Happy Monday, everyone. With National Signing Day fast approaching, the bulk of the Alabama news centers around recruiting, which is just as well since I doubt any of you are dying to discuss a Peyton Manning vs. Cam Newton Super Bowl. We will start with the big parade that was held on Saturday then move on to some of the weekend's visitors:
Bottom line: Alabama proved its dynasty wasn't over by rebounding from a loss to eventual 10-win Ole Miss. If not for Arkansas' crazy fourth-and-25 conversion against Ole Miss, the Crimson Tide wouldn't have played for the SEC championship. The winning percentage for Alabama's FBS opponents was easily the best by a national champion in the BCS and CFP eras.
Saban is at the mic. He talks about loving this team and their attitude. Winning 12 straight elimination games shows something about this team, Saban said. This is about 2015, not the other titles. Saban said this is a memory that can last forever.
Interesting tidbit about the degree of difficulty for this Alabama team. Winning the final twelve games against that schedule is truly remarkable.
Oh, where to begin with this list. The nation's top three linebackers will be in Tuscaloosa in five-stars Ben Davis, Lyndell Wilson and Mique Juarez. The Crimson Tide are favored to land Davis and Wilson. The 247Sports Composite also favors Alabama for cornerback Nigel Knott, cornerback Shyheim Carter and defensive end Terrell Hall. It wouldn't be surprising to see the national champs move in front for more targets following the weekend.
If Alabama was somehow able to land all three of Davis, Wilson, and Juarez, the 2018 team might have the best overall corps of linebackers college football has seen in some time. Davis and Wilson certainly seemed to be quite comfortable hanging out with Saban over the weekend, and Juarez seemed excited about his visit as well.
The four-star prospect has yet to receive the ACT score he needs to enroll at Alabama, but will retake the test Feb. 6, his high school coach, Brandon Allen, told AL.com. Emmons needs a score of 17 or 18, Allen said. He got a 15 or 16 the last time he took the test, Allen said. Even if Emmons doesn't get the score he needs Feb. 6, Allen said he believes Emmons can still retake the test another two or three times.
Good to see that he doesn't have to bring the ACT score up too far considering the Desherrius Flowers situation from last season. It would be an unmitigated disaster for this class if the only RB commit failed to qualify.
"I feel like they're making me a high priority," Pennamon said. "They just lost two guys and they need a couple of guys. The opportunity is there." He measured in at 6-foot and 3/4, weighing 217 pounds. "I just have to sit down with my family and we'll discuss that and we'll make the decision come a week and a half," Pennamon said. "They did a great job. My host was great. I had a great hostess. All of my questions were answered. They just left a really good impression on me. I had academic questions. I wasn't really focused on football because I know what they do in football. I wanted to get the academic side.
You have to wonder if the Emmons situation is an impetus for Alabama prioritizing Pennamon.
One of Alabama's top visitors from last weekend now has Alabama in his final two. Jared Mayden, a four-star cornerback from Sachse, Texas, tweeted that he would choose between the Crimson Tide and Oklahoma on National Signing Day. The one-time Oregon commit said he would make his decision at 8:15 a.m. CT in the school's auditorium.
Alabama hosted around 20 highly-rated recruits for official visits this weekend, including several uncommitted four- and five-star recruits. Here is a rundown of those visitors were posting on social media throughout Sunday, including a picture of Tide coach Nick Saban doing the popular dance move "the dab" with five-star linebacker Lyndell Wilson:
Let's apply the annual LSU rule that seems to work extremely well:
- Prospect is from somewhere in Louisiana South of Highway 84? Check,
- LSU expressed interest throughout the cycle? Check,
- Prospect does not have family connection to another contender: Check,
- Confirm that Alabama is not the top competitor: (It's Florida, Check),
- Predict prospect to LSU
This is great. LSU fans can try and minimize it all they like, but the fact is that the current five-year streak can be partially attributed to Saban beating Miles for several elite Louisiana players.
Braves coach Glenwood Ferebee said the move had to do with Yulee, a 6-foot, 250-pound linebacker, not getting the SAT score he needed to immediately qualify to play next season. "His grade-point average is fine, but he still has to get the score," Ferebee said. "To my knowledge, Marshall is the only school that takes partial qualifiers. So if he doesn’t get the score, he still has a place to go." Ferebee said Marshall coach Doc Holliday sold Yulee on that opportunity. "He told him, ‘Nobody can offer you what we can offer you, whether you make the score or not,’ " Ferebee said. "But we’re going push hard to get him eligible. But if he doesn’t get it, he can redshirt and play (at Marshall) and not have to go the junior college route."
This is an interesting story that highlights what should be a huge advantage for Marshall against the rest of their conference. I wasn't aware of this previously, but different conferences have different rules regarding academic non-qualifiers. The advantage of signing a non-qualifier is that they don't become a "counter" against the 85 limit until they qualify. This allows a player who is just short of qualifying for athletic competition to enroll in school and complete the necessary requirements to qualify for his scholarship, or to sign and "gray-shirt" then get admitted into school once he completes them on his own (see: Bo Scarbrough). While the SEC allows only two football non-qualifiers per year, Conference USA has no restriction whatsoever. Most of the institutions in that conference have self-imposed limits, but not Marshall. They apparently embrace their reputation as something of a rehab facility for the academically challenged, stashing away as many as ten of them in a single season. Many of them have legitimate Power Five talent. This year they grabbed Yulee, last year it was a DB who had been committed to UGA. Makes you wonder how they ever lose in that league.
"He's still committed to Louisville," Thomas said. "We just went out on an official visit, but he's still committed. ... His mind is made up. He's not wavering. We always enjoy Alabama when we go over there, but his mind is made up." "(Pass) said that he appreciates everything Alabama has done and the way that they always reached out to him, but he's convinced Louisville is where he needs to be and that's a better fit for him."
No surprise here with Jalen Hurts already on campus and impressing.
For the second straight year, a former Alabama running back is returning to the SEC after spending a season at Hutchinson Community College. Tyren Jones, who was dismissed by the Tide last March, has committed to South Carolina, according to multiple reports. Jones rushed for 655 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per carry in eight games for Hutchinson last season.
Poor Tyren made a comment about leading the Cocks to a national title. At least the young man has high aspirations. He certainly has plenty of talent that gives him a real chance to star in Columbia.
That should do you for today, folks. Have a great week.