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Jumbo Package: The new early signing period will change recruiting forever. Or not.

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We look at the December NSD, key injuries and the depth at running back, among other things.

High School Football: National Signing Day-Mack Wilson Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

This week many student-athletes received their degrees from Alabama. Included among them is stand-out LB Shaun Dion Hamilton. Hamilton, a former high school valedictorian, became the youngest member in his family to earn a diploma. And, as encouragingly for him, received excellent news re: his ACL injury. His father said, in an interview with BOL:

“I don’t want to steal his thunder, but he said Dr. (Lyle) Cain cleared him last Wednesday to go and start doing field-type activities,” Shelton Hamilton said. “He was so aggressive with that goal. People are always different with how they tackle an ACL. Some people can tackle it like Adrian Peterson and some people can tackle it like, ‘Hey, it’s just one time. I can get back in due time.’

“He went on the side of ‘I want to be more like Adrian Peterson than being the normal college student.’ … He was just so motivated by this ACL to not let it stop him from getting his goal.”

Alabama Football LB Shaun Dion Hamilton receives good injury news; earns degree in three years

Alabama will rely on the wily, athletic SDH to provide some leadership and playmaking on a linebacking corps that is thin on experience but long on potential. And, it looks like he will be physically ready to go.

I think Potter is on to something here: With the team emphasis on Jalen Hurts improving as a passer, you have to expect that there will be more carries for the backs this season. BOL breaks down the stable of running backs and some of the questions that all that depth brings with it -- including (hopefully) backs picking up touches in the passing game. That was a real disappointment with the Kiffin offenses in ‘15 and ‘16; despite using the backs as passing options a great deal in previous stops, the move to the spread all-but killed the dangerous swings and curls and checkdowns out of the backfield. If Spring was an indication, those may be returning.

Alabama Crimson Tide football Nick Saban Bo Scarbrough Damien Harris Josh Jacobs Najee Harris

With Hurts leading the way in totes in 2016, Alabama backs took on 133 fewer carries than the previous season, when Derrick Henry led the way with 395 rushes. Here's thinking we'll see a breakdown between Hurts and the backs during the upcoming season that is more in line with what was in play when Scarbrough was at his best late in the 2016 campaign (he had 16 or more carries in three of the last four games).

If A-Day was any indication, look for the running backs to pick up some touches in the passing game as well. I don't think we'll see backs split out wide catching 14 passes in a game a la New England running back James White in Super Bowl LI, but it does appear as if new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll will utilize the swing, screen and check down game the Patriots have employed for a while now.

2017 NFL Draft shows these college football powers aren't going anywhere

Much like on Saturdays, bluebloods dominated the NFL Draft.

Michigan led the way with 11 selections. Alabama set a school record with 10, LSU had eight, Ohio State had seven. A new power, or an old power depending on how you look at it, Clemson had six.

There were certainly outliers. Utah had nine players drafted, North Carolina had six and Pittsburgh had five. But, for the most part, the recent contenders with high-profile head coaches carried the day.

When coupled with recruiting rankings and wins, results like these show an unflinching truth in college football. Bluebloods don’t change – though some fall out of power for a time – and those led by the top coaches (the Nick Sabans, Jim Harbaughs and Urban Meyers of the world) of this generation aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Viva overlords! Scrappy underdogs have their place; that place is not on a football field in autumn. In a game where talent usually predominates, the self-perpetuating cycle of excellence-recruiting-performance-excellence... continues as it always has: in favor of the oligarchs.

Is the sports market saturated? That’s a question a lot of players are dealing with right now, particularly with the die-off of the traditional sports media and the rise of new media sports and entertainment. This says nothing of the streaming model, arising mainly from cord-cutting and a demand to control our a la carte consumption of premium programming.

