A lot of suggestions have been offered as to why so many juniors, with little chance of being drafted, leave for the pros every year. Obviously, many of these players are ready to go and, one way or another, leave school and start earning money — be that for themselves or their families. Then, there is bad advice that many receive. When you pair that with the darker side of the coin, vanity, unreal expectations are born. Greg McElroy explained on Sirius XM this weekend:
“I wish we could have a show — not like the stupid show Ballers — where we could follow a 7th-rounder or undrafted free agent for four months to see what their life is truly like. We glamorize the sport and league, and these guys are buying false goods.”
“I think it starts a lot earlier than that four-month period prior to the draft,” McElroy said. “I think this whole false impression of what you’re going to become starts as a high school senior or even junior or sophomore. If you’re a top-30 prospect coming out of high school, they’re thinking, as a 17-year-old, ‘I’m a first-round pick.’ They can do the math.”
Speaking of the NFL, what’s the quickest way to derail a nascent career? Hangers-on: focusing on the wrong stuff at the wrong time with the wrong people. Plaxico Burress has a Player’s Tribune piece giving advice to all of the rookies. (No word on whether said advice included not shooting oneself in the thigh and taking unnecessary shots at your former coach.)
‘Tis the season for transfers
Here we go. Everyone’s finals are concluded and the “I should play more” transfers are beginning. Alabama has been hit by this one pretty hard the past few years. Some were obviously warranted, such as Chris Black transferring to Mizzou, where he was an instant starter and contributor. Some were more baffling and the result of bad advice or overbearing parents, often one and the same (see e.g., Kendall Sheffield, Maurice Smith, and a certain former QB well-and-truly disliked by his teammates who has now been exiled to play flag football in Tempe.)
Let the transfers begin: Auburn has now lost two quarterbacks, including a reserve and last year’s No. 6 dual-threat prospect, Woody Barrett. Barrett, having fallen behind Jarrett Stidham, Sean White, and freshman Malik Willis, has now taken his talents to...well, somewhere other than Auburn.
Speaking of transfers, this is a very cool article on how coveted grad transfers are now a de facto free agency period in college football. (Ole Miss better hope that’s not the case, because the Rebels are still waaaaaay over the cap.)
Alabama and Georgia have just three commitments each.
This is obviously going to change, and both are outside the top 40 in the rankings. Alabama has signed seven straight No. 1 classes, and Georgia was No. 3 last year. Alabama is being patient and has three 4-star commits, but Kirby Smart has some work to do. UGA’s three commits include two 3-star players and a 2-star kicker, and nine of the top 15 players in the state of Georgia have already committed to other schools — including the likes of Ohio State (2), Penn State, Notre Dame and Michigan.
Time to panic? What if I told you half of the Top 90 players are already committed? Now is it time to panic?
This will be a good field test of Saban’s ability to get players in, give them the pitch on an OV, talk to momma on the sofa, and then see how many sign on an accelerated December schedule. And, for recruitniks, this is a dream scenario: they will really be able to evaluate the effect of an early NSD looking to Alabama and Georgia this season, both having so few commitments going into the summer.
Yesterday, AL.com published its all-Saban team (and you can rock that vote, if you want to.) Today, it is the defense, where nearly every player is a consensus All-American. Unreal talent has come through the doors in Tuscaloosa.
When Brandon Chicken makes more sense...
This is fantastic, but justifiable, shade from Tim Williams regarding the LSU game plans against the Alabama defense. Stoners are easily confused, sure. But when an avowed lover of the Hippie Lettuce is making more sense than a $7-million dollar coach? Yeah, you’ve got offensive issues.
"They just downright really just going to keep running this ball knowing that we've got eight men in the box," Williams explained during the interview on 104.5 FM in Baton Rouge, drawing laughs from the show's two hosts. "If they would have passed the ball or showed some passing or something, it would have been a different three to four years, but they just kept running the ball and just kept running and running. We were like, 'Man, I don't know what the deal is with this.'"
Ranking the top five opposing running backs on Alabama's schedule for the 2017 season.
5.] Trayveon Williams (So.), Texas A&M, Oct. 7, College Station.
2016 season: Explosive newcomer rushed for 1,057 yards and eight touchdowns as a true freshman. Piled up season-high 217 yards in win over Tennessee. Four-game stretch from Auburn, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee saw Williams rush for 595 yards (148.75 yards per game) and five touchdowns.
This may be an unpopular opinion (shocking, I know,) but I think the best one-two punch of backs are those listed as fifth: Trayveon Willians and Keith Ford are as good a tandem as any in the country outside of Alabama. Also, we don’t know what Cam Akers will look like (listed 3rd,) though I suspect good-to-above-average (though not Heisman quality as a true freshman. That just doesn’t happen.) And, I’ve just never liked Derrius Guice (No. 1) against a team that commits to stopping the run. Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Wisconsin all stymied the running of not just Guice, but also Leonard Fournette. I think he’ll be a better pro, protected by a more versatile offense, than he is a college back against elite defenses.
We’ve covered the outside ‘backers here a good bit in our Spring preview and Players to Watch series. But, if you’d like additional analysis, Charlie has you covered at BOL.
That’s it for now. Enjoy this Gump Day.