First off, let's start off with some congratulations for some former players. James Carpenter and Jesse Williams both took home Super Bowl rings last night, and Eddie Lacy took home some rookie of the year hardware over the weekend.
According to The Australian, Williams is the first native Australian to win a Super Bowl ring. Though he fell to the fifth round, Williams was coveted by the Seahawks, who gave up two picks later in the 2013 NFL Draft to move up and select the tattooed defensive tackle. He was placed on injured reserve near the end of training camp and effectively shelved for the season.
Eddie Lacy's first season in the NFL came to a close early last month, but the awards for how he performed haven't stopped. Lacy, sporting a slick jacket, collected the Associated Press' Offensive Rookie of the Year award Saturday at the NFL Honors awards show in New York City.
The award will go next to the Pro Football Writers Association Rookie of the Year award he picked up last month on his trophy shelf. According to CBSSports.com's Will Brinson, Lacy accepted the award from former Auburn star Cam Newton and said, "Lemme start by saying ‘Roll Tide.’"
Roll Tide, indeed, Eddie.
The Crimson Tide is now 9-12 overall and 3-5 in the SEC. So pressure is mounting around coach Anthony Grant, who's midway through his fifth season at Alabama. He agreed with the idea this is his most difficult coaching job of his career.
"Yeah, it's tough. Obviously, any time you lose, that's always going to be a challenge for any coach," Grant said Saturday night. "My thing right now is trying to get our team to understand in terms of the adversity that we're going through, the character that we need to have and the individual pride and the individual competitive nature that you've got to have in these situations."
As the deficits have grown, body language sagged and communication suffered.
National Signing Day time. It's NSD week, everybody. The long list of recruits will put pen to paper this Wednesday and officially become members of the Crimson Tide. We already have a piece up this morning detailing the recruits still in play for Bama. Tomorrow, we will have a NSD primer that will let you know what to expect from NSD, and will include a schedule for the announcement times of all major recruits. Then Wednesday, we will have wall to wall NSD coverage, with constantly updating open threads, so we can all experience the signings as they happen.
For now, let's take a quick look at the most intense battle Bama has going right now.
According to Evans' father, Alan Evans, coaches from both Alabama and Auburn attended the five-star athlete's grandfather's 80th birthday party on Saturday night at a hotel in Auburn along with nearly 200 other friends and family members.
"When we got to the party about eight o'clock it was a packed house at the hotel," Evans told AL.com. "We walked in and the first people we saw was the entire Auburn staff standing there on our left and to my right was Kirby Smart and the Bama staff. I was like 'This has never happened in Auburn before and probably never will again.'
"As we went in, we were pulled left and right all night from Auburn to Bama. The coaches shook hands and talked but you could tell they were there for one thing and one thing only. Then the live band started playing and the Alabama and Auburn coaches hit the dance floor. It was unbelievable. I just couldn't stop laughing."
As the coaches battled for the attention of the family, Evans said family members and friends at the party began to jokingly cheer for either Alabama or Auburn.
"It was like it was a football game but it was being played inside the hotel," Evans said. "Auburn took on Alabama and have to say Auburn stood their ground but Kirby Smart began to take over as the night went on. He was all over the place, talking with everybody he saw. You would have thought he was at home in T-town.
This is one of the wildest stories I've heard in a while, and it reminds me that there's no way I could ever do what these coaches do. Here we have two opposing groups of grown men who are very nearly screaming "LOOK AT ME" at an eighteen year old boy. I can't imagine. The world these people exist in is just so bizarre.
At any rate, I hope that Gus's presence coupled with Saban's absence isn't an issue, but from the sound of it, Kirby isn't letting this one go quietly. We won't know for sure until Wednesday.
Alan said his son's announcement will take place as originally planned at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, National Signing Day, at the Auburn High School gymnasium.The event will not be open to fans, with only media, friends and family allowed in to the event.
4. Alabama Commitments: Bo Scarbrough (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Tuscaloosa County), Keith Holcombe (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Hillcrest) Simply put, Scarbrough is the alpha male of athletes. A big, strong, punishing runner, Scarbrough is able to get away with his upright style by using quick feet and good vision in traffic to avoid the toll of direct hits on his body. His size and very soft hands out of the backfield make him an option to line up at receiver when not getting carries. With high upside as an outside linebacker as well. Holcombe has a great frame to work with at outside linebacker or tight end, but his exceptional range should make him a prime candidate as a weakside defender that cover a lot of ground in pursuit. Superb tackling form should get him on the field early on special teams as he grows into his body.
We already talked about him a bit in our Better Know Your Bama Recruits series, but Bo is a ridiculous athlete. He should be a monster for us in the coming years.
In the last four years, nobody in college football has signed more four- and five-star players than Alabama and Florida, according to ESPN's recruiting rankings. T
he Crimson Tide and Gators are dead even with 66 apiece during that span, which covers the 2010-13 signing classes. The Gators lead the way with eight five-star prospects during the last four classes. With national signing day approaching on Wednesday, it's a reminder that merely raking in a bunch of highly rated players isn't a guarantee for success.
From a national perspective, after Alabama and Florida, Texas checks in with 60 four- and five-star signees over the last four years. Then it's Georgia with 57 and Auburn and Florida State with 54 apiece.
Interestingly enough, the only four schools in the country that have won 11 or more games in each of the last three years are Alabama, Oregon, South Carolina and Stanford. Of the four, only Alabama has signed more than 33 four- and five-star prospects over the last four years. The Gamecocks have signed 33, which is in the middle of the pack in the SEC, while the Ducks have signed 30 and the Cardinal 25.
Consider this your regular reminder that signing stars is nice, but development really is king.