Guess who led the SEC in receptions last year? No, it wasn’t former Ole Miss star and first-round pick Laquon Treadwell. It wasn’t fellow All-SEC wide receiver Pharoh Cooper. It was Calvin Ridley, a true freshman.
Some will argue that the only reason Ridley caught more passes than anybody else was because he played in more games. Maybe that’s true. But let’s not forget that he didn’t even become an integral part of Alabama’s offense until Week 3, when Robert Foster went down with a shoulder injury. Over his final 11 games, Ridley averaged nearly seven catches and 84 yards per game, with six of his seven touchdowns coming during that same span.
Some ESPN talking heads argue about Calvin Ridley vs Christian Kirk again. Though not quite to the hype level, the two sophomore receivers are looking like the next SEC receiver rivalry since Julio Jones and A.J. Green. Time will tell if these two manage to catch the two legendary pass catchers, but having two receivers make it into the top 10 of the NFL draft is a tall order.
He's given Alabama more than he's given any other job even though he's been presented plenty of opportunities to leave. Alabama's given him every reason to stick around, but when he does decide to walk away, the school should honor his contributions in a lasting way.
There's no better way than putting his name on the field. Call it Nick Saban Field at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
AL.com with the hard-hitting news. June is a terrible football month. It will be interesting to see just how many things around campus get named after Saban though. Half of campus already has Bryant somewhere in the name, and Nick is closing in on being just as iconic as the Bear was.
Williams Field (Ariz.) High School football coach Steve Campbell doesn’t have to send his whole kickoff team out on to the field.
With Alabama commit Brandon Ruiz, the nation’s top kicker, at his disposal, Campbell’s really just doing it to be polite.
"That’s what he’s lobbying for," Campbell says of Ruiz, who routinely bombs his kickoffs out of the back of the end zone. "He’s like, ‘Coach, can we just line up and not even put a kickoff team out there?’ We joke all the time about that all the time."
Except Ruiz isn’t joking.
Man, Ruiz sounds like an exciting kid. Now, his field goal ability remains to be seen, but the kickoffs are there. Last year, I let myself get all excited for Eddie Piniero, who ended up breaking my heart and flipping his commitment to Florida instead. Here's to Ruiz actually sticking through with it and giving us a suitable replacement for Adam Griffith.
Giddens, who is from Mableton, Ga., was a freshman at Ohio State last year, playing in 33 of 35 games with seven starts. As a transfer, he would have to sit out the upcoming season, and then would have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017-18.
Now there are whispers that Giddens may be considering a jump to professional basketball rather than sitting out a season.
Last year he averaged 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds for the Buckeyes.
Some not so great news. Though he wouldn't be able to play next year, Giddens would still have multiple years to contribute after his season of ineligibility. In basketball, every player is important. Obviously, it's only rumors, but where there's smoke, there's usually a fire.
Saban vigorously defends his practice of giving second chances, saying his goal in discipline is to change behavior and insisting it is more often accomplished within a team structure. Asked if the situation at Baylor had caused him to reevaluate his stance, Saban declined to directly address what has happened in Waco, saying he didn’t know enough about the specifics.
"I think that we all kind of live and learn," he said. "There’s one thing giving a guy a second chance. That’s completely different than making somebody be responsible for their own self-determination. In other words, they’ve got to be accountable for their actions. There’s two different things here. And you make decisions and determinations about whether you give a second chances as to whether you can trust and believe in them based on their history."
As usual, everyone outside of the Crimson Tide fan base is mad that Saban didn't immediately kick Cam Robinson off the team. And it's not just internet trolls, the coworkers at my new job in Georgia are bringing it up every day. According to them, not only did Robinson and Hootie Jones get caught with marijuana and a possibly stolen gun, but the car had been hijacked too after an assault on the handicapped owner (I kid you not, I was told this yesterday).
If there's a way to hate Alabama, the rest of the country will find it. I like being on top.