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Jumbo Package: The Saban Impact

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Coach Saban’s influence extends well beyond the trophy case.

NCAA Football: Alabama Spring Game-A-Day Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. The baseball team will look to extend an out-of-nowhere four game winning streak as they host #5 Florida this weekend. Meanwhile, the softball team takes on Ole Miss in the conference semis at 2pm CT on ESPNU. The Rebels took two of three from Alabama in a weekend series to open the month.

Speaking of softball, check out what Coach Patrick Murphy did for the grounds crew in Knoxville:

Classy move, Coach. Not a huge fan of the “Roll Vols” part, but classy nonetheless.

Coach Saban spoke with the team prior to yesterday’s game against Texas A&M, and he has apparently impacted the program on the recruiting side as well:

Saban, in fact, helped in the recruitment of Osorio by talking with her father, a huge NFL fan.

Murphy said Saban is “4-for-4” in helping Alabama softball land recruits.

“He reminds me of that,” Murphy said with a chuckle.

The Saban dynamic is “confidence,” Murphy said, describing the way the Crimson Tide football coaching legend can take over a room.

The man wants Alabama to dominate everything. If you have a half hour available, check out the podcast of Ryan C. Fowler’s interview with former Tide LB Cory Reamer. Cory was around at the beginning of the Saban era and provides some great insight on the start of the dynasty. Of course, Saban continues to develop his players off the field as well:

This year, Alabama football achieved its highest academic progress rate to date, scoring a 980. When Saban arrived, the Tide's APR was 944. In every academic year since he's been in charge, with the exception of 2012-2013, that number has increased.

"We continue to do a great job of helping our guys develop a career off the field, which is why they should come to school and we're really proud of that," Saban said back in December.

As mentioned, Alabama football had 22 graduates on the field in January, and nine more graduated in May. That is simply remarkable for a program that has enjoyed unprecedented success on the field.

Recruiting notes:

While it’s hard to say whether or not the new early signing period would have seen Parks’ situation play out differently, it’s safe to assume he’d have been less blindsided by the lack of space in the group. If the new rules were in place last season, Parks would have been given clues to his priority in Alabama’s recruiting class. Not getting a singable offer from the Tide in December would have been a good first clue.

“Then a light bulb might go off and he might say, ‘Oh, I better look at some other options,” said Mike Farrell, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals. “Or let’s say a letter did come through and Florida or Florida State did decide to have him sign early, but Alabama did not. A light bulb should go off then to say, ‘Hey I’m not a high priority for the school I want to go to. I better sign now with one of these other two schools rather than waiting it out.”

So, the young man takes a greyshirt offer from Alabama with immediate offers on the table, but an early signing period might have made him give up on Alabama in December?

Sounds legit.

The 6-foot-4, 228-pound Gatewood, a four-star recruit, is now the nation's No. 94 recruit. He has been committed to Auburn since Dec. 2015 and made multiple trips to Auburn since then.

Gatewood is also ranked as the nation's No. 1 athlete in the 247Sports composite. He is committed to Auburn to play quarterback and Alabama would like to see more of him in camp and believes he can excel at multiple positions.

Alabama appears to be scrambling a bit with the 2018 QBs. So much youth at the position is probably sending the top guys elsewhere.

"He likes Alabama," Propst said. "I think he likes Jeremy Pruitt. He likes the setup there obviously, how could you not if you've got any sense? Their setup's as good of, if not better than anybody in the country.

"I do think Auburn's in it, and I do think Georgia's in it. He likes the position coach at Auburn (Travis Williams). That's about all I can get out of that. He knows Chip, but not very well yet. He relates Pruitt and Sherrer to me. He knows Coach Sherrer has worked for me. He lives in a Georgia town that's heavily populated with Georgia fans."

You are a linebacker, son. You know where you belong.

"I told a recruiter the other day and they all seem to agree, Ross is going to be a three-year guy at some program and probably be a first round draft choice," DuBose said. "He's just a special guy that does special things and understands the game and gets better every day.

Ross, who will play in the Under Armour All-America game, is now ranked as the country's No. 27 prospect. He rebounded from a torn ACL as a sophomore to catch 38 passes for 663 yards in 2016 while often being double-teamed. He scored eight touchdowns last season.

High praise for Justyn here. It will be interesting to see how his recruitment shakes out. Alabama is absolutely loaded with young talent at the position, which could make an impact here.

Other stuff:

-- Humphrey may be a member of the Baltimore Ravens now, but the Tide had several players return at both cornerback and Star with starting and game experience this spring. Averett was arguably the team’s best corner a season ago and assumed his starting spot on the right side of the formation in March. Tony Brown also stepped back in at Star, while Shyheim Carter worked with the second team at the same position behind Brown.

-- A couple of members of Carter’s signing class could have been more of a factor this spring had it not been for injuries. Jared Mayden dealt with a lingering hip injury all spring and spent all 15 practices in a black, non-contact jersey. Aaron Robinson was limited at times and sustained a knee and ankle sprain during the spring game. Both should be ready to go for fall camp.

Nigel Knott isn’t mentioned here, but he is another guy who was just rounding back into shape in spring camp. The competition for the cornerback spot opposite Anthony Averett will be fierce in the spring.

Ray said he’s spoken with Alabama’s coaching staff and defensive line coach Karl Dunbar about being versatile enough to rush from the edge as well as slide inside in certain defensive packages. The role sounds similar to the one Allen played throughout his All-American career at Alabama.

Ray is a composite 5-star defensive lineman and arguably the top player in the state of Alabama in 2017. The 247Sports composite listed Ray as the No. 26 overall player nationally and the No. 1 strong-side defensive end prospect.

Coming in, Ray is listed at 6’4” and 260 lbs. and is the #1 ranked SDE on the 247 composite. Allen was the #1 ranked SDE in the 2013 class and came in at 6’3”, 260. We’d be fine with a little deja vu.

Although terms of the contract weren't released, because the NFL uses a slotted system to set the salaries of draft choices, Allen's contract should be worth about $11.6 million, including a signing bonus of around $6.6 million.

"This guy can do everything," Washington coach Jay Gruden said after the Redskins drafted Allen. "He can line up at a three, he can line up at a five, he can line up at a nose if you want him to. He can stunt, he can play the run, but he can rush the passer. In the last two years, I think he has 22.5 sacks, 25 or 30 more hurries on the quarterback, and that versatility is hard to find this day and age in defensive linemen, it really is. Big-bodied guys usually are just run-stoppers. They're not able to rush the passer as effectively as he is. And that's a big need for us."

Allen has lined up at all three of those spots in college. He is not only big and athletic, but is as advanced technically as any rookie DL you will ever see.

On Wednesday, Orgeron was on ESPN Radio's "The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz" and was asked how many energy drinks Orgeron typically drinks in a day. He answered between eight and 10, which made national headlines.

"Here's the deal: some days we work 20 hours days," Orgeron said Thursday. "Obviously, I have consumed many on some days, but, for Lent and being Catholic, I gave up chocolate, energy drinks and Diet Coke.

"So my energy drink consumption has curtailed. I do not drink that amount every day. To be honest, in the last, a day or two, I may have drank that many. It may have been a 20-hour day, I drank eight to 10, no doubt about that."

One of these days, probably two or three years from now when he is back coaching defensive linemen in the Pac 12, Coach O’s heart is going to bust out of his chest Kool-Aid-Man-style and dart all over the field like one of those ground spinner fireworks that has sent many a July 4th drunk to the ER.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll TIde.