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The Jumbo Package | 4.19.12

Mar 7, 2012; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dont'a Hightower (30) during pro day at the indoor practice facility at the University of Alabama.  Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
Mar 7, 2012; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dont'a Hightower (30) during pro day at the indoor practice facility at the University of Alabama. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE Birmingham : Mel Kiper Jr.: Alabama players 'so much more well prepared for what the NFL has to offer'

During a teleconference this morning, ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said Alabama players, particularly the ones available in the later rounds of next week's NFL Draft, are already in future teams' good graces thanks to the preparation they received under Nick Saban. For the players who are still available during the third-seventh rounds, it's good for a "half-a-round bump up," Kiper Jr. said. "People love the fact they're coached up so well; it's basically pro coaching," Kiper Jr. said. "They're so much more well prepared for what the NFL has to offer. Those kids will benefit from their career at Alabama playing for Nick Saban."

Listen to Trent Richardson discuss prom outing, Draft preparations |

"She made my night special," Richardson said of Alvis. "She's the prom queen. She's the big star in this situation." "Earlier during our football season we had sent her videos for her to get well in her fight with her cancer. It was big for me to go on that date."

White House experience never gets old for Nick Saban, Alabama players |

Saban will make his third trip to the nation's capital as the coach of the college football national champion today when Alabama visits President Obama at the White House. A number of Crimson Tide players will be there for the second time in the last three years, but for many others it will be the first. For either group, Saban said, there's no reason to undersell the trip. "Some of those experiences, seeing all those things, there are things that I'll remember from being a kid," Saban said. "Even though some of our guys will act like they're not really interested, I think they'll remember all those things."

Saban talks to ESPN about drug use in college football |

In an upcoming issue of ESPN The Magazine, writer Mark Schlabach explores the issue of marijuana use in college football, and among those interviewed for the feature was Alabama head coach Nick Saban. "If marijuana infiltrates your program, then everyone is going to do it and you've got a huge problem," Saban said. "If you don't test and do it right, that's what's going to happen -- because it's everywhere on college campuses."

SEC recruiting scorecard - SEC Blog - ESPN


2013 verbal commitments: 11

Spotlight: Linebacker Reuben Foster of Auburn, Ala., is not only the top linebacker prospect out there but he's the No. 2-rated player in the country, according to ESPN recruiting services. Alabama is rarely short of talent at the linebacker position and from all accounts, Foster won't have a problem fitting in. He registered 185 total tackles, including 144 solo tackles, 34 tackles for loss and 18 sacks as a junior

ESPN 150 members: 6 (2. ILB Reuben Foster of Auburn, Ala.; TE-H of O.J. Howard of Prattville, Ala.; RB Altee Tenpenny of North Little Rock, Ark.; RB Tyren Jones of Marietta, Ga.; OG Andy Dodd of Lindale, Ga.; ATH ArDarius Stewart of Birmingham, Ala.

Friends with Muscles: Where We Actually Interview a Pulitzer Prize Winner - Friends of the Program

In the latest edition of Friends with Muscles we talk all things Bama with Pultizer Prize winning writer for Tuscaloosa News and Tide, Aaron Suttles. We get a preirew of how daunting a task it will be to beat Alabama yet again this year and we put odds on how long it will take for someone to deface the Cam Newton statue in Auburn with a bag of fake money. Spooiler: It’s probably already happened.

Tide hopes to rebound after midweek loss to Georgia State | The Crimson White

After a mid-week loss to Georgia State, the Alabama softball team will travel to Athens for a three-game series against Georgia. The No. 2 Crimson Tide lost 5-1 on Tuesday to Georgia State, making its record 40-3. The Tide swept the Bulldogs (34-10) last season, when Georgia was ranked No. 1 in the country. The Tide saw the Georgia Bulldogs again during the Southeastern Conference Tournament last year but was unable to keep up their winning streak, with a loss of 4-2. Alabama has done well in the past against Georgia, going 31-13. Senior outfielder Jennifer Fenton said the team will be ready for the away games this weekend. "They’re a great team, but we’re going to string some hits together and play defense," Fenton said. "Our pitching is going to be on point this weekend."

