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Jumbo Package: Alabama cleans up on JUCO National Signing Day

Alabama addressed a lot of immediate needs with JUCO signing class

Mark Wilson/Getty Images


It is no secret that Alabama is losing some long-time veterans for next season. Recruiting has been stellar, of course, but in some areas the Tide want players that are capable of instantly competing for a starting spot, notably along the lines.

Mission accomplished.

JUCO offensive tackle becomes first official member of Alabama's 2017 signing class |

The 6-foot-7, 295-pound California native committed to Alabama in June. Baker is the top junior college offensive and the No. 4 overall JUCO prospect in the Class of 2017, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Alabama will have a need at tackle if/when star junior left tackle Cam Robinson declares for the NFL draft. In addition to Baker, the Tide also has commitments from five-star offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood and two four-star offensive tackles, Jedrick Willis and Kendall Randolph.

T Elliot Baker, and DE Isaiah Buggs highlight the class: We've covered each of them in prior articles and in yesterday's JUCO signing post. I just wanted to gloat for a bit and to remind you to read all of yesterday's JUCO #NSD2017 coverage.

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts named CBS Sports Freshman of the Year

Tennison, a product of Bullard (Texas), is one of two Texas tight ends in the class joining Waco La Vega's Kedrick James. The former Longhorns commit gave a verbal pledge to Alabama following an official visit for the Texas A&M game. Other commits that are known to have already signed financial aid agreements include Dylan Moses, Chadarius Townsend, Kyriq McDonald and Thomas Fletcher.

Fletcher signs financial aid papers

Alabama long snapper commit Thomas Fletcher has signed his financial aid papers with the Crimson Tide and will enroll early next month.

I was watching film of this guy when writing up Cole Mazza's senior salute. He's not the physical force Cole Mazza is, but he's incredibly scrappy to be just 220 pounds. Like Mazza, he also won the Rubio Award for best HS long snapper. Nick Saban is just playing a different game.


3 Alabama players named unanimous All-Americans |

Three Alabama players secured unanimous All-American status when the AFCA team was announced Wednesday morning. Defensive end Jonathan Allen, linebacker Reuben Foster and offensive tackle Cam Robinson each made all five official All-American teams to achieve the honor. Defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick also made the AFCA squad as his second first-team appearance this December. Punter JK Scott also made AFCA second team.

The fact Ryan Anderson and Eddie Jackson did not sniff any AA team is just f***** criminal.

#CFBrank 2016 Alabama Crimson Tide Jonathan Allen new No. 1 heading into bowl season

Here are our experts' top 50 players heading into the bowl games. If you're looking for Lamar Jackson, Jabrill Peppers or anybody else who was at the Heisman ceremony at the very top, you'll have to scroll down. An Alabama defensive star was our panel's No. 1 player.

Spoiler: No. 1 is the Heisman candidate that wasn't, and Alabama fields three in the Top 10.

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts named CBS Sports Freshman of the Year

"The first true freshman to start at quarterback for Alabama since 1984, Hurts' 2016 season has been a slow burn into superstardom," CBS Sports' Chip Patterson wrote. "He started the season as a change-of-pace option against USC in the opener and never looked back, going on to set single-season school records for rushing yards by a quarterback and knock on the door of breaking single-season records for both touchdown responsibility and total offense. He's got the top completion percentage in the SEC (65.3), but his versatility has been the key to opening up the offense and helping power the Tide to the top overall seed in the College Football Playoff.

"Slow burn to superstardom" is a nice turn of phrase. Only when the season is drawing to a close, and you look at his actual efficiency, do you realize that Hurts has in fact had a monstrous year. We sometimes focus on the slow end to the season or the deficits (for now) in the deep passing game, but he has been absolutely special.


Update on Tide forward Nick King's 'severe weight loss'

"Nick has a lung infection that Dr. (Craig) Buettner’s treating with a second round of antibiotics," Johnson said Wednesday. "We think that contributed to his severe weight loss. … He’s on a second round of antibiotics right now as we speak. He’s going to get rechecked again on Friday. He’s probably, at that point, going to be released to go home until after the Christmas break where he’s going to have to have another in-depth lung test after the Christmas break. "Once we get the infection that he has now out of the lungs before we go through another extensive battery of tests and once we get all of that cleared up, then he will be released to get reconditioned with our strength and conditioning coach before we can release him to practice."

King hasn't made quite the impact that Johnson has wanted or that we anticipated. But, the Tide still can't afford to be down an athletic F going into the SEC slate. Get better, Nick.

Avery Johnson wants Alabama Crimson Tide Basketball to take on his 'fighting' personality

Alabama (4-4) has not lost a game by more than nine points this season but has struggled to close out winnable contests against Dayton, Valparaiso, Texas and No. 24 Oregon in the final minutes. And in an effort to close out the non-conference portion of the schedule on a high note, Johnson is hoping his mentality as the Little General will rub off on his players. "I’m trying to get this team to take on my personality," Johnson said Wednesday. "They’re not halfway there yet. My personality is fighting, right? You get knocked down, you get back up. If you’re 5-11 and you’re going up against Shaquille O’Neal and he’s 7-feet, 310 pounds, you’re going to attack him. It just doesn’t matter, all right. You’re not a quitter."

