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Jumbo Package: Tide to Host Several Top Prospects as Saban Turns Up the Heat

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Let the recruiting wars begin in earnest. Oh, and Minkah Fitzpatrick is really good, y’all.

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NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone.

We will open with Minkah Fitzpatrick, who is the most effective returning DB in America according to Pro Football Focus, and by a wide margin:

For some perspective, the median passer rating at the FBS level last season was about 130. Mr. Fitzpatrick is going to be a very rich man.

So, who makes the 2018 College Football Playoff? Sporting News likes the chalk picks of Alabama, Ohio State, USC and Florida State, and we are going with a matchup that features the Crimson Tide and the Trojans in the championship game.

I don’t think USC fans will be quite ready to see Alabama again.

Do you ever worry about losing Nick Saban?

“Oh, well, I think we always worry about losing anyone who is having a great impact at the university. Certainly through this process he’s been pretty clear that he feels very good at the University of Alabama. We feel good that he’s feeling good.”

We do too.

Crootin’:

Two of the top prospects set for visits are defensive ends KJ Henry of Clemmons, N.C., and Brenton Cox of Stockbridge, Ga.

Both are five-star recruits. Henry, the nation's No. 15 overall recruit, tweeted that he's in Tuscaloosa. Cox, the No. 22 recruit, told our partner site Cleveland.com that while he is visiting, he is still strong with his Ohio State commitment.

St. Paul's four-star defensive back Jalyn Armour-Davis also wrapped up a visit to Alabama this weekend, per his coach Steve Mask. Armour-Davis is down to a final three of Alabama, Auburn and Florida State. He postponed his commitment scheduled for eight days ago, but is still slated to commit somewhere this summer.

“They were contender for a top five or whatever, but they most definitely locked in on an official,” he said. “I just need to sit down with my family and see what date I’ll go.”

At 6-foot-4, 310 pounds, Gooden is rated the No. 2 junior college defensive tackle and the No. 8 overall junior college prospect, per 247Sports. He has no plans to return to Alabama this summer.

Gooden originally signed with Mississippi State out of high school. He has three years of eligibility to play two when he graduates in December.

These guys must all want to win titles, because we know from the sportswriters that Saban is an evil tyrant who never lets them have any fun.

Oh.

Coach Avery clearly plans on pushing his young team this season:

The SEC release gives further clarity to a complete schedule that's filling in with big-name opponents. Potential preseason No. 1 Arizona will be a road game this fall while Oklahoma and Texas are coming to Coleman Coliseum. Neutral-site games are also set with Minnesota, BYU and Memphis.

The Tide will play four games against teams currently ranked in the top ten in USA Today’s way-too-early rankings, and six against the top 25.

Lastly, Aaron Suttles wrote a nice piece on new baseball coach Brad Bohannon:

Bohannon, the new University of Alabama baseball coach, was the only coach who believed Todd, the former Marion Military Institute standout, could cut it against major college competition.

Todd made good on Bohannon’s faith, leading Auburn this season in average (.381), runs (52), hits (88), triples (5), total bases (111), slugging percentage (.481) and on-base percentage (.462). Todd was also named to the All-SEC second team and SEC All-Defensive team.

It seems like an easy decision now, but, at the time, no one believed Todd could play in the SEC.

Alabama coaches were contacted to gauge their interest. MMI was playing a game at Shelton State, but UA coaches decided against going to watch him play.

Had the coaches decided to attend, they would have seen Jonah go 3-for-4 with two walks. It was March 16, 2016, on a Wednesday open date for the Tide. Wonder what the entire staff had going on that prevented them from driving ten minutes to catch a game?

Maybe it was poker night or something.

In any event, Bohannon’s eye for talent should serve him well as a head man. Speaking of baseball:

The NCAA estimates that less than 10 percent of baseball programs nationally turn a profit, said Ron Prettyman, managing director of championships and alliances who oversees baseball. The number is probably closer to 5 percent, Prettyman said.

“Even in the NCAA, we run 90 championships and only five make money,” he said.

Remember this the next time someone talks about the millions of dollars generated by college athletic departments. The non-revenue sports bleed every bit of the money generated by football and basketball at most schools, and then some in many cases. Alabama baseball ran a cool $2M in the red in Gaspard’s last year, and you have to assume that 2017 was even worse.

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

Roll Tide.