Happy Friday, everyone. Not a ton going on, but we have some links for you. We’ll start with ESPN’s rankings of the best LB duos in the SEC:
1. Alabama: Shaun Dion Hamilton and Rashaan Evans. It's going to be tough to find two more athletic middle linebackers together on the same defense. Hamilton had 64 tackles, including 9.5 for loss, and two interceptions last year; he will be coming off an ACL injury, but should be ready for the season. Evans did well when needed in the middle, registering 53 tackles and four sacks. Both are sideline-to-sideline players who hit like freight trains.
Erik highlighted Amari Cooper’s performance in the 2014 Iron Bowl as part of his countdown series. If you watch the Alabama defense, however, you will notice a considerable difference in speed at linebacker with Reggie Ragland and Trey DePriest in the game together vs. the 2015 and 2016 units. Nothing against either guy, they were just the last of the hulking inside LBs targeted by Saban, and were great downhill thumpers. It’s much tougher to run laterally on the Tide these days, and mobile QBs make far fewer big plays with their legs.
It’ll be interesting to see how Hurts fares in that statistical category next season while trying to be more of a drop-back passer, something the coaches didn’t push last year due to the risk of overwhelming him.
With that in mind, obtainable goals for Hurts would be to cut his interceptions in half (5), a 67.5 completion percentage, 3,000 passing yards and a 155.0 passer rating. They’re all within his reach, especially with Alabama poised to throw downfield more.
“Just preparation,” Hurts said was the key. “The older you get in anything, you see things differently.”
Hurts and the other college quarterbacks will serve as camp counselors and will also have a chance to take part in competitions while receiving instruction from Peyton and Eli Manning.
Among the other college quarterbacks serving as counselors this weekend are 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, Wyoming's Josh Allen and USC's Sam Darnold in addition to several others.
If Jalen can get to the numbers listed in that first excerpt, go ahead and engrave the trophy. There won’t be any close games.
“I think I’ll get to Alabama around July 21,” said Corral. “I think I’ll do that trip first. Then I’m going to go to Georgia right after that and then Florida right after that one. I want to get all of my trips done by the end of July.”
Georgia is the perceived favorite per the 247Sports Crystal Ball. Four-of-six picks are in favor of the Bulldogs.
“They have been,” said Corral, when asked if Georgia has been recruiting him heavily. “I talk to them every day. I’ve been talking to coach Chaney. He was telling me that he wants me to visit Georgia with my parents. He said that if I want to commit, it would happen after a visit. The staff wants to meet my family, talk to me, and just get to know us a little better before I make a decision.”
It’s probably unlikely that another five-star QB commits to Alabama with Hurts and Tua around, but who knows?
Prothro, whose electric college career was famously ended on a gruesome injury against Florida in 2005, has joined the staff at perennial Class 6A power Spanish Fort.
He will handle inside receivers for coach Ben Blackmon and also help with the junior varsity basketball program.
“Even before the injury, I wanted to coach whenever my playing days were over,” he said. “That’s been a long-term goal for me. I’m excited to have that chance at Spanish Fort.”
Not gonna curse Shula’s name again. Not gonna curse Shula’s name again...
"Me and Retin Obasohan actually played on the same team together and that was a great feeling to be able to have someone who is like a brother to me to play together during my first year in Europe professionally," Randolph said.
While the season served as a positive experience in Randolph's growth as a pro, the ultimate goal remains the same.
"This past year was a great year and right now I'm doing a couple of things to try and transition and advance and make my way to the NBA," Randolph said, "but I just enjoy playing basketball and it's a blessing to be able to continue my career."
Levi was a standout both on and off the court in Tuscaloosa. Here’s hoping he gets his shot one day.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.