While not singling out guys for a whole lotta' quit, you do get the impression that CAJ doesn't have players competing quite as much as he'd like.

BTW: Don't call him "Little General." He hates that appellation; there are standing orders around campus to never, ever call Coach Johnson that.

Now or never

Alabama ranked No. 3 in preseason coaches' poll | The Crimson White

The top three of the coaches poll is in the same order of the 2016 NCAA Championship with Oklahoma coming in at No. 1 and LSU earning the No. 2 ranking. "This shows that we are once again considered a contender for the national championship," said UA head coach Dana Duckworth in a press release. "That’s our goal every year – to be on the floor of the national championships on the last night of the season, with a chance to win."

Alabama finished fourth last season despite dropping its first five meets, losing its first meet in 108 tries against Auburn, and generally looking up at LSU and Florida in the standings. One gets the feeling that this is a crucial year for Coach Duckworth, but winning masks a whole lot of prior sins.

National / Rivals

Louisville Cardinals admit to receiving leaked plays prior to game vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Among the communication were a few plays that were sent and then shared with our defensive staff. None of the special plays were run during the course of the game. Our defense regularly prepares for similar formations every week in their normal game plan. "Any other information that may have been discussed was nothing that our staff had not already seen while studying Wake Forest in their preparations for the game and the material was not given any further attention. I'm disappointed that this issue has brought undue attention to our football staff as we prepare for our upcoming bowl game."

Louisville's response to WakeyLeaks? "We only tried to cheat. How dare you bring that up." What a rogues gallery the Cardinals have assembled, and Petrino, Jurich, and Pitino are just the start. They say a fish rots from the head-down, and from the AD to the major revenue sports, it's very true in Louisville. At this point, I'm not sure that there's a skeezier athletic department in the country.

Jarrett Stidham turns Auburn into a playoff contender for 2017 - SEC Blog- ESPN

Is Stidham next up to do something special on the Plains? He’ll have the talent around him next year. Redshirt sophomore running back Kamryn Pettway, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in just eight games this season, announced Saturday night that he was returning to school in 2017. He’ll be joined in the backfield by fellow backs Kerryon Johnson and Stanton Truitt, along with starting H-back Chandler Cox.

Auburn's August Heisman is coming early this year! Seriously, the Tigers will have a fairly capable offense next season...assuming they can find anyone to block for them. And, there's no idea how to replace the defensive front that allowed the Tigers to be a Top-5 scoring defense this season. Until next year begins, and those questions are answered, the national picture will be all-Stidham, all-the-time.

Matt Canada has been hired to be offensive coordinator for LSU Tigers

"He's done a great job of coaching quarterbacks whether it be in a spread offense or whether it be in a pro-style offense, whether the quarterback's running the ball or throwing the ball," Orgeron said. "The guy knows what he's doing. We're very fortunate to have in my opinion and, in the opinion across the country, two of the top coordinators at LSU in Matt Canada and Dave Aranda."

Canada is a very competent offensive coordinator. Orgeron has assembled some fine coordinators. But, at the end of the day, like Auburn, this version of the Tigers just has way too many losses and question marks to be a serious contender in 2017.

Jim Harbaugh says he's not leaving Michigan, blames NFL rumors on 'enemies' -

"I'm not leaving Michigan," Harbaugh told the Detroit Free Press. "Not even considering it. A lot of this talk is coming from our enemies, from coaches, you know the names. You probably know the names of the top three I'm referring to. They like to say that to the media. They like to tell that to the recruits, to their families, try to manipulate them into going to some other school besides Michigan.

HAHAHA. Your turn for "Harbaugh to ____," Michigan. Wait until you see how much you love the annual distraction.

Dreamy Lane

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

"I was planning on being back there. We're in a great run. That's why I don't read what's out there," he said. "Coach Saban and I have a great relationship, regardless of what people may think." He also claimed that reports of him being laser focused on leaving the Tide for a head coaching job were unfounded. "This was not about becoming a head coach. I was very happy at Alabama and what we were doing there," said Kiffin, noting that he was in year one of tutoring freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Nice exclusive with CBS here. All of the things we told you the past few months (there's no tension with Saban he wasn't jumping at just any job, he was planning on coming back, the relationship with Hurts etc.) come straight from the horse's mouth. This will clear a lot of air...if people will read it.

Lane Kiffin creates instant controversy with his first FAU recruit | FOX Sports

Kiffin has signed his first recruit at FAU -- a JUCO quarterback named De'Andre Johnson from East Mississippi Community College. Does that name sound familiar? It should. Johnson was kicked out of Florida State in the summer of 2015 after he was caught on video striking a woman in a Tallahassee bar. He eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery charges in a story that made national headlines. Johnson even appeared on 'Good Morning America' to apologize to the victim.

This was mad-making at first blush, to be honest.  Then, I read the actual story -- Johnson has been on a two-year redemption tour of the country; he's actually gone through the judicial process and been punished before seeking a second chance (unlike Taylor,) and has been a model citizen; Kiffin didn't actually offer Johnson, the old staff did -- and I felt nominally better. This is a person Saban would likely give a second chance to; such chances are now, of course, impermissible in the SEC, to both good and bad effect.

NB: If this one comes up below, let's be respectful and actually listen to one another, okay?