The Jumbo Package │02.04.14

Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide related links and quotes

SEC Baseball Preview 2014: Can Alabama Grow Into the SEC West Race? - Team Speed Kills

Prognosis | The polls are probably about right on this one: Best to take a wait-and-see approach while putting the Tide at a fringe-y Top 25 position. Alabama does draw both South Carolina and Florida out of the East, and has to travel to Columbia for the series against the Gamecocks; a 1-5 or 2-4 record in those game could be all it takes to keep them from breaking into the upper tier of West contenders. But the room for this team to improve is is there, and even moving into the upper half of the division would be visible improvement for Mitch Gaspard's program. This would be a good year for the Tide to do it.

This is a fair assessment of the team and the possibilities of a successful 2014 campaign. I don't know anyone who knows Bama baseball like RBR's very own RogerRBR, and he seems to feel that the team is set up for a very good year.

Hope for the best.

Hoover punter Tuck Borie set to join Alabama as walk-on |

Borie, a 6-foot-1, 198-pound starter for the Bucs, earned All-State honors as a punter for the 6A state champs in 2013 punting 48 times for an average of 38 yards per punt. Borie was particularly effective at pinning opponents deep in their own territory, dropping 24 of 42 punts inside the 20 with just three touchbacks. Borie also landed 12 punts inside the 10.  Borie will compete with incoming scholarship punter JK Scott for the vacated starting position at Alabama this fall.

Competition breeds excellence.

How Much Time Does Anthony Grant Have Left? - Team Speed Kills

Grant's predecessor Mark Gottfried got a midseason pink slip after missing the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons, with him missing the NIT in the second of those. He also had a sudden inability to beat Auburn crop up, with him losing four of his last five to the Plainsmen. If Grant misses the NIT this year, he'll be 20 games away from following Gottfried's exact trajectory of NIT-no postseason-fired. Based on that past precedent, Grant probably will be back next year barring an all-out collapse. His NIT campaign last year was better than Gottfried's last NIT season, and he still has time to try to pull out of this year's tailspin (though six of the last ten are road games).

Of course, Gottfried had five NCAA Tournament appearances to Grant's one.

I have no inside information, but something tells me Grant may just be gone baring an incredible turnaround by the team leading up to the SEC tourney. Unfortunately, the team is regressing, people close to the program are hinting that the players have quit and there is little to no positive news surrounding the program.

If the rest of the season turns into a  nose dive and Bama ends up missing the losing in the play in game for the SEC tourney, I could see Grant even stepping down to avoid the public shame of being fired...

Too much of a good thing? Recruiting experts respond to AJ McCarron's 5-star 'entitlement' comments |

"I think that's one of the things that is wrong with recruiting out of high school. You have guys who have never played the game of football rating these guys that they are a five-star because they're sitting behind a computer screen watching their highlight film. Well, their highlight film is supposed to be good the last time I checked. That's the kind of thing that ticks me off about recruiting and when these kids come in and they're five-stars and they expect to play right off the bat. It's a little entitlement and when they don't play off the bat, they get a little ticked off and they don't want to work."

Shurburtt, the National Recruiting Director at, flatly disagreed with McCarron's conclusion. "That wasn't five-star entitlement issues to cause that field goal to be returned. That's just something that happens in football," Shurburtt said, referencing how Alabama lost in dramatic fashion at Auburn. "The Sugar Bowl, you want to talk about five-star freshmen, Derrick Henry just about bailed AJ McCarron out of that game."

Sounds like to me Mr. Shurburtt is a little butt-hurt (see what I did there?)

AJ was a leader on a team that seemed listless for much of the season. We all heard reports that there were grumblings among certain players regarding playing time and that there were attitude problems. That tells me AJ's comments weren't all that far off base.

Recruiting sites make a living off of pumping up high schools players and elevating some to "elite" levels, even if the status is unwarranted. Recruiting sites have created this craze and now want to act like they aren't part of the problem.

Speaking of....

Has the college football recruiting media industry hit a bubble with fans? |

"I believe the recruiting industry has hit a bubble," Terry said. "To borrow a pop culture term, I think the industry has jumped the shark to a degree. Do you want to sit and watch kids you don't know on TV decide what school they're going to who you don't care about? Is that good TV? Are you interested in a high school player committing and decommitting three times over four months? I don't know that there's the same suspense there used to be that creates entertainment value.

Oh the good ole days when it use to be just Rivals and Scout. Now it's ESPN, 247, SBN, Rivals, etc. etc. Everyone has their own evaluation process and opinions on who the #1 player is.Take Matt Elam for example. He was a five star on one site and a three star on another. How could the evaluation of one player be that far off?

It's like Arminians and Calvinists arguing over Hebrews 6:4-6 (NO RELIGION)

Twitter has made the issue even worse. Now every guy with a keyboard thinks it's his (or her) job to inform the world where X player will commit, whether he's any good or not (regardless of how much film they've watched) or when they will commit (or de-commit).

There is peace in knowing the Bama staff does their own evaluations and pays no attention to recruiting rankings. Saban is going to find players who fit the Bama system and could care less what Rivals or 247 has to say about it.

National Signing Day 2014 predictions: Where will 27 top recruits commit? -

Bud Elliott, National Recruiting Analyst: Evans' has excellent visits to Alabama and Auburn, but I will be sticking with my pick of Auburn here, as both of Evans' parents went to Auburn and he lives in Auburn. I do think Alabama's style of defense is a better fit for him, however. In-home visits here could play a factor.

I would love to get Evans but I won't lose any sleep if we don't.

Football recruiting: Alabama commit Dominick Jackson following in his former Homestead coach’s footsteps | After School

According to Lewis, the biggest adjustment Jackson, a first-team All-Mercury News high school selection in 2011, faces is going from the relatively small pond of Bay Area high school and community college football to the bright lights of Southeastern Conference country. He noted that most players at Alabama are used to playing under a spotlight on their way to joining the Tide.

We forget how big of a transition it is for players who are going from small town star to just another fish in the pond. Some guys are built for the spot light but for others it takes a year or two to adjust. Which is all the more reason to ignore how soon a players sees the field. Some guys just need time to develop, put on weight (or lose it) or learn the system. Just because a player doesn't play in his first couple seasons doesn't make him a bust.

As its national reach widens, Alabama hasn't turned its back on its backyard |

"I think the players are a little bit more global in the way that they select their schools now, especially with the opportunity that they are looking for," Saban said at last year's National Signing Day press conference. "We feel like our state is very important. We feel that it's very important to do a good job over the top, in terms of knowing who the best players are and which one of those players has some interest in Alabama."

We've talked about this before but it's worth repeating...Just because a player comes from Alabama and is one of the state's top players doesn't mean Alabama has to recruit or sign him. We should be recruiting the kids that fit our system and those we feel would be a good fit for Alabama, regardless of his star status or what state he hails from.

Alcohol believed to be factor in crash that killed Auburn golf director Danielle Downey |

Downey, 33, a former Auburn University and professional LPGA golfer, died at East Alabama Medical Center shortly after the 10 p.m. accident on Thursday. The crash happened in the 300 block of Lee Road 57 in Auburn. According to the crash report released Monday evening by the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Downey was driving at a high rate of speed before she ran off the roadway, hit a tree, became airborne and then flipped several times. Downey was thrown from the vehicle, and landed in a ditch, according to the trooper's report. She was not wearing a seatbelt. Her 2011 Hyundai Sonata continued flipping before it came to rest in a yard

Horrible news coming out of Auburn. Thoughts and prayers to her family and those close to her.

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