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More practice notes as the season draws ever nearer

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Former Alabama star QB signs with Birmingham pro team

In addition to having a former Alabama star running the ball, the new Birmingham pro football team will also have an ex-Crimson Tide star throwing passes.

Blake Sims told AL.com that he has signed with this Birmingham franchise within the new Alliance of American Football league and will play quarterback.

Good for Blake. I still have little hopes for this football league, but I am, at the very least, happy that we have a team in the state to root for. Having Blake Sims and Trent Richardson on it is definitely cause enough to to tune into their games, and I expect they’ll only draw more ex-Tide players who don’t cut it in the NFL.

Alabama RB Najee Harris dealing with foot injury

One of Alabama’s top young offensive players is dealing with an injury that will keep him from practicing for the rest of fall camp.

Sophomore running back Najee Harris suffered a foot injury during the Crimson Tide’s scrimmage on Saturday and will probably miss the next two weeks of practice, sources told AL.com.

There’s a good chance he’ll be available for Alabama’s season-opening game against Louisville Sept. 1, though, per sources.

Well this one sucks. Najee is expected to be back by the time the season rolls around, but foot issues are often the kinds of things that linger and cause a guy to play at 85-90% for an entire season, rather than missing a game or two to get totally healed up.

On the bright side, running back Josh Jacobs is finally back in the swing of things and has apparently been really standing out in camp.

Nick Saban ‘really proud’ of young Alabama D-lineman

“He’s really played well,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said of Williams, who ranked fourth on the team with 6.5 tackles for a loss last year. “I think he’s one of the guys that I’m really proud of and probably exemplifies all the things that I’ve just been talking about. If you look at him as a young player, how he’s developed and what he’s grown into -- improving himself physically, having a lot of maturity, really plays with a lot of effort, really smart player -- I think he’s one of our most productive guys up front right now.”

Another standout this fall has been Quinnen Williams. He’s been around a while and has been touted as a potential breakout candidate ever since Jonathan Allen named him as one back in 2016. And when someone gets that kind of glowing praise from Saban, you have to think he’s in line to be a big contributor this season.

Alabama Football: Tide has fall camp session No. 9 under the lights

There was little other hard news Monday night, but some practice groups provided some added information.

Based on defensive back drills, it is looking more as if the dime unit will be Trevon Diggs and Saivion Smith at the corners; Deionte Thompson and Xavier McKinney at the safeties; Shyheim Carter at the star position and Kyriq McDonald at money. Patrick Surtain Jr. and Jared Mayden are still battling for a spot in the top six DBs.

On Monday night, Alex Leatherwood worked at guard while Jedrick Wills worked at tackle in the first group. If this adjustment continues, it could be an indication of seeking better pass protection on the outside. More likely, it is just cross-training key linemen.

There was a slight hint of player changes on the defensive line. In the drill lineup, redshirt senior Johnny Dwight followed the top three of Buggs, Davis and Williams. Insiders report Dwight played well in the Saturday scrimmage. His position in drills before LaBryan Ray might have just been the sophomore showing deference to the upperclassman.

At least in the media viewing period, there was no apparent change in the practice routine of Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa. If, as most Alabama football fans believe, Tua has taken a lead over Jalen based on the Saturday scrimmage, Nick Saban will not share that information. Nick’s tight lips are not expected to be loosened in the media review on Thursday.

There’s not a whole lot to glean from the info that Bamahammer managed to get for us, but I think it is noteworthy that Kyriq McDonald looks to be close to establishing himself as the 6th DB. Erik and I have both been very high on the 2nd-year man out of Madison, Alabama ever since he committed— he’s a spark plug of energy that could be a tone-setter kind of guy on defense. Before now, I had figured that Jared Mayden was most likely the 6th DB, but if this report is correct, that’s changed.

Three Tide assistants sit in Top 10 of recruiter rankings

Alabama football added six new assistant coaches this offseason and currently sits with the No. 1-ranked recruiting class, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite Team Recruiting Rankings.

A prerequisite to work on a Nick Saban staff, aside from coaching prowess, is the ability to recruit. With the Tide atop the recruiting standings, three of its assistants currently reside in the top 10 of the 247Sports Recruiter Rankings.

TL;DR for those that don’t want to click the article: Tosh Lupoi is #5, Josh Gattis is #7, and Mike Locksley is #8. Brent Key isn’t far behind at #12.

Locksley in particular has been extremely impressive as he’s pulled in elite recruit after elite recruit out of the Baltimore/DC area, which was not a pipeline area for the Tide before he came into the program. 2020 Defensive End/Linebacker Chris Braswell is a five star recruit that is at the top of Alabama’s board, so keeping the momentum going in that area will be a priority to lock him up for the future.

Roll Tide!