The commissioners and some market projections are overly rosy; some see an inevitable collapse of the ever-growing sports bubble. Good read here:

College football conferences bet on Amazon, Google for TV future | SI.com

“Long-term, I’m very bullish on the value of premium sports rights,” Scott said. “I see more competitors. And frankly, competitors with bigger market cap than ESPN or Comcast or DirecTV. Some of these companies we’re talking about are huge by comparison. If they decide that sports is a vertical they want to get involved in in a big way, that’s good news for the Pac-12 or the NFL.”

Everyone in college sports is watching Amazon’s streaming deal with the NFL closely. A year after Twitter paid a reported $10 million to stream Thursday night NFL games that also were broadcast on television, Amazon is paying a reported $50 million for the same thing. The games will be available for streaming by Amazon Prime members, who pay $99 a year for expedited shipping as well as streaming access to a large library of movies, shows and music.

Big, big changes are ahead for recruiting. Approved overwhelmingly yesterday, a new 72-hour window for a December signing period is expected to change the landscape forever. The effects remain uncertain, although we’ve speculated about them for years. Dodd takes a run at some of those in his piece on CBS SEC Sports.

Early signing period crosses final hurdle, officially approved: 4 things to know - CBSSports.com

To say an early signing period will drastically affect college football recruiting as we know it is not an understatement. This is a completely new layer to consider in the recruiting process. But exactly whom it affects and how remains to be seen. Generally, however, we know or can anticipate the following items...[list follows]

SBN’s Alex Kirshner gives you the nuts and bolts of how early signing will work, staff changes and the like, etc. here.

That’s not the only rule proposal guaranteed to turn some heads. The coaches yesterday began exploring the possibility of true freshman playing a portion of the season without it burning a redshirt. Ostensibly the proposal is to offset the losses of stars expected to sit out of their bowls, following the lead of Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey.

Proposed college football rule would let redshirting freshmen play in up to 4 games - SBNation.com

But there’s a rule being proposed that could settle down the masses who call for star players to play in their teams’ final games of the season. According to Fox Sports’ Stewart Mandel, a new rule is being proposed to the NCAA by the American Football Coaches Association that, if passed, would allow players to play in up to four games during a season without burning their redshirt year. So technically speaking, head coaches could save their four-star signees and beak them out just in time for bowl games, and the player could still redshirt that season.

“I think that would be pretty intriguing to some of the fan bases,” said AFCA executive director Todd Berry, via Fox Sports. “Which might legitimize some of those bowl games and make them more interesting.”

Offseason is here big-time (more on that later today; wait till you see what we splatter on your page.) AL.com has already moved to its best-of. Today’s feature: The best offensive players of the Saban era.

AL.com's staff voted and put together an All-Saban team featuring the best Alabama players who played under Nick Saban. Check out which offensive players made the cut today and check back later in the week for the defensive team.

Schlabach put together a really nice Three Questions series for each of the Power 5 Questions. Of course, in the SEC, the top question is the same as most seasons: Dethroning the Tide.

Most pressing questions facing Power 5 conferences at conclusion of spring practices

1. Can anyone in the SEC end Alabama's reign?

The Crimson Tide are aiming for their fourth consecutive SEC championship, which would be the first time that's happened since Florida won four in a row from 1993-96. Alabama was the only SEC team to win at least 10 games last season, but Auburn and LSU might be more difficult outs in the SEC West this coming season, especially if both teams get more consistent quarterback play. Sure, the Crimson Tide lost 10 players to the NFL draft, including seven defensive starters, but they're still deeper and more talented than every other team in the league.

That’s it for the nonce. Go forth to evil (in the comments, naturally.)

Poll

Do you think Alabama will be a beneficiary of an early signing period?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Yes
    (177 votes)
  • 5%
    No
    (25 votes)
  • 48%
    I don’t think it will matter much either way
    (220 votes)
  • 4%
    Like my lying Facebook status, "it’s complicated"
    (19 votes)
  • 3%
    Pancakes are garbage
    (14 votes)
455 votes total Vote Now