Happy Monday, everyone. We’ll start with the Tide men’s basketball team, which appears headed for the NCAA tournament despite its noted inconsistency.
Alabama’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) climbed to No. 31, per ESPN, after sitting at No. 41. According to CBS Sports, the Tide’s RPI is 33. Ratings Percentage Index is a tool the selection committee uses to evaluate teams for the NCAA Tournament.
Another tool that is a little easier to decipher is bracketology, and according to CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm, Alabama is now considered a No. 8 seed following its latest top-25 win and would play No. 9 seed Butler in Charlotte, N.C., in the South quadrant.
The Tide collected another resume boosting win, and have definitively shown that they can play with anybody in the country. Unfortunately, they have also shown the propensity to deliver a clunker. Still, with six games remaining plus the NCAA tournament, the Tide should manage at least 20 wins and a top-half seed. When shots are falling, this team is dangerous.
Only real news of the weekend for the football team surrounds a potential backup QB.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Minshew played in 10 games as a junior last season, started five and threw for 2,140 yards and 16 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
Minshew threw for 1,486 yards and 10 touchdowns over the team’s final four games. During that stretch, he had two games with more than 440 yards and another with 351 yards.
Minshew led Northwest Mississippi Community College to a national championship in 2015.
Those are three pretty productive outings for Gardner Minshew. There is obviously little chance that he would be in the mix to start, but Saban would undoubtedly like a bit more depth in case a post-spring transfer happens. If it does come to pass that Jalen leaves town, the Tide will be losing a fine young man.
On the bus ride over to #NightToShine my date said Julio Jones was his favorite player. Seconds later, Jalen Hurts lined the red carpet and cheered for him by name. My date turned to me and said “I got a new favorite player!” pic.twitter.com/Aeq8EuPLlt— Rebecca Nesbitt (@rebecca_nesbitt) February 10, 2018
Great to see Jalen taking his Friday night to brighten someone else’s and participate in such a worthy cause. Tim Tebow deserves a ton of credit. I’m as critical as anyone when God is misapplied in sports - really, y’all, he isn’t rooting for your team over the other one - but Tebow has consistently walked the walk of his faith. His Night to Shine event celebrating people with disabilities has reached over 500 locations in 16 countries. Kudos to all involved for doing something special for those who have been dealt a tough hand through no fault of their own.
The 2019 recruiting class has a chance to be a whopper, folks.
The good news is the talent level in the state of Alabama in the 2019 class is great. There are already two 5-star prospects in offensive linemen Pierce Quick (committed to Alabama) and Clay Webb (likely leaning toward the Tide). There are two elite quarterbacks with ties to the school (Paul Tyson, who is Bear Bryant’s great-grandson, and Taulia Tagovailoa, who is Tua’s little brother). There are elite defensive linemen, linebackers and a couple of defensive backs, too. That’s going to help Alabama in the next cycle.
The lack of talent in Alabama wasn’t the only state that hurt the Tide. Mississippi was way down. There wasn’t one target Alabama strongly pursued throughout the recruiting process in the 2018 cycle. It’s a state that Alabama usually does well in. But, like Alabama, Mississippi has elite talent in the 2019 class. The Tide already have a commitment from 4-star athlete Brandon Turnage from the state. They’re also in good position with 4-star prospects Nakobe Dean and Nathan Pickering, the top players in Mississippi.
The 2018 Alabama and Mississippi high school classes had zero composite five-stars. There are currently three combined, and the Tide are in on all three: an OT, OG, and ILB. Others may well get a fifth star, including one or both of top QBs Paul Tyson and Taulia Tagovailoa. Tyson has rocketed up the charts, recently adding offers from Michigan and Notre Dame, while Taulia is being courted by Florida and Tennessee. Of course, both players hold Alabama offers as well, and all of the 247 crystal balls cast have both signing with the Tide.
Alabama is also the early favorite to land top 100 safety Jaylen McCullough out of Metro Atlanta, which would probably be a salve for some in the fanbase who are particularly worried about the rise of Kirby. Look for the 2019 class to assuage any fears about the crumbling of the dynasty.
There will be a few key position battles in the spring.
Alabama had so many injuries last season, and so many players step up, that there will have to be a sort of resetting at all the positions. The player to watch may be sophomore Dylan Moses, who was initially being groomed as an outside linebacker but moved to the interior. Chances are he and Mack Wilson will get the nod at the interior spots to get the best players on the field with Anfernee Jennings, Terrell Lewis and Christian Miller splitting duties at the outside positions. How things line up behind them is a huge question mark, especially with prize recruit Eyabi Anoma arriving over the summer and some more bodies needed on the defensive line.
We’ve talked enough about the QB and secondary battles. It will be interesting to see how linebacker shakes out, too. I have a feeling that Miller is going to spend significant time at ILB this season. Markail Benton, who redshirted last season, will be in the mix as well and was a highly regarded prospect in his own right. Of course, Ben Davis is still around as well. Perhaps the light bulb finally goes on for him.
OK, enough of the fun stuff. We unfortunately have to close with a conversation about domestic violence.
A news release from the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department said Foster, 23, was arrested without incident in Los Gatos after police received a call around 9:15 a.m. about a disturbance. He was held on $75,000 bail, according to Santa Clara County Jail booking records. He was released at around 6:35 p.m., the Sacramento Bee reported.
The San Jose Mercury News reported that the accuser was a woman who was in a long-term relationship with Foster and that investigating officers found what looked like an assault rifle inside the home.
Dammit, Reuben. He’s going to be lucky if he still has a career after this offseason. Unfortunately, there is a far more tragic story in Tuscaloosa.
“He was a good young man, the kind you like to coach not because he was a good player, which he was, but because he was such a good person,” Watkins said.
The team met on Saturday morning, what Watkins describes as “a private time,” as it should be. Parents came to support the players. Local ministers came to pray with the team and the members of the Merriweather family. Friends and fellow students started a Twitter hashtag, #LongLiveJay, where they shared memories or simply expressed anguish
This is just senseless and heartbreaking. A 48-year-old male goes to the apartment of the 30-year-old with whom he made a baby, gets into an argument and proceeds to beat her with a pistol, then shoots and kills her teenage little brother for intervening. She ran as he fired at her and thankfully got away. One life taken and others destroyed, including that of the pile of excrement shown below.
If you live around Tuscaloosa, keep an eye out. As of now he is still at large.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.