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Jumbo Package: Is Mack Wilson the most important player for 2018?

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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

Happy Monday, everyone. Guess what? By the end of this week, we will be reporting on actual football practice!

The University of Alabama football team’s annual Fan Day is set for Saturday, Aug. 4. The Crimson Tide will hold an open practice in Bryant-Denny Stadium from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Players and coaches will be available for autographs following practice on the field beginning at approximately 4:45 p.m.

Let the games begin.

BamaOnline just completed its ranking of the 25 most important players for the 2018 season, and Mack Wilson got the nod at #1.

“Mack is going to be a signal caller,” Saban said in Atlanta. “He got a lot of experience last year as a starter. Went through a difficult time with his foot, he had a Jones fracture in his foot. But we need Mack to really be the guy on defense this year for us when it comes to leadership and how he affects other people. He’s going to be the signal caller.

“Very athletic, very good player. We don’t have any questions about his ability to do what he needs to do at his position to be successful, but how he affects other people is going to be critical.”

Saban may drag out the offensive QB competition, but he has no qualms about naming the signal caller of the defense before camp starts. Wilson’s leadership, and good health, will be critical to the success of a rebuilt defensive depth chart.

A couple of pieces about Saban’s new deal:

Was it entirely coincidental that the announcement was made at the beginning of a huge recruiting weekend? If you think that was random, you haven’t been following closely for the past 11 years. Everything connects to recruiting in some way. No one in college football recruits negatively — that is, if you ask them whether they do. But in the wake of Alabama’s success, somehow the talking point comes up for recruits, who have a little bird, one supposes, hinting to them that Saban might retire. What better way to counteract that “rumor” for the visitors to Alabama’s campus?

It’s clear at this point that beating Saban will be the only way to get him to retire. Good luck with that. He’s 64-7 over the last five seasons, and one failed defensive drive away from winning three straight national championships.

Saban’s Alabama is the favorite to win the championship again this season, and, at this point, his biggest problem every year is convincing stockpiled talent not to transfer. Saban’s quarterback controversy this fall will be the envy of every other coach in the country.

If Auburn’s starting quarterback goes down with an injury this season, the Tigers are done. If Alabama’s starting quarterback gets knocked out, the backup has starred in a national championship.

To quote Mel Brooks, it’s good to be the king.

Cecil, as always, has his finger on the pulse of the program better than anyone. Everything is about recruiting in Nick Saban’s world. Rival coaches can continue to use his age if they like, but recruits and their parents see the same thing we do: one of the youngest 66-year-olds you’ll ever encounter.

More watch list honors:

The Walter Camp Player of the Year Award has been presented annually since 1967 by the Walter Camp Foundation to recognize the nation’s most outstanding player in college football. The award is named in honor of Walter Camp, “The Founder of American Football,” who is credited with numerous innovations in the game. The winner will be announced prior to the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show in December and is recognized during the on-air segment later in the evening.

Raekwon Davis appearing on the Walter Camp list is surprising. Only 50 names appear on the list, and only four defensive linemen: Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, Clemson’s pair of Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins, and Davis. That’s some serious respect for the big fella.

The staff is still hard after 2019 ILB Nakobe Dean, but it’s easy to forget that one superstar at the position is already committed in the class.

Alabama prioritized Lee early on in the cycle. All it took was one visit and he made up his mind. The Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances product understands that the Tide will continue recruiting his position for at least one or two more inside linebackers.

“We sat down and talked about the logistics of everything — the numbers, who’s coming, who’s committed right now, the targets we’re trying to get, everything like that,” Lee said.

Whereas some recruits could be deterred from competition at their position, Lee welcomes it. He’s solid with the Tide and, since making a commitment, has completely shut his recruitment down.

Lee is a top 100 overall recruit and the #4 ILB on the 247 composite. Considering the numbers at the position, the Tide could definitely use a running mate for him, though.

A couple of NFL notes:

What did Nick Saban have to say about his relationship with Jason Garrett and the Cowboys after you were drafted?

BS: ”Actually, it was Coach Garrett who told me about their relationship. Once I arrived in Dallas, I kind of seen some of the same signs that [Saban] had in our facility and I texted [Alabama assistant coach Scott Cochran] and told him about the similar signs. He was like, ‘We kind of got it from them.’ So, once he told me that I was like... I can really be there and do what I need to do and it won’t be a problem.”

Nick probably spotted those signs on a job interview.

Asked on Saturday if he thought he had done anything wrong during the incident in Los Gatos, Foster said: “I respect your question, but I don’t feel like talking about it. I really don’t. Right or wrong or whatever, people criticized me and thought I was wrong. But I’m not going to fuel that no more.”

Foster called the offseason turmoil “a big learning experience.”

”I learned that every day I’ve got to go harder at everything I do to better myself even more,” Foster said. “It’s like do or die. Just don’t mess up. ... It’s like trying to craft my football -- I’ve got to craft my life and go hard at it.”

Unlike a certain QB, Reuben Foster has learned the art of “no comment.”

Speaking of Manziel, AJ McCarron’s father responded to the flap, saying simply that AJ is too busy for such nonsense while trying to win a starting job with the Buffalo Bills, and that they would keep Johnny in their prayers during his recovery.

Julio Jones spoke with media on Friday, said he was never actually going to hold out of Falcons camp.

Last, WAFF 48 in Hunstville is celebrating the eighth anniversary of its most famous interview.

Commemorating the Antoine Dodson Interview

Our sister station, WAFF 48 News in Alabama is commemorating the anniversary of one of its most famous interviews. Do you rememeber this interview? Original story: » https://bit.ly/2OsNjMG

Posted by WBTV News on Sunday, July 29, 2018

Alabama has won half the national titles since this came out. Run and tell that, homeboy.

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

Roll Tide.