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Jumbo Package: Candidates emerge for DL coach opening

Might Saban reach into the NFL ranks again?

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. We’ve reached the time of year where the packages are a bit less jumbo, but as always we give you what we have. We’ll start off with some potential candidates to fill the opening created by DL coach Karl Dunbar’s departure to the NFL.

His previous stint before the Pacific Northwest was an assistant defensive line coach with the New Orleans Saints (2008-12). Prior to that, Jones worked under Nick Saban at both Miami (2005-07) and LSU (2003-04).

He was the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for the Tigers after stops at Kansas (2001-02) and Appalachian State (1998-2000).

Several names are emerging for the position in Tuscaloosa. BamaOnLine reported Wednesday that Tulane defensive line coach Kevin Peoples and Kentucky defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc are also candidates

There doesn’t appear to be an imminent hire, but a guy who previously worked as a DL coach and recruiting coordinator under Saban at LSU, and followed him to the NFL, would seem to be a natural fit.

The Tide also may have a candidate to add a little veteran depth to the defensive line.

The 6-foot-1, 280-pound Texas native posted 87 tackles, 17.5 stops for a loss and seven sacks the last three years at Rice, including 34 tackles, 4.5 stops for a loss and a sack in 12 games last season as a redshirt junior.

Gordon has visited Texas Tech and Kansas. There has also been communication with schools such as TCU, Tulane, Syracuse and Connecticut. And now Alabama.

Preston Gordon was but a two-star recruit who blossomed into a solid college football player on a terrible Rice team. He says that he has NFL dreams, and there is no better proving ground than Alabama.

Dean has visited Tuscaloosa several times already. On his most recent visit to Tuscaloosa earlier this month, Dean had a chance to talk with the head of the engineering department.

It was a brilliant recruiting tactic for Alabama to deploy because the biggest thing he’s looking for in a school is education.

“I’m always big on education and whether they have my major,” said Dean, who is considering a future in sports medicine and engineering. “Also, it’s how they make me feel. If I feel like home, then I love it. That’s going to be big.”

The nation’s No. 1 inside linebacker said he’s in touch with Alabama every single week. Dean said he feels like he has a strong relationship with the Tide staff.

Nakobe Dean is a five-star LB from the Memphis area. The Tide will likely have playing time to offer at the position in 2019 with the departure of rising seniors Christian Miller and Keith Holcombe plus draft-eligible juniors Mack Wilson and Terrell Lewis.

Couple of hoops notes for you:

In terms of production, both are critical to the respective areas they call home. Sexton not only leads UA in scoring at 18.3 points per game, his 80 assists in 23 games are 10 more than his nearest competitor, Dazon Ingram, who is also averaging 10 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest.

As for Hall, his 11.4 points per game ranks second on the team and he leads the way in rebounding (7.2 per game) and blocked shots (58).

And both are fighting through nagging injuries.

Hey, the women made history!

With sophomore guard Jordan Lewis notching 19 points and 7 rebounds, and senior forward Ashley Williams recording her 15th career double-double, the Crimson Tide won in Knoxville for the first time ever with a 72-63 victory over No. 11 Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Although Alabama (16-10 overall, 6-7 SEC) has won the last four meetings against the Lady Vols (21-5, 9-4 SEC), the Crimson Tide had lost all 22 previous games played in Knoxville.

There was a time when Tennessee losing to any team four consecutive times would have been implausible, but Alabama has accomplished the feat. Congratulations to the ladies.

In case you haven’t been following it, AJ McCarron filed a grievance with the NFL alleging that the Cincinnati Bengals kept him stashed on an injury list as a rookie, despite being healthy enough to play, for the express purpose of retaining control over him for an extra year. The arbitrator on the case agreed with him, and McCarron is now set to enter the open market.

It might not help McCarron that quarterback-needy teams hold four of the first six picks in the NFL Draft, putting them in prime position to hand-pick their QB of the future. Or maybe it makes him more attractive. The Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos or New York Jets could fill its QB slot with a four-year NFL veteran and use its draft choice on a potential 10-year starter and future Pro Bowler at less risky position than quarterback.

Denver seems to be a great fit for him as a run-first squad with a dominant defense but wherever he lands, AJ should finally get a chance to be a starter in the league.

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

Roll Tide.