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Jumbo Package: Mack Wilson continues to lead

All of the latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. It was actually a decent weekend on the diamond, with the baseball team managing to take one of three and the softball team coming out of nowhere to sweep a top ten team.

The biggest football news of the weekend involves 14 upperclassmen traveling with Scott Cochran to work out at IMG Academy in what they are calling a “leadership trip.”

Quinnen Williams, Miller Forristall, Christian Miller, Isaiah Buggs, Shyheim Carter, Hale Hentges, Jalen Hurts, Ross Pierschbacher, Raekwon Davis, Mack Wilson, Terrell Lewis, Deionte Thompson, Damien Harris, Anfernee Jennings and Cochran.

That’s nine defensive players and five offensive players, and a potential reason for the difference in numbers is the lack of experience the Crimson Tide has returning on its 2018 defense.

The staff is obviously trying to forge a bond among these guys and get them to lead the way for the green but uber-talented sophomore class. One player in particular seems to be embracing the challenge.

Mack has reportedly added more than 20 lbs. of muscle since showing up on campus for the first time. He will be counted on to call the signals for the defense this season.

Oh, and I’m certain that their choosing to work out at the high school of 2019 five-stars Nolan Smith and Trey Sanders, both of whom the Tide are still recruiting heavily out of IMG, is merely a coincidence. Edge rusher Smith is a UGA commit that the staff is reportedly trying hard to steal, and RB Trey Sanders was previously committed to Alabama.

It’s looking like another busy draft for Alabama next season.

Draft analyst Chad Reuter compiled the annual list once again. His criteria were:

“I primarily focus on upperclassmen for this list, although some sophomores are included based on their performances last season (no true freshman or redshirt freshman were included),” he wrote. “Other talented young players that could be included here might make their way onto future editions.

“Each player’s rating is based partially on their value to their college football team and partly on their talent as an NFL prospect. No matter which way you look at it, these guys are going to be fun to watch next fall.”

The top Tide player on his list? Raekwon Davis who checks in at #12, one slot ahead of Christian Wilkins from the Clemson Tigers.

Sports Illustrated got some nice shots from the spring.

Saban’s office is downright understated in comparison to many other aspects of the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility—decked-out players lounge, locker-room waterfall, etc.—but the front-and-center framing of his conference and national championship rings on a desk embossed with Alabama’s script A make a sufficient impression on the recruits and visitors called in to see the coach.

Check out that desk. It just reeks of success.

Recruiting notes:

A big difference between his trips to Tuscaloosa and Athens, and why the Tide have an advantage, is that Alfano didn’t get a chance to spend time with Georgia’s players. He spent just one day at Georgia, and it was a rushed visit because of that. He spent two days in Tuscaloosa and had the opportunity to hang out with Isaiah Buggs, Raekwon Davis and Anfernee Jennings. Having a bond with the players is something important to him. It’s also clear that he wants to play for an established, winning program.

Half of the current class comes from Alabama high schools, a notable number after the Crimson Tide landed just two in-state players last year. Of Alabama’s six current in-state commitments, five of those players made their decision in the last month.

Antonio Alfano is the #5 SDE in the 2019 class and Alabama seems to be in great shape for him. As the second link notes, last season was an abysmal year for Alabama high school talent. Fortunately, regression to the mean kicked in this year and has produced an outstanding in-state class.

Tide great RB Sherman Williams has turned a tragic tale into one of inspiration.

Congratulations to him as he continues to build a life after prison. Take a moment to remember his best moment in an Alabama uniform, won’t you?

That 1994 team was thisclose to an undefeated season (damn you, Chris Doering). Doubtful that anyone was splitting a title with the Tommie Frazier Cornhuskers that year though, as evidenced by the snub of an undefeated Penn State squad with blowout non-conference wins over USC and then Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

Ha Ha got his degree this weekend as well, and put out a nice little promo video for The Process.

The latest crop of our latest crop of NFL rookies:

The Green Bay Packers announced they’d signed fifth-round draft pick JK Scott on Friday. The NFL team also announced it had released his competition.

The punter signed his four-year rookie contract as the Packers opened their three-day rookie minicamp on Friday. Scott joined Green Bay on Saturday as the 172nd player picked in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Sounds like JK is gong to be The Man right away. Good for him.

Check out Bradley Bozeman signing his contract:

That is one happy big fella.

A couple of graduates are still hoping to get their shots.

Though King is older at 28 and only posted six tackles during his two years at Alabama, the Detroit native tested out very well at the Tide’s pro day in March.

At 6-foot-3, 291 pounds, King ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds and got 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.

At least one team told Jones, who posted 53 tackles and two interceptions last season, that he could have been drafted as high as the fourth or fifth round if not for the injury.

But Jones is very much upbeat, as his mom realized last Thursday, and he’s expecting to be ready for tryouts in either June or July.

”I’ve got to keep going,” Jones said. “I can’t just stop because I’m hurt. I’m going to shake back. I’ve just got to be patient and trust the process.”

Hootie’s mother, Jessica Carr, is still battling her stage 4 cancer. In case you forgot, it was a filthy Barner who took away his chance of having her see him drafted.

Really appreciate you taking out a guy’s knee on a wholly unnecessary cut, Chandler Cox.

To hear Jessica though, she got the photo she really wanted back in August.

Hopefully Hootie is able to get back and land a roster spot someday, but if not he has set himself up for a bright future and has some fine memories of time shared with his cherished mother.

Last, Braxton Key announced where he will be heading.

“Alabama has taught me so much about my game and also about myself as a person, and I can’t thank Coach Avery [Johnson] enough for the opportunity,” Key said. “But I am excited about the next chapter at Virginia. I chose Virginia because of the relationship with the coaches since high school. I love how close the team is, and it’s my uncle Ralph Sampson’s alma mater. I’ll miss the Crimson Tide, but I’m so grateful for this next chapter.”

Good luck to Braxton. Never realized he was related to Ralph Sampson.

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

Roll Tide.