First off, a programming note: we're in the offseasonyist part of the offseason (one month until SEC Media Days, and nothing in between), so news has been slow (hence the lack of a JP Monday and Tuesday). As usual, we will continue to try to provide daily updates, but if we hit a dry spell (like this week), we may end up with two or three days rolled into one.
Take heart, we will make it to the promised land.
One Alabama class of 2014 signee got some good news recently.
Rochelle, Ga., defensive tackle Johnny Dwight said he got a waiver from the NCAA after originally falling short on his graduation exam. The waiver will allow him to enroll for the second summer semester.
Dwight said he came up short on the social studies portion originally, but filed for a waiver. Now, he said he's good to go.
Roll Tide. One down, two to go (Bo Scarbrough and Montel McBride). I have to say, I've never heard of this type of waiver situation before, and it doesn't sound like something that fills me with confidence in the system, but it is what it is, I suppose. For now, I'm just glad this kid will be on campus soon.
Looking back at my analysis of Dwight before signing day, I would say there is a strong possibility that he is looking at a redshirt regardless, but it's always good to have a good run-stuffing tackle on hand.
Alabama has a couple of holes to fill on its 2015 non-conference schedule. Cincinnati does not, but it's open to increasing its strength. According to a Tuesday report in the Cincinnati Enquirer, the two teams coming together for a game as soon as next season is not out of the realm of possibilities.
The Bearcats -- led by former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville -- are in talks with "several" SEC teams, including the Crimson Tide, according to the report. Though Cincinnati's 2015 non-conference schedule is full, it's toyed with the idea of finding a new opponent for when it re-opens its home field, Nippert Stadium, on Sept. 5, 2015. It's currently slated to host Alabama A&M but it's looking for a "more marquee foe." Cincinnati, which will play the 2014 season at Paul Brown Stadium, has some potential flexibility with an open date the following week, a time when many SEC schools like to play non-conference games.
This is interesting. First off, Bama opens the season with Wisconsin (neutral site), so adding a recognizable name (even if they aren't a real power) is a bit of a departure from the standard operating procedure of the last several years. Add in the fact that this would be an away game, and it seems even less likely. On the flip side, it would be fun to beat up on ol' Tommy one more time.
Sam Khan’s pick: Texas A&M at Alabama No doubt this is the choice. The Grove is fun, and Mizzou-Florida looks like it might have potential, but the Aggies and Crimson Tide have provided us with highly entertaining games the last two times they met. In 2012, Texas A&M went into Tuscaloosa, Ala., and pulled off a stunning upset and last season, Alabama’s offense put on a clinic, running all over the A&M defense and outlasting Johnny Manziel & Co. to exact a little revenge at Kyle Field. Now, the Aggies make their first trip to Bryant-Denny since that fateful November night in 2012 and there’s no Johnny Football this time around. The Aggies probably will have their quarterback situation established firmly at this point (whether it’s Kenny Hill or Kyle Allen) and the Aggies' offense should still be humming. The question is, will the defense be improved enough to put up a fight against the Crimson Tide?
I was in the stands in '12 for the heartbreaking loss. I might just have to make arrangements to be there for this beatdown.
1. A'Shawn Robinson, So., Alabama: The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Robinson led Alabama with 5.5 sacks last season as a true freshman and has barely scratched the surface of how good he can be. An end in the Tide's base 3-4 defense, he moves inside to tackle when they go to four down linemen. Those in and around the Alabama program will tell you that he's on track to be the best defensive lineman the Tide have had under Nick Saban.
What's coming this season... I can't even.
9. Jonathan Allen, So., Alabama: Yep, yet another one of those talented sophomore defensive linemen. The 6-3, 264-pound Allen has "star" written all over him and should help bolster the Crimson Tide's pass rush this season after playing in a reserve role last season. He has all the physical tools and instincts to be that finisher off the edge that Alabama has lacked the last couple of seasons.
The face of the NCAA expects to take the stand this week in the high-profile Ed O’Bannon trial. NCAA president Mark Emmert is set to testify on Thursday, Emmert told USA Today‘s George Schroeder.
According to Schroeder and USA Today‘s Steve Berkowitz, the O’Bannon plaintiffs originally put Emmert on their witness list and asked U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken to require him to appear as part of their case. Wilken rejected the plalintiffs’ request, but Glenn Pomerantz, the lead attorney for the NCAA, discussed the ground rules for Emmert’s testimony with Wilken during a pretrial conference.
That summary of the pretrial conference is laughable. It basically boils down to the lawyer asking the judge, "so we agree that I'll be able to treat the witness like a witness, correct?"
Delany: "The [collegiate model] is unique. It's very unique. It doesn't exist in Asia or Africa. It's been around for 100 years. It binds communities together. It provides opportunities. "It's imperfect as most American institutions are. Sometimes it's done really, really well. Sometimes it's done not so well. We've been a little bit stuck to be honest with you in making some of the evolutionary changes. [But] we're going to do that no matter what happens in these courts."
Slive: "The litigation is going to take care of itself but the areas in which we have the area to act, we are acting ... The student-athlete comes first. Maybe that hasn't been the philosophy over the last 20-30 years. It is the basis for the entire process we just spent three hours talking about." "It's a paradigm shift in how institutions think about what we do."
Like many of my SEC brethren, I've typically written off Delaney as a know-little blowhard. I have to say, though, he comes off really well in this piece. It's obvious that he's capable of expressing ideas that aren't idiotic, and that he is personally invested in this issue (and not just because the current system lines his pockets).
He's still a muppet, though.
Chaminade transfer Christophe Varidel is now officially a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Varidel, who was added to the RollTide.com roster, is in summer school at Alabama.
He will be eligible this season as a fifth-year senior. Varidel committed to Alabama in early May. He signed before the late signing period ended, but Alabama waited to add him on the roster until he was cleared by the NCAA after making his second transfer in as many seasons.