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Jumbo Package: Justin Thomas takes #1 world ranking

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

THE PLAYERS Championship - Round Three Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Happy Monday, everyone. Baseball was at least competitive while dropping two of three in Baton Rouge this weekend, but the big news is Justin Thomas passing Dustin Johnson to become the top ranked golfer on the planet.

Former Alabama men’s golfer Justin Thomas finished tied for 11th overall at 11-under par 277 at this weekend’s Players Championship. With his finish, Thomas moves past Dustin Johnson into the No. 1 world ranking, ending Johnson’s 15-month reign in the top spot.

Thomas is now just the seventh American to hold the top spot. The company Thomas joins is elite, and it includes Tiger Woods, David Duval, Tom Lehman, Jordan Spieth, Fred Couples and Johnson. He is also the 21st player to reach world No. 1 since the ranking’s inception in 1986.

Congratulations to Justin, and may he hold on to it for a while.

In football news, Brandon Kennedy is appealing Alabama’s release that restricts him from contact with future opponents.

Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy is interested in transferring to Auburn or Tennessee but isn’t even currently allowed to have contact with those schools, any other school in the SEC or any of the Crimson Tide’s future non-conference opponents, sources told AL.com.

This is basically the same situation as Maurice Smith a couple of years ago. As Saban said at the time, SEC rules prohibit a player from being able to transfer and play immediately within the conference. Smith won his appeal, though commissioner Greg Sankey put UGA on notice that there would be consequences for the program if Smith failed to complete his degree in a reasonable amount of time. We will see what happens in this case.

But seriously, Brandon, Auburn and Tennessee? I smell shenanigans from a certain Krispy Kreme loving critter masquerading as an athletic director in moonshine country.

Alabama has a new front office staffer.

Welton has experience in the SEC after spending the last five years as the point person for Tennessee’s recruiting operation. At Alabama, he’ll be reunited with former Vol head coach Butch Jones, now a Tide analyst.

Before Tennessee, Welton spent 10 years with the Cleveland Browns as a college scout. He worked with then-Browns general manager Phil Savage (2005-08).

The player personnel position is an administrative role that has turned over several times in Saban’s tenure as folks move on to bigger roles. Welcome, Bob Welton.

In case you ever doubted Nick Saban’s pull in NFL circles...

Team owner and general manager Jerry Jones, after informing Scarbrough that the Cowboys had picked him, said, “Our head coach just got off the phone with Nick (Saban), and he said, ‘Take him.’”

Jones passed the phone to Dallas coach Jason Garrett, who told Scarbrough: “I’ve known coach Saban for a long time, and he couldn’t say enough good things about you.”

When Garrett handed the phone to Scott Linehan, the Cowboys offensive coordinator said: “I know coach Saban well, and you come highly rated from maybe the best coach ever. And our scouts and coaches love you, and so do I. Coach Garrett’s excited. Let’s go to work.”

You have some bad injury luck at what amounts to a throwaway NFL position, and Saban still gets you drafted. Hear that, Trey Sanders?

“We were told early on that whenever you commit you need to look at is as a business decision,” Delmon Sanders said. “And Alabama just looks like a great business decision for a kid going to school who’s trying to go off to the next level. They consistently put guys in the league. You can see the difference in their kids versus other schools. I went to a game and all of them look like giants. You go to Bama and it looks like a small NFL team. That’s what’s impressive. And then just Nick Saban in general. Trey was kind of wowed by just being around a coach like Saban, possibly the best coach of all-time.”

The problem here is that Sanders’ older brother is a juco transfer who has committed to walk on at Florida. This will likely be a difficult choice for Trey, but the offensive line class that Alabama is assembling has to help.

Hey, this ought to get some Finebaum callers fired up.

Martin, a junior at Auburn, is a native of Port Arthur, Texas, so the offseason pairing isn’t as odd as their collegiate rivalry would have you believe. Still, it is rare to see two players on opposite sides of the Iron Bowl working out together in any sort of capacity.

Let the message board meltdowns begin.

Tony Brown managed to make a good first impression in San Diego.

“It’s hard to tell after one practice, but I was just watching him out there at corner. He can play some free safety, as well. I thought he did fine,” said Lynn of the former Alabama cornerback, according to Chargers.com. “He’s picking up the system. He’s still learning (and) has a lot going on, but he’s a very gifted young man. Very talented. His skill set is off the charts.”

Physical skills have never been Tony’s issue. It’s always been about the headspace with him. Hopefully he turns out to be a late bloomer in that regard and has a successful career.

Check out this quote from former WR coach Billy Napier.

“I would say that in that first year with Coach Saban I probably learned more in that year than in the ten prior,” he explains.

At Alabama, Napier became a student of Saban’s “Process” -- a methodology often misconstrued as some socialist construct aimed at promoting the collective good over everything else when in reality it’s a philosophy that appeals to an individual’s self-interest and personal ambition. Specific role descriptions, expectations and the “Do Your Job” mantra clarify each worker’s purpose, reinforcing the notion that he or she can be the difference in the program’s success or failure.

That first sentence says it all, doesn’t it?

Last, Clemson’s Associate AD, former Alabama assistant coach Woody McCorvey, thinks that Dabo Swinney will never leave Clemson.

“Dabo is Clemson. That’s who he is,” McCorvey told ESPN. “Dabo’s the perfect fit here. He can get on his moped and ride from the house to the office and then back to the house, and everybody just waves at him and he’s waving at everybody. Some places, you can’t do that. And then look at his kids. Clemson is all they know. The only thing they know about Alabama is that their daddy played there. They’ve grown up Clemson, and now, he’s got two sons on the team. This is their home.”

A grown man on a moped, and not because he lost his driver’s license? Sounds like peak Dabo.

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

Roll Tide.