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Jumbo Package: So Begins the Summer Months

Well, the 2016 class has arrived on campus. At least something is happening.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

How the discrimination of Alabama football star O.J. Howard changed a school |

Outside of the school, the stretch of asphalt that curves past Autauga Academy is called Golson Road. According to records, five Golsons volunteered their service for the 6th Alabama Infantry Regiment in 1861. Known as the Autaugaville Rifles, the Autaugaville volunteers of the Civil War were the inspiration of Autauga Academy's first nickname, the Confederate Volunteers.

Two Golsons played on Autauga Academy's first football team in 1970.

Golson Road will soon run into 88 O.J. Howard Lane. The street directly outside the school is being named after its most famous graduate. Some will call that symbolism. Some will just call it geography.

A decent long-form article from The story is definitely worth the read if you have the time. As someone who grew up in Prattville, AL, just a couple of miles from Autauga Academy, it's cool being able to visualize all the places mentioned in the story. Though he was a year behind me at at a different school, I, and everyone else, knew who O.J. Howard was. His existence in high school sports was completely unfair to the rest of the underdeveloped teenagers trying to do competitive things with a ball.

Nick Saban gives opportunity to punter who abandoned scholarship to help mom fight cancer |

Mike initially announced in late January that he would play at Jacksonville State, but a self-described "shot-in-the dark" email changed everything. Mike sent a message to Alabama special teams coach Bobby Williams to express his interest in the Crimson Tide and to see if there was a spot available. Williams responded within a week asking Mike to come on a visit. Not long after, Alabama offered Mike a preferred walk-on spot and he committed April 17.

"There's really no words to put into perspective how excited I am," Mike said. "It's definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I can't wait to take the next step."

With Nick's recent tirade about those camps-which-shall-not-be-named, you know the internet is about to produce a plethora of nasty remarks about him being evil, or any other iterations of the idea. If you still aren't completely numb to internet trolls by now and need some reassuring, here's a heartwarming story.

Mike Bernier, a punter at Eastern Illinois, recently decided to come back home to Alabama to take care of his mother, who recently was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.

He made this decision despite holding a scholarship and a starting position, and moved to the state with plans to continue his education through a local community college. Saban and Bobby Williams immediately offered him a spot as preferred walk on, and he will be joining the Tide this August.

And hey, the kid has a college-level highlight video on the link. Check it out.

Bama signees set to arrive on campus

This weekend marks the arrival of the majority of the Tide's 2016 signees in both football and basketball.

The following players are scheduled to move onto campus on Sunday (May 29):

Jared Mayden (arrived Saturday)
Trevon Diggs
Quinnen Williams
Lyndell Wilson (Mack)
Raekwon Davis
Ben Davis
Scott Lashley
Deonte Brown
Terrell Hall
Shyheim Carter
Kendell Jones
Irvin Smith
Nigel Knott (arrived Saturday)
Joshua Jacobs
Jamar King

Ar'Mond Davis (arrived Friday)
Braxton Key
Daniel Giddens
Corban Collins (arrived Saturday)

Almost the whole class made it in over the weekend. B.J. Emmons is set to move in today, June 1st, and Aaron Robinson will be a week later on the 8th. Saban wouldn't name names, but said that one player is still in high school until today and another player still isn't yet qualified. Feel free to speculate on which is which.

On the other hand, it's getting to be about that time of year for me to pick my annual freshman of whom I tout above the rest of the class. Two years ago, I chose Shaun Dion Hamilton, who has slowly been working his way up in the rotation. Last year, it was a close race between Minkah Fitzpatrick, Adonis Thomas, and Daylon Charlot. I ended up choosing Charlot, and you see how that turned out for me...

This year, Trevon Diggs, Shyheim Carter, Terrell Hall, Ben Davis (duh), and Chris Owens all sit at the top of my list. With that said, be ready to see me proclaiming the monstrous glory that is Terrell Hall across the comment threads this season. He might be one of the least talked about borderline 5-star commits of the Tide in my memory. He's a terrifying physical specimen with unreal athleticism and fiery on-field play, and I want to see him on the field with Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams, and the rest of the gang.

Alabama Men’s Basketball Coach Avery Johnson Looks to Contribute at SEC Spring Meeting 2016 - Alabama - Scout

Avery Johnson gave a medical progress report on combo guard Dazon Ingram (fractured left foot) and forward Shannon Hale (injured foot) in the nearly 11-minute interview.  Other topics broached included non-conference scheduling, a desire to play an in-state game at a venue away from Coleman Coliseum, depth at the point guard position, roster management and the proverbial UAB question.

Basketball-wise, Avery Johnson seems to be getting into his groove. The video here is an 11-minute long press conference, and I'm hearing a bit of an edge in Coach's voice. He's growing more confident with the systems in place in college ball, and he has quite a few ideas that he plans to share with the rest of the SEC, especially about their out-of-conference scheduling. (Which, though he won't say names, Coach let us know that, with some finalizations, the Tide will be opening with an exciting marquee opponent this year).

He also talked a little about the point guard depth. For now, it seems as though the plan is to use Dazon Ingram and transfer Corban Collins as the main two point guards (with both able to rotate to other guard spots), and Avery Jr. will be the quality back up.

Bama well represented at The Opening

Alabama will be well represented in a little over a month when The Opening Finals take place in Oregon. Over the course of the spring, Tide commits competed in various Opening Regionals to earn spots at the annual event at Nike’s headquarters. The following Bama commits are currently on the roster:

Najee Harris, RB, Antioch (Calif.) – The five-star running back earned his invite last weekend at The Opening Regional in Oakland. Rated the nation’s top overall player, per the industry-generated 247Sports Composite, Harris has been committed to Alabama for over 13 months.

Harris will be joined by offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood, linebacker VanDarius Cowan, safety Xavier McKinney, and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. This competition hosts only the elite of the elite when it comes to high school athletes and some very prominent college players have been through The Opening. As always with Alabama, keep your eyes on other top players in Oregon this year. You never know when yet another elite prospect will decide to roll with the Tide.

Trent Richardson needs more conditioning work, Baltimore Ravens coach says |

"Trent just needs to get healthy," Harbaugh said. "I think the workload and the amount of work it takes to be a world-class-conditioned athlete is something that he's working on right now, and that's what he needs to understand and that's where he needs to get himself. And when he gets himself there, he's got talent. I'm very certain he'll get there, and when he does, we'll be able to evaluate him."

Stop me if you've heard this before. Harbaugh seems to be doing his best to give Trent every possible chance, but it looks like the dude just can't get it right. If he still has not managed to get himself into shape, despite all that's happened, it's unlikely he ever will. Even if his missed time is due to a freak accident, rather than work habits, being injured during this time of year for a fringe player is not far from a death knell. A team is just not going to offer a roster spot to someone that they barely saw on the practice field.