clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

The offseason is almost over, and we’re finally starting to see some news out there.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Football: Cowboys Classic-Wisconsin vs Alabama Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Some recruiting news:

Alabama recruiting roundup 7/31/2017 – Alabama makes push before dead period

Four-star offensive tackle William Barnes announced his top-7 schools on Twitter, with Alabama being one of the schools. Barnes is the No. 5 offensive tackle in the 2018 class, while being the No. 7 player from Florida. Overall, he is the No. 45 player in the country. Alabama offered him last July.

Four-star Reuben Unije announced his top-7 schools in a video he released on Twitter, with Alabama making the cut. Unije is the No. 17 offensive tackle in the class of 2018 and the No. 45 player from Florida. He is a Bradenton, Fla. native who attends IMG Academy. Alabama offered him back in June of 2016.

Nothing big or noteworthy out there in the recruiting world right now, but 247 is keeping us updated on some recruits who are worth keeping an eye on. On top of the 3 mentioned here, there are some others in the 2019 and 2020 classes that have just received offers from Alabama. Who knows, we just may see some of these names in Crimson one day.

Ben Davis 'really focused,' making progress in Year 2 at Alabama

While the former five-star recruit worked with just the third-team defense during the spring, word is that the Gordo product is working hard behind the scenes and continuing to make progress, both with learning Alabama's playbook as well as in the weight room.

"He's really focused in," Wayne Davis, the Tide's all-time career tackles leader, said of his son. "I know the redshirt year has really allowed Ben to mature and to learn the system even more so. His dedication has always been there. He's doing well in school academically, and now he's really looking forward to the upcoming year and looking forward to having a productive season and extremely excited about contributing wherever he can."

It’s good to hear some positive news from Ben Davis. After redshirting his freshman year while fellow linebacker recruit, Mack Wilson, got real playing time, many of us forgot about Davis and the fact that he was a 5-star recruit just one year ago.

This may not be the year for him with multiple seniors still in the lineup, but expect to see Davis on the field on special teams and be working towards earning a role in the defense in the future.

Unheralded Alabama safety a 'real special player'

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Anderson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds and had a 33-inch vertical jump during the Tide's spring testing.

He also bench-pressed 365 pounds during Alabama's spring testing last year, strength that worked to his advantage when he delivered that hit on Smith during the spring.

"It's definitely a tough adjustment to go from a linebacker position to more of a safety, DB role because one, you have to cover more athletic guys and faster guys, but Keaton's a really good athlete and he's been doing a really good job," star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick said. "He's really intelligent, so he's got the defense down pretty well and he's been doing a great job since he moved over there."

Keaton Anderson is another player that’s been easy to forget, but he’s already worked his way into being an integral special teams player. A former linebacker who’s slimmed down to play safety, he’s got the speed, athleticism, and mentality to be a force in both coverage and tackling.

Derrick Henry trying to 'prepare like the starter' at Tennessee Titans' training camp

Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray considers Derrick Henry the best backup he's had in his six NFL seasons.

"I would say every year I've had, really even in Dallas, I would always try to stay (on the field) longer because I didn't trust the second-string guy or maybe the third-string guy to come in," Murray said on Friday, the day the Titans reported for training camp. "Have a complete dropoff.

"But for him, I know I can - boom - hey, give me a breather. I know he'll pick up the slack and do well for us. So that definitely helps me mentally."

Like he did in his first two years at Alabama, Derrick Henry is studying behind a great running back while biding his time before becoming a starter. He was impressive in his few moments last year, and I expect to see him even more this year with Murray getting older and Henry more experienced. Sooner or later, Henry will burst onto the scene again like he did in college.

If you’re interested, Tampa Bay is on Hard Knocks this year. Some of you may be from the area, some may want to get some glimpses of OJ Howard in NFL action, and some of you may just want to watch to root for Jameis Winston to fail. Whatever your situation, this may be a fun team to watch this year.

Lastly, a little taste of bouncy hoops is here:

Tonight the Tide basketball team will be hosting a free open practice before taking off to Canada for preseason play. If you’re in Tuscaloosa, this could be a great Wednesday night endeavor. This basketball team could be special.