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Jumbo Package: Media Days Event Kicks Off

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Let the hijinks begin.

NCAA Football: SEC Media Day Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. The news of the week is the SEC Media Days event:

• Sophomore linebacker Terrell Hall’s name change to Terrell Lewis was apparently made before the media guide went to the printer.

• Sophomore Trevon Diggs, who spent the spring at cornerback, is listed as a wide receiver. It’s not known if that’s indicative of his position status.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 12

8:30 -- 8:45 a.m.

-- Football Writers Association of America (Main Media Room)

8:45 -- 9 a.m.

-- BILL HANCOCK, Executive Director College Football Playoff (Main Media Room)

9:05 a.m. -- 12:05 p.m.

-- ALABAMA (Nick Saban, Bradley Bozeman, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Calvin Ridley)

-- MISSOURI (Barry Odom, Eric Beisel, Drew Lock, J’Mon Moore)

The covers:

A Nick Saban team with several first round candidates on defense and one of the deepest running back stables in college football history features a quarterback and three pass-catchers on the cover of the media guide. Interesting. As mentioned, Terrell Hall is now Terrell Lewis, and we will definitely be keeping an eye on Diggs.

“The majority of our students on campuses who are student-athletes don’t get full scholarships. Why is that never been an issue?” Stricklin asked. “We have baseball players and softball players and soccer players and a lot of track athletes who come on our campuses and they’re having to take out student loans to be athletes on our campus, even if they’re on scholarship because they’re not on a full scholarship, [unlike the majority of football and men’s basketball players].

“I don’t think that’s right.”

Most of the article deals with the support staff silliness, but it’s good to see the non-rev scholarships discussed. Full scholarships in all sports would certainly level the playing field for the richer programs, but would put at a distinct disadvantage those who can’t afford to further support teams that are already bleeding money. Still, our man Roger would undoubtedly be thrilled at the prospect. What a birthday gift that would be.

With six key starters gone, how could Alabama’s defense possibly take a step forward going into the 2017 season? Returning are five starters along with players who will play bigger roles in 2017 that are very capable of holding down Alabama’s annual defensive excellence. 6-foot-2, 309-pound Da’Ron Payne will likely be one of the best defensive tackles in the Nation, Da’Shawn Hand is a defensive end with a very high ceiling, 6-foot-5, 292-pound Isaiah Buggs from Mississippi Gulf Coast has had a huge spring, and at the linebacker position Alabama returners Shaun Dion Hamilton and Rashaan Evans who combined for 117-tackles in 2016.

According to Travis Reier, Evans is the guy to watch this season. It has been widely speculated among the beat staff that Rashaan will be used all over the field this season. He has been nothing short of devastating when asked to rush off of the edge, and is solid enough in coverage to have worked with the safeties.

Nov. 25: at Auburn

This is probably the hardest to project because of the unknowns involved. New quarterback Jarrett Stidham is the tailwind for preseason expectations. Transfer quarterbacks led the Tigers to their last two national title game appearances with wins over Alabama. He’ll have time to get acquainted to the new conference by the last game of the regular season. A good chunk of Auburn’s improved defense is also back and the fact this one is being played in Jordan-Hare Stadium makes this the most dangerous proposition if we’re assessing threats in July.

The Iron Bowl hype is in preseason overdrive and Vegas seems to agree, as Auburn is the only SEC opponent on the schedule that is less than a twelve point underdog against the Tide with Tennessee getting a whopping 24 points (lol.)

As far as the opener goes, it’s kind of a good news/bad news deal. The playoff committee has encouraged this type of game by rewarding teams who play tougher schedules, but has also rendered the outcome somewhat meaningless. Barring a blowout, the loser of this game will almost assuredly still make the playoff with a conference title, even if they drop a conference game along the way.

Last but not least, meet the new gymnastics recruits:

The Crimson Tide will welcome one of the best freshman class in the country: Kylie Dickson, from Spanish Fort, Alabama; Lexi Graber, from Montgomery, Indiana; Bailie Key, from Augusta, Georgia; and Alonza Klopfer, from Boonton, New Jersey. They will also add to their competitive roster junior Peyton Ernst, from Coppell, Texas, who is a transfer from Florida.

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

Roll Tide.