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Jumbo Package: Wednesday, December 14

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It’s Gump Day!

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama vs Florida Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Kiffin laughs off Alabama rumors, credits Saban for saving career as he starts at FAU

He also said he's taking a page out of Saban's book in ignoring what the media says or writes about him. "Why am I going to waste my time?" he recounted from a conversation with Saban. "No disrespect ... I don't care what they say."

He appears to not be taking the opportunity lightly. Kiffin admitted that, in his past jobs, he "was figuring things out one day at a time instead of having a plan." Kiffin was so worried about the Xs and Os on offense that he forgot he needed to manage an entire program, which he will do now as he takes a page from Saban by bringing a CEO approach to his new job.

Kiffin noted that prominent names like Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll were fired from head coaching gigs before finally figuring everything out at future stops. Carroll did not become a great coach until his third job (taking over USC in 2001 at the age of 50). Kiffin is starting his fourth at age 41.

"As hard as some of those times were, when you go through those experiences, you learn from them," he said. "You now know the answers to things."

This entire article is a pretty good read with a lot of quotes directly from Kiffin himself. I did not like Lane very much up until he was hired here at Alabama, but he has since won me over. I will be rooting for him to turn FAU into a powerful program... And stay there just long enough to be ready to come back when Nick Saban retires.

But enough about Kiffin. On to other bits of news!

Tide leads nation with 6 on CBS Sports All-America team

Alabama led the way with three first-team selections and six overall nods on CBS Sports 2016 College Football All-America team, which was announced Tuesday.

Offensive tackle Cam Robinson, defensive end Jonathan Allen and linebacker Reuben Foster were selected to the first team -- and all three upperclassmen are nearing unanimous All-American statuses -- while offensive tackle Jonah Williams, linebacker Tim Williams and defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick were named to the second team.

Another day, another All-America team led by Tide players. Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster are two of, if not the best players in the entire nation. Allen in particular may even end up in the discussion to potentially be the 1st overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

Cam Robinson had a heck of a season, though many carried over their impressions from his weak sophomore campaign and continued to say he was having a bad season this year.

The second team selections are a bit interesting. I personally thought that both Ross Pieschbacher and Bradley Bozeman had better seasons than did Jonah Williams along the offensive line. He played well, but it felt like the right side of the line let by too many rushers all year.... Of course, that could have solely been a product of the turn-style at right guard all season.

2016 NFL Mock Drafts

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: Howard lacks the flashy statistics most often associated with first-round prospects, but he is a freakish athlete at 6-6, 242 pounds who may very well wind up being more productive in the NFL than he has been for the Crimson Tide. Pairing him with former Alabama star Julio Jones would give Matt Ryan a dominant 1-2 punch of pass-catchers while also complementing the Falcons' improved running game as a blocker and seam threat.

O.J. Howard is an interesting prospect for those of us who place too much stock into following the draft. On one hand, he’s a freak-of-nature tight end with wide receiver speed, basketball player size, a willingness to block, and impressive YAC ability. However, a combination of few chances to ever do much in the Alabama offenses and inconsistent hands to go along with a seemingly meek attitude when in contested catch situations have to raise some flags for NFL scouts.

Some may think that he could be SO much more than he ever was in college (as many of us thought every single year he was on campus), and still others may view him as just another player who didn’t live up to expectations.

In any case, can you imagine O.J. in the high-powered Falcon’s offense? Matt Ryan showed in the past how much he loved throwing to tight end Tony Gonzalez, and has sorely missed that big threat. Pair that with Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman, and you might be talking about the most exciting NFL offense in years.

Four-star safety Daniel Wright has flipped his commitment from the Florida State Seminoles to the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Wright originally committed to FSU on June 15 while attending a recruiting camp in Tallahassee.

However, he officially visited Tuscaloosa on Nov. 12 for Alabama’s 51-3 win over Mississippi State. Wright also received a visit from Mario Cristobal, the Tide’s offensive line coach, last Friday.

The real power move by Alabama, though, came on Monday when Nick Saban paid Wright a visit. Clearly, it had an effect, as the 4-star prospect from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida flipped his pledge two days later.

Alabama now has 24 total commitments and still has the No. 1 spot in the 2017 recruiting class rankings.

We didn’t really talk about this move last week when it happened, so I’ll mention it now. Wright is the 15th ranked safety in the nation and the 158th overall player. If you thought a Wright playing safety sounded familiar, that’s because his older brother was Major Wright, the Florida Gator safety from back in the Tebow era.

Wright is a 4-star safety with instincts and football savvy, but will most likely need to redshirt in year 1, as he’s under 170 pounds and doesn’t have any standout athletic traits to boot. Regardless, he’ll be a much welcome addition to a depleted safety group for the Tide.

Wright expects to enroll this spring.

Washington's passing attack will be Alabama's biggest challenge yet

The Huskies are equipped with one of the Pac-12's best quarterbacks -- and a former Heisman Trophy candidate -- Jake Browning. With stealthy playmakers, like John Ross, Dante Pettis and Chico McClatcher, who all had more than 560 receiving yards this season, Washington provides the toughest challenge Alabama's secondary has seen.

Browning averaged 252.3 yards per game, but what is more impressive is that he threw 42 touchdowns to just seven interceptions this season. He completed 63.2 percent of his passes and tied for second in the Pac-12 with 43 completions of 20-plus yards in 2016.

Browning also completed at least 60 percent of his passes in 10 of 12 games this season, and threw multiple touchdowns in every game except a 26-13 loss to USC.

"[Browning is] a quarterback who really understands his offense very well, executes it very well, gets the ball out of his hand quickly, knows when to throw the (run-pass option) and when to hand the ball off, and can make plays down the field, as well, and is athletic enough to scramble, extend plays and make plays with his feet," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "This is probably as good an all-around player at that position that we've played against all year long."

I have to admit, when Alabama drew the straw of playing Washington and many of you were celebrating that it was the easiest matchup, I was already beginning to sweat.

While I think that Ohio State is led by a QB who would be eaten alive by the Bama pass rush and Clemson would get too emotional and lose control of the game, Washington comes into the game with nothing to lose and everything to prove to the nation. They have an athletic defense, an exception, mistake-free QB, and a plethora of playmaking receivers. If the Tide offense comes out and lays another egg, I’m not sure the defense will be able to keep the points down for an entire game against a passing game this deadly.

On the other hand, though, maybe I’m dead wrong and the Huskies really have just benefited from a soft schedule. Here’s to hoping for that.