Happy Monday, everyone. It was a fine weekend in Tuscaloosa as both the men’s and women’s basketball teams won their games, and the weather was impeccable for the national championship celebration. From the sounds of things, the plethora of blue-chip recruits that were in attendance enjoyed themselves immensely, which should portend well for a strong close. After the parade was over, Jalen Hurts made good on an apparent promise to cut his hair if the Tide won the title.
There is enough rope in that bag to tie next year’s Christmas tree to the roof of the car. Pics of the finished style can be seen here.
While Jalen seems to be comfortable in his post-championship look, Tua Tagovailoa reportedly has no plans to change his faux hawk. Our investigative team is working around the clock to learn how the hairstyle category will be weighted in the upcoming QB competition.
Some early Week 1 SEC lines from 5Dimes:— Christopher Smith (@csmithSEC) January 21, 2018
Alabama -30 vs. Louisville (Orlando)
Tennessee +8 vs. West Virginia (Charlotte)
Ole Miss pick 'em vs. Texas Tech (Houston)
LSU +1 vs. Miami (Arlington)
For those wondering, Alabama was favored by 28 at home last season vs. Colorado State. The Tua hype is real, y’all. While the Tide should roll, those other three have the potential to go very badly for the SEC’s reputation to open the season. With all of the coaching turnover plus critical players lost off of Auburn and LSU rosters that weren’t terribly deep to begin with, the 2018 season may be the softest for the SEC in some time.
He’s already begun preparations for his national title defense. He has overhauled his staff, injecting younger blood into his operation by hiring four assistants who are under 45. He’s continued to recruit with zeal -- treating the celebration Saturday not only as an opportunity to honor the team he just led but also as a chance sell the Tide to a slew of prospects whom he may coach in the coming seasons.
All of those who had Saban filling two of his staff openings by hiring assistant coaches from UTSA and ULL, please stand up so that everyone can see you for the disgusting liars you are. Saban reportedly wasn’t happy with the energy level from a recruiting standpoint, and there is no better way to fix that than to hire some guys who are young and on the rise. Nick ain’t got time for the EEOC.
Speaking of recruiting...
Alabama is hosting its biggest official visitors weekend of the 2018 recruiting cycle, which means all hands on deck, including current players. Tide sophomore defensive back Trevon Diggs is hosting fives-star cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr., and sophomore linebacker Mack Wilson is hosting UA linebacker commit Quay Walker.
Tua apparently hosted Justyn Ross, the top WR in Alabama who has been considered a Clemson lean. There seems to be growing confidence that the Tide can keep him home.
“That was the first thing I mentioned to Coach Saban,” the older Surtain said. “I told him I didn’t want it contingent on where Pat [Surtain Jr.] comes there or not. That wouldn’t be fair to him. [Saban] assured me that it wasn’t. He interviewed me because he thought I’d be a great defensive backs coach.”
While he said he would listen if another opportunity opened up in the future, the older Surtain stated he has not had talks with other universities about potential openings and that he is happy being the head coach at American Heritage.
If this hire had happened and Alabama subsequently signed Surtain’s son, the message boards would have been lit. Either way, you can bet that there was some recruiting pitch mixed in with the interview. Word on the street is that the younger Surtain and fellow five-star CB teammate Tyson Campbell had themselves quite a time at the celebration on Saturday. The staff is reportedly optimistic that they can close with at least one of the three uncommitted five-star CBs, Isaac Taylor-Stuart being the third, along with Ross and five-star OT Nicholas Petit-Frere. That would be quite the coup.
Nobody has had quite the month of January like Taiyon Palmer. The four-star cornerback from Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer has added almost 10 offers from heavyweights such as Clemson, Notre Dame, and Tennessee.
The one-time Duke commit reported an offer from Alabama on Sunday night.
This recruitment is reminiscent to that of Josh Jacobs. Keep an eye on Palmer.
“He and Tua are so very similar in the many ways you can see just watching them play,” Freeman said. “You see a lot of Tua in Taulia because of how they both play, the throws and decisions they make. I don’t know how anyone in the state could have done more for their team did Taulia did for us this year. He came in here and acted like he’d been here his whole life. The kids accepted him right away, and that is why we were so successful.”
By all accounts, Taulia’s future looks to be as bright as his older brother’s. Hopefully the Tide will be able to land him as well.
An update on some of the Tide’s latest NFL crop:
Linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton also had a health update Saturday. He has been out since early November with another knee injury. It makes the NFL draft preparation difficult, but he has a target for a return.
”I’m doing really good,” Hamilton said Saturday. “I started running and things like that, so rehab has been going real smooth. I’m ahead of schedule, so I’ll be ready to go, probably, I should be full speed by March.”
There is little reason for a guy with a first round projection to risk injury in an exhibition game. Evans will have ample opportunity to impress scouts with his workouts. Interestingly, Minkah Fitzpatrick said that the Clemson game was “iffy” for him. Thankfully the hamstring held up. Alabama typically holds its pro day event in early March. Hopefully SDH is able to go by then and show out for the scouts. Sadly, he has become this season’s Eddie Jackson.
Hey, remember when Auburn gave Gus a fat new deal? About that...
The two sides are still working through the finer points of the contract, which was reported to be a 7-year, $49 million one.
“We’re still working through the final details,” Leath said. “I’m still a trust guy and Gus and I are functioning well together. We know the basic tenets, we’ve drawn things up and sent it to his attorney. We’ll get that cleaned up pretty soon.”
There are less tumultuous relationships on “The Real Housewives” franchise than the one between Auburn and Gus Malzahn. Of course he uses his Iron Bowl win and interest from Arkansas to leverage a new deal before losing the next two games. That’s just the way things go down there, and now it comes out that his new deal isn’t finalized. Good thing that he’s negotiating with one of those “trust guys” eh? Let him open the season with a loss to Washington and the meltdown will rival Chernobyl.
No, seriously, football gods. Let him.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.