0 SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week awards were won by Alabama players during the 2016 season, even though the Crimson Tide led the nation in rushing defense and scoring defense, topped the SEC in sacks and had Jonathan Allen, the winner of the two major national Defensive Player of the Year awards, at defensive end. Allen was the SEC Defensive Player of Week twice during the season, but neither he nor any of his linemates won the conference's weekly position award. Tennessee DE Derek Barnett was the SEC Defensive Player of the Week once and the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week three times during the 2016 season. Alabama led the SEC with 15 weekly awards - four for Defensive Player, four for Freshman, three for Special Teams Player, two for Offensive Player and two for Offensive Lineman.
Bama fatigue? Or was it the fact that each of the Alabama linemen were always racing each other for the stats? At the very least, this shows that the Tide defensive line was consistently amazing, rather than just occasional spikes
Either way, it’s a bit ridiculous that Jonathan Allen was never named SEC defensive lineman of the week.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Williams became Alabama's fourth commitment for the class of 2018 on Tuesday when he announced his verbal pledge. Williams is the nation's No. 2 athlete and, as a four-star recruit, ranked as the country's No. 72 overall player.
"Talking to some of the players that I personally know from down here, they were telling me how it is and not sugar coating," Williams said. "What they told me, I like it. It's what I was looking for in a school."
Williams is 2018 recruit, but is a big win nonetheless. He mentions that he wanted to go ahead and get his recruiting over with now so that he can focus on his senior year, since he missed part of his junior year to injury. He also said that he plans to be a vocal recruiter for the Tide with his other 2018 class mates.
He’s saying all the right things. We’ll see if he does become that central commit over the next year.
Not long before Cam Robinson, Marlon Humphrey and ArDarius Stewart announced that they're turning pro last Friday, cornerback Anthony Averett informed Alabama coaches of his decision to bypass the NFL draft and return for his senior season with the Tide.
Averett staying in school is a big deal.
Losing him would have left the Tide needing to replace both of its starting cornerbacks -- Humphrey and Averett. Instead, Alabama appears to be in very good shape secondary-wise heading into next season, even after losing Humphrey.
Averett, who NFL draft analysts believe could have been as high as a second-round draft pick had he turned pro, will be back. So will safety Ronnie Harrison, cornerback Tony Brown, safety/dime back Hootie Jones and All-American Minkah Fitzpatrick, who has proven capable of excelling at cornerback, nickel back and safety.
I quietly feared over the last couple of months that AA would end up going pro at the end of the season. I feel like his season this year was the best I’ve seen from an Alabama cornerback since Dee Milliner’s junior year and was the most underrated player on this 2016 team.
Retaining his services for one more year will be huge while the Tide will likely have to break in a first-time starter in Humphrey’s vacated spot. Nigel Knott, Shyheim Carter, Aaron Robinson, and Jared Mayden will all be chomping at the bits to get there, and AA’s tutelage and veteran presence will be paramount for stability in the secondary.
Now, Alabama is surely in for a spring and summer of hot takes. Major programs and top SEC rivals likely figure that beating the Crimson Tide is within reach. Don’t believe them. Regardless of a devastating loss in the national championship game, Alabama remains college football’s best program.
Think about how much had to go right for hyper-talented Clemson to beat Alabama just once. The Crimson Tide failed to convert a single third down play after the first quarter. Star running back Bo Scarbrough missed the second half with a broken leg. Alabama’s defense was on the field for nearly 100 plays. Clemson’s Mike Williams made several highlight-reel catches.
Even with all those advantages, it took breath-taking play by Deshaun Watson, maybe the most clutch player in college football, to sneak past the Tide 35-31. Had Hunter Renfrow bobbled the catch in the end zone, we might be talking about 2016 Alabama among the greatest teams of all time. Before All-American safety Eddie Jackson was injured, the Tide defense entered the conversation for best of all time.
Need some extra gump in your life? Here’s a good one from SEC Country that salivates over how good Alabama is and will continue to be. The dynasty is still going strong, folks.
Speaking of gump:
Harris is already on campus as an early enrollee and gives Alabama a third, five-star prospect at the position. Listed at 6-foot-2, 224 pounds, the Calif. native is comparable to Scarbrough in size (6-foot-2, 228 pounds) and has the tools to be an every-down back. The Tide, however, has the luxury of not needing him to be that in the early portions of his career, although it will be difficult to keep the highest-rated player to ever sign at UA off the field this fall.
All of that was said to say this: don’t sleep on Robinson. The Tuscaloosa product is only an inch shorter than Harris and is the same weight. With a duo of elite freshmen set to join the fray this offseason, the future is bright once again for Alabama’s running game.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a backfield this loaded. The only competition was the beginning of 2013, which featured T.J. Yeldon, backed up by Kenyan Drake, Derrick Henry, Altee Tenpenny, Tyren Jones, and Jalston Fowler.
Like 2013, I’d expect a couple of the guys currently on the roster to end up transferring by the end of the 2017 season, if not before it. When there’s that much talent (all of it young), something has to give.
Scarbrough, Harris, Jacobs, Emmons, Harris 2.0, and Robinson.
A bruising galloper, an elusive grinder, a smooth home-run threat, a tricky speedster, a gliding monster, and a pure battering ram.
It’s an entire collection of different styles and talents that the offense will have to work with next year, and that’s a great problem to have.