Ultimate Texans " Are Luke Kuechly, Dont’a Hightower just what the Texans need at linebacker?

When defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was hired after the 2010 season, the Texans switched schemes from a 4-3 to a 3-4. That change placed more emphasis on finding multitalented outside linebackers who can terrorize quarterbacks. Phillips said a 3-4 team can never have enough outside linebackers. Coach Gary Kubiak wants at least three who can play on a regular basis. "When you’re a 3-4 team, you’re linebacker-oriented, obviously," Kubiak said. "We carried six defensive linemen last year. That’s unheard of for 4-3 teams that may carry 11 or 12." news: Draft's hottest prospect: Mark Barron's worth a top-10 pick

Back in my executive days with the Washington Redskins, when there was a tie between two players on our draft board, I always asked two questions: 1) Who will make the most Pro Bowls? 2) Who do you want to take to the Meadowlands to play the Giants? These two questions always helped break a tie. I've studied five games of Barron in action, and he's the player who would receive the most positive answers from those two questions. Barron is 6-foot-1, 213 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in the 4.5's. He is very smart; Nick Saban runs a complex defense at Alabama and Barron had no problem understanding it. He should be able to be the defensive signal caller for his NFL team. He is very athletic and has the ability to play man coverage versus tight ends, which is not common in a safety. He is also exceptional when playing zone defense. Barron has excellent instincts to break on the ball and the speed to cover a lot of ground. As a physical player and fine tackler, he often played linebacker in Alabama's nickel defense. When I evaluate Barron as a safety, I do not see anything he can't do. To me, he's a very safe pick.

Exploring Upshaw as option at 27 - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston

"This is a team that needed to make big strides with personnel on defense, and in Upshaw the Patriots get a talented, smart pass-rusher who could be scheme-versatile on the edge. And he can get to the quarterback," Kiper writes.

Arkansas Coaching Rumors: Garrick McGee To Be Announced, According To Report -

Last Wednesday we told you that two informed sources told us that Garrick McGee would be the new head coach at Arkansas. Today, we received further confirmation of those reports. Both sources we heard from today tell us to look for McGee to be announced no later than Monday (reminder both teams have their Spring games this Saturday).

New SEC member does something big to catch attention of Georgia football recruits | AJC College Sports Recruiting

Missouri is actively recruiting Georgia this year and has made early football scholarship offers to 13 rising seniors from this state, according to Rivals. "We’ve done a complete analysis of players that sign with BCS schools out of Georgia, and certainly out of the Atlanta area," Pinkel said. "The size and production of SEC and BCS is parallel to the Metroplex area in Dallas. The numbers out of Atlanta and Dallas are nearly identical. Both have great high school football. "What you do is go down there and figure out how many players from Georgia stay in the SEC and stay in the ACC, and how many leave the state and go elsewhere to play. We’ve got data on these kinds of things. And, if anything, it’s about identifying good players and selling Missouri. "We want to go down there with a good reputation of winning football games and graduating our athletes. It’s about marketing and developing trust … and slowly and slowly working ourselves into Georgia. We’re excited about doing that."

Robert Nkemdiche: Did Ole Miss sign his brother to get to consensus No. 1 prospect? | AJC College Sports Recruiting

Last spring, Denzel Nkemdiche, Robert’s brother, was a late academic qualifier out of Grayson. The speedy defensive back was hotly pursued by Ole Miss in late May, and committed shortly after returning from his official visit with the Rebels. It was a significant transaction because the boys’ parents would like them to play together in college. Did Ole Miss aggressively chase after Denzel in order to get Robert? "I’ve been scared to comment on anything like that because someone may think I’m talking about recruits," Ole Miss first-year coach Hugh Freeze told the AJC, referring to NCAA rules that prevent him from publicly commenting on any prospective student-athletes. The older Nkemdiche was signed by former coach Houston Nutt. "All I can say is that I’ve been thoroughly impressed with Denzel," Freeze said. "I wasn’t here when Denzel was signed but I can talk about him since he plays for us. Denzel has had a remarkable spring, and has one of the best attitudes and work ethics on our football team, so I’m thrilled to have him."