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Jumbo Package: Thursday 19 February 2015

A few links to help get you through the winter doldrums.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Re-ranking 2012 recruiting classes based on their on-field production |

A two-year national title drought for the Crimson Tide may be cause for alarm in Alabama, but most programs would be thrilled with this three-year run. Many from this group contributed to Alabama’s 2012 national title as freshmen, and this class played a major role in the Tide’s SEC title this season. It included the nation’s best receiver (Cooper) and the back (Yeldon) whose touchdown catch against LSU in ’12 may have saved the national title run. Ragland’s decision to return to campus in ’15 should bolster a defense that was already set to be positively salty. This haul also included another starter on that ’12 national title team: Cornerback Deion Belue was a juco transfer who played right away opposite Dee Milliner.

You know where your program is when two years without a national title is called a "drought." It's certainly no coincidence that the three top ranked classes from three years ago all made the inaugural playoff. Recruiting rankings are an inexact science, but they clearly have some merit.

5 former Alabama players with the most to gain at the NFL combine in Indianapolis |

Entering the combine, Yeldon is the No. 5 running back in ESPN's positional ranking. The overall value of running backs has dipped in recent years and there are some solid players in this year's draft. Heisman runner-up Melvin Gordon tops the ESPN ranking followed by Georgia's Todd Gurley.

TJ definitely has a ton to gain with a standout Combine performance. The RB field is quite crowded this year, and he needs to show off the all-around game that can make him successful at the next level. There may be backs who are bigger and/or faster, but few will offer his versatility.

Could Carver-Montgomery five-star standouts Lyndell Wilson and Marlon Davidson play together in college? |

"I've been knowing him since the eighth grade," Wilson said. "It was a dream that we always talked about playing at the same high school and it happened. We're both being recruited hard and we've got the majority of the same offers. We always have talked about it, going to the same school. If it happens, it would be a dream come true."

Two of the top high school football players in the country happen to live in Montgomery, have interest in both Auburn and Alabama among others, and are presenting themselves as a potential package deal? I can't imagine there will be any drama here.

Nick Saban could get highway named after him in native West Virginia |

Lawmakers have put together a resolution to dub a portion of U.S. Route 19, near the place of Saban's birth in Fairmont, W.Va., "Nicholas Lou 'Nick' Saban, Jr., Expressway". Saban actually grew up and graduated high school nine miles south of Fairmont in a community known as Monongah.

This would be quite an honor. Obligatory.

San Diego GM explains why former Alabama star D.J. Fluker's unique, important to Chargers |

"We know he's a great run blocker. He can move people and he's got great effort getting out to the second level. His enthusiasm at run game, you can see that on tape, you can see that live. But pass protection, he can do it out there. There's no doubt."

DJ has been a bit maligned for his pass protection early in his career, but it sounds like his coaching staff is quite high on him.

Jameis Winston: I wish I played for Michigan's Jim Harbaugh - College Football -

"That was a blessing, to meet a guy like that," Winston said. "I made a reference, back when he was in Indianapolis in '95, he had a great year that year. So, it was just an honor meeting him and all of his accomplishments and the type of coach that he is. I wish I could have played for him."

Doesn't seem like a very smart thing to say, though there is a decent chance that Jimbo wishes Winston could have played for Harbaugh too.

West Virginia Mountaineers athletic department gets 2 years' probation for recruiting violations - ESPN

In addition to the probation, West Virginia self-imposed penalties adopted by the panel that include a reduction of telephone contacts in the 14 sports for portions of the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years, reduced off-campus recruiting in football, women's soccer, women's basketball and men's basketball, and official visit restrictions in women's soccer. The football team also was stripped of one scholarship for the 2013-14 academic year.

One scholarship is minor stuff. Meanwhile, Lee County residents fume over the fact that West Virginia is getting "hammered" while all the dastardly deeds that are surely going down in Tuscaloosa remain ignored.

Swimming and Diving Wins Double Gold on Day Two of the 2015 SEC Championships - ROLLTIDE.COM - University of Alabama Official Athletic Site

The Tide snapped Auburn's string of conference 200 freestyle relay titles at 12, becoming the first team other than the Tigers to win the sprint event since 2002. It was Alabama's first SEC relay win since 1994 and its first 200 freestyle relay titles since 1992.

That's always a good thing. Roll Tide!