This is my first Jumbo Package here, so go easy on me guys.
Instant Reactions: Polls and Pundits
The Crimson Tide moved up to No. 2 in the weekly coaches poll released Tuesday. TCU slipped to No. 3 while Ohio State remained No. 1. The Crimson Tide had one first-place vote, just as it did in the preseason poll when it was No. 3. Alabama handled then-No. 20 Wisconsin 35-17 on Saturday night. No. 2 TCU had a fight at Minnesota on Thursday before winning 23-17.
There is little doubt in the minds of the voters who the two top programs are after week one of the college football season.
Alabama looked impressive and polished in its debut against Wisconsin. Ohio State looked downright scary with Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield and Braxton Miller looking like a natural and explosive playmaker at receiver.
Hopefully, the Tide can keep its number two ranking throughout the season. Maybe I'm just superstitious, but Alabama seems to not play as well when they are considered number one.
Respectful of Alabama’s speed and range, the longest ball that quarterback Joel Stave threw, as in from the line of scrimmage to where the receiver made the catch, was 21 yards. Even with that cautious approach, the Crimson Tide came close to at least three other picks.
Sure, there were still some complaints against the secondary. They allowed a fairly high percentage of underneath passes, Joel Stave racked up 228 yards, and they were flagged for three pass interference calls. However, in today's game, completely shutting down a team's passing game is rare.
Being able to stop the run and take away the deep pass is a benchmark for an elite defense. Alabama may allow the quick hits and dump offs, but as long as their tackling is sound after the catch, Alabama should be in good shape: No offense can support itself solely on those high percentage dinks and dunks
When you lose a long-time verbal but still land one of the top defensive linemen in the country, it more than balances out. Auburn added one of the country’s elite prospects on Friday. Several programs landed key recruits over the weekend, none bigger than Auburn scoring five-star legacy Marlon Davidson. The nation’s No. 2 strong-side defensive end and No. 23 prospect overall, Davidson immediately becomes the jewel of a class that moves up four-spots in the 247Sports Recruiting Rankings to No. 17.
Although not really a surprise, Davidson did commit to Auburn. Somehow, the Barn continues to attract an elite defensive lineman almost every single year, despite the rest of their defense being a dumpster fire.
Davidson is a game-changing prospect, but Auburn's class is still only ranked 17th. Though the Tide missed out on him, they already have a plethora of defensive line commits for 2016, and are strongly in the market for top talents like Rashan Gary, Rashard Lawrence,, and Lyndell Wilson.
"I like to talk to some of the recruits, I talked to Jalen Hurts, Kendell Jones, Chris Owens, and I sat by Jalen, it was pretty good," he said. "But I really try to enjoy it with my family, the recruits are going to be there with me, so I want my family to get acclimated and see how comfortable I’m going to be. So I like to be there mostly with my family and as a spectator to see what my position does on the field.
"We got put into a group message with Kendell, Chris, Jalen and some of the others guys and I can kind of feel the camaraderie. It’s nice and when we’re at the game we were saying, ‘that’s us in the next year or two.’ We kind of just respected the game more together, to see how large of a scale it is. They’re from Texas, so they play on a large scale, but it’s nowhere near like that at Alabama. So we respected the game more together."
Every year, there seems to be a core group of 'Bama commits that really bond and try to welcome in other high school players. Last year, that group was made up of guys like Blake Barnett, Calvin Ridley, Shawn Burgess-Becker, and Mekhi Brown.
For the second year in a row, it looks like the QB is spearheading the recruiting movement from the inside. I am very high on Jalen Hurts, and I think that in a couple of seasons, there will be a two-man QB battle between he and Barnett.
"I’m sitting out this year so I’m in the class of 2016," he said. "I’m taking eight classes this semester and I’m playing soccer so it’s too much going on. So I talked to Nick Saban and we agreed that I will not play for my JUCO team so I won’t lose one year of eligibility."
Pineiro has debated the move since he made his summer commitment to the Crimson Tide program in order to maximize his time on campus at the next level. A January arrival remains the expectation from both parties involved.
"I love the school and the program and I also have a chance to win a national title with Alabama," he said. "I felt at home and absolutely loved the school and the environment."
If you haven't already heard, the Tide's next kicker has potential to be a great one. Pineiro has quite a few videos posted on social media of himself kicking some ridiculously long field goals, and he seems like a kicker with a chip on his shoulder.
Several Alabama commits had big nights on Friday, but none could top five-star junior Najee Harris. In Antioch (Calif.)'s 47-22 win over Milpitas, Harris ran for a school-record 384 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 94 receiving yards and two touchdowns, per the Santa Cruz Sentinel. It adds up to 478 total yards. Three of his touchdowns were at least 70 yards.
2017 running back Najee Harris is a monster. He will likely be in contention for one of the top recruits in the country for his class. Here's to hoping he stays committed to Alabama for the next couple of years and is the successor to this year's 5-star Damien Harris.
I definitely recommend giving this article a click. They give statistical updates on every single Alabama commit so far this season.
The most recent transaction was the signing of OL Barrett Jones, and releasing OL Reese Dismukes. Dismukes spent the entire preseason with the Steelers, but as evidenced by the moves earlier Monday, and Sunday, the team is looking for the best players available, not who has been with the team the longest.
Jones was cut from the St. Louis Rams and then signed to the Steelers practice squad.... at the expense of Dismukes. There's just something vindictive about and Alabama center getting an Auburn center cut from a team.
"All things considered, it's a miraculous summer for him," Carroll said. "To play football under these circumstances and the stress that he's had to deal with and the uncertainty and all of that, Jesse's had a terrific summer. He played good football for us. He demonstrated fantastic resiliency to bounce back from all the things he's been through. Even in the last couple of weeks to play so hard and so tough, I'm really, really proud of him. He did a great job. Shoot, he's knocking on the door trying to make this club, too, just like everybody else. He fought very, very gallantly to do that. Most people, I don't know, would ever respond like he did. Remarkable."
Jesse Williams quickly became a favorite with the fans and locker room in Seattle after he was drafted, but struggled to get on the field due to knee issues. Then he had to have a kidney removed due to cancer this summer, and Williams has become almost a legend in the Pacific Northwest.
Williams got a little playing time in the preseason, but it was obvious his stamina would quickly deplete during the course of the game. He was cut from the 53-man roster, but Coach Carroll stashed him on the non-football related injury list, keeping Williams under team control and allowing him a chance to return after 6 weeks.
I love fullbacks.