edition of the most compelling matchups across the college football landscape.

There are several games where the top teams in the College Football Playoff hierarchy are in danger of toppling. While some upsets are far likelier than others, the raw emotion and competitive fire associated with these guaranteed annual meetings create an intangible X-factor where, frankly, anything is possible.

All of this makes these forthcoming matchups all the more tantalizing to dive into.

No. 4 Michigan at No. 10 Ohio State

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

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How Auburn attacks the Crimson Tide

Iron Bowl expectations are heavily leaned towards an Alabama football blowout. However, I expect this Auburn team to use a gameplan that has shown effectiveness against the Tide this season. What if I told you that the teams that had the most success against Alabama football this year ran the football? It would be surprising […] Alabama Football: How Auburn attacks the Crimson Tide - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.
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10 college football teams no one wants to face during bowl season

In about a month, bowl season will start in college football with the lower-profile games between less successful but still bowl-eligible squads. Every team has two games at most before the bowl slate is set, and some teams are playing so well right now that potential bowl rivals are kind of hoping that things work out so they can avoid that foe.

Which are the teams playing so well right now that nobody is going to want to face them in December and January? Some are obvious, and some are lesser-known. For some, they have a difficult style of play to game plan for, while others are simply going to have a huge chip on their shoulder. Here are 10 teams that are very much going to cause some trouble for someone in bowl season.

10. Michigan

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolverines are deserved favorites as they head to Columbus for the biggest game of their season, and as long as Jim Harbaugh beats Urban Meyer for the first time in the rivalry, they should see off Northwestern and make the Playoff. It’s far from a foregone conclusion — rivalry games are tough, especially on the road — but few teams are playing better than the Wolverines. They boast an exceptional defense and finally seem to have the offense capable of carrying them. Ask Penn State how their trip to Ann Arbor went — a 35-point loss. If they make the playoff, they’ll be a popular dark horse to win it.

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Nick Saban thinks he knows cause of Iron Bowl issues

Nick Saban has only lost 20 games during his 12-year coaching career at Alabama, and 20 percent of them have come to rival Auburn.

The Crimson Tide have gone 7-4 in the Iron Bowl under Saban. This year, the Tide are favored by more than three touchdowns against their rivals. Regardless of the point spread, anything can happen in the game, as Saban knows well from 'Kick Six' in 2013.

So what is it about the game that leads to the inconsistencies in play? Saban believes emotions overcome players, leading to mental mistakes:

The key for Bama is keeping their emotions in check so they don’t commit those mental errors. The Tide enter Saturday’s Iron Bowl 11-0 and on their way to a 15-0 season perhaps. This is looking like it may go down as Saban’s best team at Alabama ever, and one of the best college football teams ever.

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Players who will define Rivalry Week

The one week a year with the power to stir the soul of even the most apathetic college football fan is here—at long last, we’ve reached Rivalry Week. It’s thrilling when the matchups come with postseason implications, but the stakes feel high regardless. For the players, it’s a chance to perform in a way that will resonate for years to come. We’re highlighting the athletes whose names could very well be synonymous with their respective rivalries when we look back on 2018.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

We’ll start with the obvious, cause heck, the Tide’s sophomore signal-caller seems to be defining the whole season. In a world where the Bama defense is typically the team’s calling card and the quarterback position is something of an afterthought (Jake Coker, anyone?), Tagovailoa has been busy rewriting the school record books and could become the first Alabama QB to win a Heisman trophy. Stranger things have happened in the Iron Bowl, but with an Auburn squad that’s essentially irrelevant this season, Tagovailoa appears poised to shine in his first rivalry game as starter.

TaQuon Marshall, QB, Georgia Tech

While we were all wondering what happened to Bryce Love and the Stanford ground game, the Yellow Jackets were quietly racking up enough rush yards per game to lead the nation. That’s largely thanks to the scrambling quarterback tandem of Marshall and fellow part-time starter Tobias Oliver, who are one and two, respectively, on the team in rushing. While Marshall is inconsistent as a passer, he should be able to take full advantage of Georgia’s rather porous run defense. After all, what’s a better motivator than spoiling Playoff dreams?

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College football pick-six: Is Urban Meyer on the brink? Are Notre Dame and Michigan the wrong types of playoff teams? Will Colorado ever be good again?

Cliched storyline of the week

Back in the early 1950s, the best college football coach in America was a man named Frank Leahy. Leahy, the head coach at Notre Dame, was an offensive savant and a rampant perfectionist, and his record over the course of a decade at Notre Dame (with a respite for World War II in between) was mind-blowing: 87 wins, 11 losses, nine ties and four national championships. But then, in 1953 at halftime of a game against Georgia Tech, Leahy collapsed in the locker room.

It turned out that he was struck with both pancreatitis and nervous tension. But it was so bad at the moment that a priest actually administered Leahy the last rites. He retired at the end of that 1953 season after going 9-0-1, and he never coached again.

