And now the Associated Press is reporting that of the 28 violations levied against the school, 13 involve the football program. On top of that, the AP’s report says nine of those violations "occurred during current coach Hugh Freeze’s tenure," some of which are Level I violations – the most serious.
We'll start with the fun one: Ole Miss just might be in some trouble. Now, before all you gumps go crowing off at Ole Miss fans on message boards, the Rebel Black Bear Landsharks' athletic director has stated that most of the level 1 violations occurred either before the Hugh Freeze era or surrounding the Laremy Tunsil situation, for which Tunsil already had to miss half the season anyway. I would guess that Ole Miss comes away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist, but it is still newsworthy, nonetheless.
1. Alabama: It’s not fair that Nick Saban keeps winning. First he won the national championship, then he won the draft deadline and signing day. He somehow convinced Jonathan Allen to come back to school one week, then turned around and secured the No. 2 class in the country, getting potential difference-makers in No. 1-ranked inside linebacker Ben Davis and offensive tackle and top overall junior college prospect Charles Baldwin. --
The guys at ESPN picked Alabama (obviously) to be the way-too-early best team in the SEC. It's really fun to be the undisputed team on top again, after a couple of seasons without championships. Most of the rankings after that go as you'd expect: LSU at 2, and Ole Miss and Tennessee right on their heels. Kentucky is slowly creeping up, and has surpassed Vandy, Missouri, and South Carolina in the rankings.
"What got me here was the program," Hurts said. "You come to Alabama, you have to compete every day in everything you do. Every day here is an evaluation, you’re being evaluated. I have no problem with that. Everything is about competition. You come here, you’re going to do what’s best for the team. That’s being the best player."
Jalen Hurts has an incredible attitude and head on his shoulders. When he enrolled in January, Hurts was almost instantly thrown into the fire and was used to simulate Deshaun Watson. While it was just a scout team role, it speaks volumes that Coach Saban thought he would be the best fit to replicate the playing style of the best quarterback in the nation.
Though only a true freshman, Hurts will be squarely in the competition for the starting job with Blake Barnett, Cooper Bateman, and David Cornwell. While many seem to think it will end up being a battle between Bateman and Barnett, I wouldn't count Hurts out just yet. I think he is the most technically polished of any of the four coming out of high school, and has tremendous football IQ.
Alabama returns its specialists in the kicking game other than the return men. Although Bama will work on the kicking game in the spring, those units ordinarily are not completed until fall when all hands are on board. Obviously, the Tide has a number of men who could be electric in the return game, but there is no Kenyan Drake on kickoff returns or Cyrus Jones on punt runbacks. Probably we would insert ArDarius Stewart into the lineup as a kickoff return man and Marlon Humphrey as the onside kick catcher. Quarterback Cooper Bateman has been Adam Griffith’s holder.
If you're having trouble keeping up with the players on the roster with all the players coming and going, Scout.com breaks it down pretty well for you. They'll actually be trying to predict the depth chart in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that fruitless endeavor.
In the meantime, I absolutely love that Marlon Humphrey has now created his own position as the "designated onside kick catcher." That may have been one of the most utterly ridiculous and terrifyingly brilliant plays I have ever witnessed in my time watching Alabama football, and it is one of those that will forever be etched into Crimson Tide lore.
If there's one player who defined playing to a standard at Alabama, it was 2015 Rimington Award winner Ryan Kelly, a three-year starter at center as the "heart and soul" of the Crimson Tide's offense.
One of college football's most consistent offensive linemen, Kelly didn't allow a sack as a senior against several elite interior pass rushers and is one of several potential Crimson Tide first-rounders in April's NFL Draft.
A near unanimous choice as the best available center, Kelly's initial round projections have been all over the place — anywhere from first to fifth — but there's a good chance Kelly sneaks into that Day 1 mix with solid evaluations over the next few months.
Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah likes what he sees from the 6-foot-5 300-pounder on film.
With the NFL draft season looming, Reggie Ragland and A'Shawn Robinson look to be locks to make the first round, with Jarran Reed also likely to make it in. While he likely won't be a first, it is also entirely possible that some team falls in love with Henry and takes him too.
However, Ryan Kelly has really been getting some love lately. I'm starting to see his name pop up quite a bit in the draft circles I follow on Twitter, and Daniel Jeremiah recently gave him a ringing first-round endorsement. Not only is the whole "no sacks in 2015" huge, but his academic and leadership success, along with his tremendous interview skills, have really helped to raise his draft stock over the past few weeks.
If you have a Twitter, Daniel Jeremiah is one of the best guys out there to follow for NFL draft evaluations. He's extremely insightful, not out for catchy headlines, and has no problem with sarcastically calling out people who post dumb comments on his posts.
The Catapult system is utilized by 36 colleges, 15 NFL franchises as well as teams in other sports, according to the company's website. It's been an asset for the Tide with injured players as well as with injury prevention.
A small GPS monitor is attached to every player's shoulder pads for practice. Players will also wear t-shirts with pockets during the summer so the monitors can be used while they go through the team's summer conditioning program. There are more than 200 data points that can be measured, Allen said.
Alabama focuses on four.
1) How many yards does each player run each day?
2) Player load, which Allen said is a "metric that kind of gives you an overall intensity of that particular day."
3) Explosiveness. An explosive movement is moving four or more yards in a second or less. The monitor will keep track of how many times a player does that.
4) Top-end speed in miles per hour.
If you don't click on anything else, this is the article you should read. It is rather lengthy, so I couldn't capture everything cool about it in just one quote. However, it would be like a dream for me to work with something like the Catapult system. It tracks daily data on the players, and then analysts can look for abnormalities in the trends. Maybe someone notices that Ardarius Stewart is running slower than usual, so they begin to monitor him for potential injuries.
The article also talks some about nutrition, Kenyan Drake, and the decreasing recovery times for ACL/MCL injuries.
With all the technology, the medical staff at Alabama is really making a difference. Aside from the freak collarbone accident of Robert Foster, only two starters, Dominick Jackson and Minkah Fitzpatrick, missed any games due to injury throughout the entire season. That's absolutely incredible.