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Jumbo Package: Maurice Smith transfer saga, Blake Sims in Australia

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There is a surprising amount of Bama news floating around that isn't related to Media Days

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

REPORT: Alabama uncooperative in Maurice Smith "transfer attempt" - State of The U

The report states that Smith has been "unsuccessful in obtaining a release despite several requests during the last month". With Smith slated to graduate in August, he would be immediately eligible to play at the school of his choosing in 2016. But, with Alabama refusing to grant the release, something I did not know was required for grad transfers, Smith is in a tough position.

We now have a fight between Smith, has made clear his intention to transfer (presumably to Miami by other previous reports) and Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, arguably the most powerful sports figure in the world of College Football. With Saban at the head of the Alabama Football Program, I would find it hard to believe that he's not personally involved in this situation.

This will be an interesting situation to watch develop. My guess is that Saban is pulling out the "you really want to leave US to play for THEM?" card, and is delaying Smith to give him some extra time to rethink his decision. Whatever the reason, if Smith ends up not transferring, the media is going to have a field day. And you can bet Nick Saban will be called an evil dictator on ALL the message boards.

Najee Harris' work ethic praised as Alabama commit cements status as nation's No. 1 recruit | AL.com

"The strength coach should be your best friend when you go to college," Harris said. "I was asking him for motivational videos to motivate me. Me and him are close."

Malu said one of Harris' gifts on the field is seeing a play develop before it happens. But that's a result of the work he's put in off the field. "When you get somebody that wants to grind, it's over," Malu said. "He's been so humble. With his work ethic and how humble he's been, that's the thing I always tell people about him."

Najee Harris is shaping up to be a recruiting win that could be almost on par with the Julio Jones signing in 2008. By all accounts, his head is on straight and is a true competitor both in the game and in his preparations. He plans to enroll in January, and may not even take any official visits this fall.

Like Julio, Najee Harris has a generational blend of cat-like fluidity and speed that should not be possible at his size. Keep your fingers crossed that Alabama can hang on to his commitment.

Which Alabama players have added, dropped notable weight since spring? | AL.com

— Senior outside linebacker Tim Williams has gained 15 pounds. After weighing in at 237 pounds during the spring, the 6-foot-4 Williams is up to 252.

— Redshirt freshman quarterback Blake Barnett is up from 198 to 211. — Senior tight end O.J. Howard is up nine pounds to 251.

— Junior left tackle Cam Robinson has dropped from 327 to 320. — Sophomore running back Bo Scarbrough continues to drop weight. After weighing 240 pounds last spring, the 6-foot-2 Scarbrough was down to 230 this spring. He is now 228.

— Freshman offensive lineman Jonah Williams, a leading contender to be the Tide's starting right tackle, is up from 288 to 296

— Redshirt junior offensive lineman Bradley Bozeman put on seven pounds. He is up to 319. — Redshirt sophomore quarterback David Cornwell is down from 234 to 228.

— Senior tight end/offensive lineman Brandon Greene dropped 12 pounds. He is down from 307 to 295. — Freshman linebacker Shawn Jennings is down from 228 to 220.

— Redshirt freshman inside linebacker Josh McMillon lost eight pounds, dropping from 245 to 237.

Look guys, Blake Barnett is over 210 pounds. He might not snap in half now. Tim Williams and O.J. Howard have also both put on some weight, which should easily fit on their frames and allow them to become more well rounded players in their respective positions.

It's also great to see Bo Scarbrough losing weight. He was likely heavier than his ideal playing weight last season due to being out of shape from his injury. A leaner Bo Scarbrough means a faster, more explosive Bo Scarbrough- one that is even further removed from his knee injury.

Alabama Football: Strengths, Weaknesses and Secret Weapons | Bleacher Report

The former 5-star recruit has the talent to be a breakout star for the Alabama offense, as he has both the height (6'2") and speed that teams love to see in a top-notch wide receiver. He's reportedly the fastest receiver on the team, as Matt Zenitz of AL.com noted he was clocked at a 4.34 in the 40-yard dash.

Foster was just beginning to become a key playmaker for the Crimson Tide when he suffered a season-ending injury. Now armed with the lessons he learned from the sidelines, Foster should take that huge leap forward in 2016.

Bleacher Report may have just put out one of the most accurate and well-researched previews of the Alabama football team I've seen from any site this offseason. They talk about every position group for the Tide, breaking them down into strengths or concerns for the team in 2016.

They also listed three secret weapons for the upcoming season: Robert Foster, Rashaan Evans, and Anthony Averett.

Personally, I think that the only weakness of this receiving corps is that there just won't be enough targets to go to Calvin Ridley, ArDarius Stewart, Robert Foster, Gehrig Dieter, and O.J Howard. But a new quarterback can't ask for a better problem to have.

Former Alabama QB Blake Sims leaves country to continue football career | AL.com

Former Alabama quarterback Blake Sims is continuing his football career. AussieFaithful.com is reporting Sims has signed with the Wollongong Devils of Australia's first-year National Gridiron League.

To put the league in perspective, AussieFaithful.com asks the question: "Is it the most impressive NGL signing so far?"

Australia is starting up a football league, and Blake Sims will likely be the biggest star in the league.This will be an interesting league to keep an eye on the next few years. Australia has already put out some high profile athletes into the NFL (Jesse Williams, Brad Wing), and could be a hidden talent pipeline into the States in future.