And that brings me to this:

What we know is that Ohio State’s Urban Meyer has a cyst on his brain that leads to terrible headaches. What we know is that given Meyer’s suspension earlier this year for his handling of the firing of former assistant Zach Smith, this has been Meyer's most stressful season since he arrived at Ohio State. And what we know is that he quit his last job at Florida because of a pattern of self-destructive anxiety.

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Heisman hopefuls: Week 12

A week before championships and rivalries are played, the nation's top players continue to jostle for position to be considered for the Heisman Trophy. The field for the finalists is nearly set, but there is still plenty of time for these productive ballers to create separation from the rest of the field or make up some ground. All of these players helped their teams to wins with big numbers this past weekend, and being part of a successful team could be the difference in where they finish in the race for the most sought-after trophy in the sport.

Here are the five players who proved in their latest games that they were worthy of the Heisman.

Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State Buckeyes 

Talk about a close call. The Ohio State Buckeyes escaped Annapolis with a hotly contested overtime win over Maryland, powered by the arms and legs of Dwayne Haskins.

The sophomore quarterback picked the Terps apart with his passing, finishing with 405 yards and three touchdowns. That’s supposed to happen. What wasn’t expected was Haskins finishing with 15 rushes for 59 yards and a season-high three touchdowns.

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Alabama RB Damien Harris leaves game with injury after 73-yard run

Damien Harris ripped off the longest run of the season for Alabama on Saturday, going 73 yards and rousing the home crowd at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Then, just as suddenly, everyone went absolutely quiet, because Harris remained on the ground with an injury.

Harris had landed hard on his shoulder, and it was a scary scene because he wasn’t moving for a while. Thankfully, he did get up after being attended to and jogged off the field.

Not long afterward, he walked into the locker room for further evaluation and treatment.

Harris is the best running back on ‘Bama’s roster, and the Crimson Tide will be hard pressed to replace what he can do if he does have to miss time. Though he’s been utilized sparingly, the senior has seven touchdowns on the ground.

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The Citadel trolls 'Bama on Twitter after scoring TD

Alabama is overwhelmingly the best team in the nation and has somehow gotten even better defensively since the start of November.

Both LSU and Mississippi State were shut out by the Crimson Tide, which touted that achievement on Twitter during the week as the team prepared to host The Citadel.

Well, as the old saying goeth, “pride cometh before a fall.”

The Citadel stunned ‘Bama early on Saturday, holding the Crimson Tide scoreless most of the first quarter. This development alone sparked a Twitter frenzy as folks mocked ‘Bama.

Then, the ultimate shocker. The Citadel scored a touchdown to tie the game up.

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Alabama Football: The good, not so good and the bad against Missouri

Alabama football continued its championship march Saturday night against Missouri. Check out the good, not so good and the bad in the game. When other championship contenders faltered Saturday, Alabama football continued its winning ways, beating Missouri 39-10. Overall the win was The Crimson Tide’s most impressive of the season. Let’s review the game by […] Alabama Football: The good, not so good and the bad against Missouri - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.
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Nick Saban dismisses concerns about Tua Tagovailoa’s knee injury

Nick Saban dismissed concerns about Tua Tagovailoa’s knee injury following Alabama’s win over Missouri on Saturday.

Tagovailoa threw for three touchdowns in Bama’s 39-10 victory over the Tigers. However, he left the game in the third quarter and did not return. Jalen Hurts took over as the Tide’s quarterback and went 7-of-8 for 115 yards, leading the team on one touchdown drive.

After the game, Saban was asked about Tagovailoa’s status and did not seem concerned.

“Tua’s okay, he had the same injury he had before. We just didn’t put him back in the game,” Saban told ESPN after the game.

Saban also said that Tagovailoa could have gone back into the game but they did not feel it was worth it.

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Top takeaways from college football Week 7

Four top-10 teams lost on Saturday. Yeah, college football Week 7 was absolutely bonkers, as upsets and crazy situations unfolded around the nation.

In addition to the huge upsets, we saw two teams brawl, two head coaches go at it from their sidelines and one of the best players in the nation exit his game with an injury.

Those are just some of the things we’re looking at as we survey the biggest happenings in Week 7.

Second-half surge keeps Ohio State perfect

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

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Tua Tagovailoa exits in third quarter with apparent leg injury

Tua Tagovailoa took off on a scramble in the third quarter as Alabama hosted Missouri Saturday night, and after he slid on the turf, he stayed down.

As Tagovailoa was attended to by trainers, his right leg was being looked at. Thankfully after a few minutes of being examined, he was able to jog off the field under his own power.

Jalen Hurts came into the game to replace Tagovailoa, who had already thrown for 265 yards and three touchdowns, including an 81-yard bomb on the game’s second play from scrimmage.

After Tagovailoa exited the game, he went into the medical tent for further treatment.

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