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Jumbo Package: Bombs away, Jalen

I hope you like the deep ball.

CFP National Championship Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Legislate ery’thing!

One of the ideas posed is to modify permission to contact rules. Currently, Division I college athletes who wish to transfer to another school must first receive permission from their current school to talk with other schools about opportunities for transferring. If the school denies permission, the student-athlete can’t receive athletics aid after transferring.

Group members believe financial aid should not be tied to whether a school grants permission to contact.


Another area of general agreement concerned the eligibility of students after graduation. The working group generally agreed that immediate eligibility for students competing after graduation is appropriate now, but the group expressed interest in identifying additional methods for holding the schools where students may transfer accountable for the student’s academic progress.

The NCAA is looking at a huge proposal to modify the present contact/transfer rules. Some of the proposals would open the door to mostly carte blanche contact with presently-enrolled students, would ease graduate transfer restrictions, and would make it much easier to be released from a school. All of which have the effect of creating a de facto free agency period. Obviously, the workgroup proposals have a lot of hurdles to clear, and input is presently being sought from schools and coaches. I have a hard time believing, as proposed, that these drastic changes will be implemented.

We’ll keep an eye on this one.

No clean hands here...

The narrative at the time was that after Philon donned an Alabama cap during an emotional and confusing signing day ceremony, he signed with Arkansas later in the day.

That wasn't the case, according to Philon.

"I had sent my papers in to Arkansas way before I was on the stage," Philon said of the day.

* * *

"I wanted everyone there to think I was going to Alabama," he said later in the day Tuesday. "I wanted everyone at Alabama to think I was still coming."

No one liked how Darius Philon’s recruitment ended. Alabama took a PR hit for asking Philon to grayshirt after he was injured following an offer being made to him. What we didn’t know is that far from being left confused, hurting, jilted on stage was that Philon had already accepted an Arkansas offer well before NSD and had sent his LOI to the school.

The kid lied, in other words.

Look, I understand Philon couldn’t afford to pay his way for an entire grayshirt year. Arkansas was the right call for him. I don’t even mind him extracting his petty lashing out and making the staff think he was coming that day. What I mind very much was that Philon had five years to correct the record; half a decade of “Oh, but Darius Philon” pieces to rebut. Lies by omission are still lies, and Alabama as a program, and the coaching staff particularly, have been left to bear the brunt a 5-year tantrum.

Tho’ tha’ ballllll!

In particular, Hurts shined throwing the deep ball, especially during a throwing session on Friday.

During that workout, quarterbacks were split into groups and rotated between four stations. At one station, quarterbacks had to throw go-routes. At another, they had to throw deep post routes.

"Jalen threw the deep ball really well in that Friday workout," said Senior Bowl scouting coordinator Patrick Woo. "When you go back to last year, that was something Alabama didn't utilize all that much was the deep ball and obviously he missed a few in the playoff games, but I think that's his biggest strength is throwing the deep ball. He's big. He's obviously smart. And he definitely has a live arm. That's for sure. That ball really zips out of his hand."

Much more positive news for Jalen Hurts’ deep-passing game. We knew he had the arm (how many people overthrow Calvin Ridley consistently?) It always seemed to be a matter of trusting that arm and learning when to unleash it. The former is making excellent progress. The latter comes with experience. I’m still on record that Hurts will make a tremendous leap in his passing ability this fall. We’ve seen nothing to indicate that he’s stagnant or taking a step backwards.

25 Important Players for 2017: 22 Isaiah Buggs

For a third consecutive year, BamaOnLine is counting down Alabama’s top 25 most important players ahead of the Crimson Tide’s fast-approaching fall camp and 2017 football season. Up next is junior defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs at No. 22.

*** Breakdown of Alabama’s Top-25 Most Important Players for 2017: Two things went into consideration in this breakdown. One was how much the player would see the field this fall. With that condition, the list is primarily made up of starters. The second aspect is the player’s importance to the team, meaning if they are replacing a starter at a key position and how hard it would be to replace them should something occur to force them out of commission.

Seems we’ve been talking about Buggs a lot this offseason. Today, it’s BOL’s turn. Their No. 22 player is Buggs. The big man has even bigger shoes to fill — following Jarren Reed and Jonathan Allen cannot be a small task.

Fox has jumped the shark

Fox’s college football coverage is now officially a disaster. They never had a major presence in the market; however, they had an excellent editorial tandem in Stewart Mandel and Bruce Feldman. But, like MTV News and so many others, Murdoch’s recreational vehicle has made the official “pivot to video.”

And, by “pivot” I mean “there’s not a damned written paragraph anywhere on the page.” Gone is Feldman’s astute coverage, Mandel’s thoughtful commentary. Anything.

Check it out — all videos with anonymous bylines — then you need never trouble yourself visiting the site again.

Dead but dreaming...

There were a couple of significant developments in conference realignment you missed last week. If you saw the news at Nebraska and Kansas, you probably didn't even make the connection.

At first glance, the tantalizing statements by former Huskers coach Tom Osborne to Land of 10 could be passed off as stream of consciousness from a wisened icon.

Osborne said he knows "people" he has talked to "in the past" who "maybe have some interest" in the Big Ten "as a viable option."

“That is not dead which can eternal lie; yet, through strange aeons, even death may die.”

No, not Cthulhu; we speak of conference realignment. The superconference is so tantalizingly close that we can never really be safe/doomed (and no AD will rest) until there are five 16-member conferences. Last week, there were a few indications that the day is coming soon.

One of the biggest events in ‘crootin begins today -- Nike’s “The Opening.” That link has a list of players that Alabama is targeting and players/commits. We’ll keep you updated on this one.

The Mothership dispels the notion that there is problem with transfers. While it is true that football is below the average of 6.5% across all sports, there is still a problem with basketball: 13.0% of D1 basketball players transfer. It is second-only to soccer (at 13.7%.) That is a rate that will only get worse if the NCAA moves to loosen transfer restrictions. I don’t know how that kind of movement is sustainable with APR rules.