Being a down week and all, the Jumbo Package is going to be a bit all over the place today, so bear with me guys. At the time of writing this, transfer QB Dakota Pruk0p still has not announced his decision to play for either Alabama or Oregon. The graduate student is a talented and experienced dual threat QB with a powerful arm and some wheels, but is coming from FCS level competition. It's interesting that Alabama is looking at yet another senior quarterback, after both of the last two being one-and-done. At this point I have to think the staff is holding out with 1-year QB rentals until Blake Barnett is ready to go.
Ed. Note: Dakota Prukop has chosen Oregon. As such, I've added a poll -E
Now, onto the links!
Crimson Tide quarterback Jacob Coker, running back Kenyan Drake, center Ryan Kelly, defensive tackle Jarran Reed, linebacker Reggie Ragland and cornerback Cyrus Jones all earned invites to the all-star game Tuesday, and Savage said he expects all six Alabama players will accept their invitations.
The senior bowl is often a bit of an afterthought, considering the best college football players tend to leave for the NFL before their senior year. However, both Ragland and Reed have very legitimate shots at going in the 1st round this year, while Drake, Kelly and Jones are all but sure bets to get drafted somewhere in the middle rounds. Some players really shine in this all-star game and can use it to boost their draft stock. Kenyan Drake is probably the guy with the most to gain, as he will hopefully be able to show the scouts some of the ability that he hasn't been able to due to injuries and playing on the same team as Derrick Henry.
"He was pretty cool, a laid back kind of guy," Jennings said of Pruitt. "He's down with it and he likes to interact with people. He's nice. He actually told me he was recruiting me (a little) before he went to Georgia. He was recruiting my brother (Anfernee Jennings) and he came to one of his games, met me and started looking at me before he left. He told me how much he was thinking about me and he said he was happy I'm going to school there.
"It's sweet just to know I've been on his mind and he wants me to play under him. It's nice to have a coach that's down for you. He was making sure I was healthy."
Pruitt, Nick Saban and Mel Tucker could all factor into coaching Jennings extensively in college if he's to play within the secondary. Other positions have been and continued to be discussed.
Jeremy Pruitt is already out there recruiting for Alabama, and hiring him could be one of the biggest blessings in the recruiting world. My biggest fear of losing Kirby Smart to Georgia was that it could be the tipping point for recruits such as Demetris Robertson and Ben Davis who are pretty much between the Tide and the Bulldogs. But taking Pruitt from Georgia should theoretically make that loss a wash and put the two teams back on an even playing field.
Saban has conceded that when Alabama offers a scholarship to a player they might get a "Bama Bump" in the rating system — a theory the Tide's No. 1 class recruiting rank (247sports) the past five years might just validate.
"Sometimes I don't know what comes first in recruiting rankings, the cart or the horse," Saban said in an AL.com story.
"When a guy gets recruited by what I'm going to call high profile programs, he gets ranked higher. That's where I question the validity of how accurate some of those things may be."
The article itself has a chart showing each team's starter at every position compared to the other, and Alabama's players were ranked higher than the Spartans on all but a couple of positions. On one hand, it goes to show just how dominant Nick Saban has been at recruiting since he's been at Alabama. On the other, you have to be really impressed with where Mark Dantonio has his team right now, despite mostly sub-par recruiting rankings.
And even Saban himself has validated the "Bama Bump" idea. It can be really difficult to actually quantify, as recruiting services make their rankings before the players commit most of the time, but these guys are tracking college coaches and noting that "because Nick Saban is visiting this 10th grader, he must be really good. Better rank him highly."
There is still no doubt that Alabama has been the best, but it is probably not as vast a difference as Alabama fans would make it out to be.
"I think Eddie (Lacy) is a great football player and he cares about it," Rodgers said. "Every now and then, we need to hold each other accountable and he did a good job of stepping up and taking ownership of that where he misstepped."
"We all make mistakes. My message last week was that he's our guy," Rodgers continued. "We need him. We need him to compete for us and play well and we need him in these winter months as we're trying to make a run. He responded really well and I'm proud of that."
Lacy struggled with injuries, becoming overweight, being late to team meetings, and displaying overall apathy towards his career for most of this season, leading to Coach McCarthy to pull the plug and sit him on the bench for a couple games. The benching was all it took to get Eddie's attention, and the stud running back responded with a massive 125-yard day last weekend. Most coaches aren't willing to bench their star players, so credit McCarthy for having the guts to do so, and having it pay off.
Also, check out the 1:02 mark on the highlight video in the link. Lacy is a monster.
Dalvin Tomlinson has faced and beaten most, if not all, of the Tide's defensive linemen in wrestling. That includes all three potential 2016 first round picks and promising freshman nose tackle Daron Payne, who can already bench press 500 pounds.
Maybe the only defensive lineman Tomlinson hasn't wrestled is sophomore Da'Shawn Hand, a former Virginia state champion wrestler whom Rivals ranked as the top overall football prospect in last year's recruiting class.
"We're waiting to see that," A'Shawn Robinson said, "but they won't let that happen."
If you don't click on any of the other links today, click this one. One paragraph does not do justice to the entire story of Tomlinson: Football, wrestling, soccer, musical instruments, drawing, all are bits and pieces of the intriguing life of Dalvin Tomlinson. I've been waiting for him to break out since he first got playing time and I saw his quick-twitch abilities as a freshman. But injuries have derailed Tomlinson's career so far. Seeing him get real playing time and making a difference this year has been awesome, and he should be the leader of the defensive line in 2016.