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Jumbo Package: The off-season is kicking into gear

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Alabama loses a lineman to transfer, among other news

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Transferring Alabama lineman headed to Big Ten school

Richie Petitbon, who was a reserve offensive lineman this past season, is transferring to Illinois, sources told AL.com.

The former top-65 recruit will be a graduate transfer and has one year of eligibility remaining. Petitbon had been in the NCAA transfer portal since mid-December.

This one has been expected for quite a while now, and honestly I was surprised it didn’t happen last offseason. Best of luck to Richie, and we appreciate all he did behind the scenes with the team.

Rising sophomore LB ready to place his stamp on Alabama football

Brandon “Ale” Kaho, a native of Reno, Nev., saved the Crimson Tide’s 2018 class when he came in late.

His emergence moved the Tide from sixth to fifth nationally, which led to Alabama fans being able to safely exhale. While he was originally committed to Washington, Saban ended up stealing an exceptional athlete.

As one of the nation’s top linebacker prospects, Kaho played running back, defensive end and punter in three years at Reno High School.

He helped the program obtain a 31-7 record during his time – including three consecutive trips to the playoffs. Kaho was also a star in the shot put for track; however, the young man was a heat-seeking missile on kickoff and punt coverage for the Tide last season.

Seven of his 11 tackles came on special teams and he also recorded one fumble recovery. The 6-foot-1, 218-pounder earned Special Teams Player of the Week from the coaching staff for his efforts against Louisiana State University and Mississippi State, but looks to be more involved on defense.

Throughout fall practice and the 2018 season, Kaho’s lateral quickness and intelligence were both consistent factors.

Kaho’s roundabout path to Alabama was a bit unconventional, and he arrived just as the Tide was beginning season prep work for the Louisville opener, so it largely went under the radar. But he was a 5-star recruit with phenomenal speed and pass coverage ability. He made it into the special teams rotation within about two weeks from arriving in Tuscaloosa and carved out a role for himself, so I expect he’ll make some major improvements to his game after a full offseason in Saban’s defense.

With Mack Wilson moving to the pros, Kaho will be angling to be the other starting linebacker alongside Dylan Moses.

Every assistant coach in Nick Saban’s tenure at Alabama

Every year, coaching searches include several UA assistants for open coordinator positions and head coaching gigs. Some years see few coaches depart while others we’ve seen mass changes to the Bama staff.

Last offseason we saw six new assistants join Saban’s staff, two of which (Dan Enos and Josh Gattis) have already accepted new jobs. The year before that, the Tide lost both its defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator, the latter position being held by several in recent years.

And despite the changes year in and year out, Alabama has made every College Football Playoff since its origination and has won two of the last five national championships.

Here, BamaOnLine looks back on each assistant that has worked under Saban since he took over at the Capstone in 2007.

With all the talk lately about the assistant coach turnover at Alabama, here’s a piece from 247 with a quick blurb on every single Tide assistant to move on since 2007. Interesting stuff if, like me, you haven’t exactly kept up with them all.

Alabama expected to get last visit from elite SEC commit

The Seminary (Miss.) product is expected on campus at the Capstone Feb 1-3, the final weekend before National Signing Day on Feb. 6, according to his mother.

This means Alabama will get the last elongated, in-person contact with the Top50 recruit prior to making it official with a school.

All along, Pickering has maintained he is firm with the Bulldogs, a commitment he made last summer during an unofficial visit to Starkville, but the constant outside of that is Pickering’s interest in the Tide. Since September, the 4-star defensive lineman has maintained Alabama as the No. 2 team in his recruitment and the school he would choose if he were to decommit from MSU. The Magnolia State native also took in three games at Bryant-Denny Stadium this year.

I don’t expect Pickering to go anywhere but Mississippi State. His recruitment feels almost exactly like Jeffery Simmons’ recruitment in the past. However, getting the final visit before NSD is good sign, as he’ll go into making his decision with some recency bias going on in his mind. One of those players right at the dividing line between a 5 and a 4 star, Pickering was dominant in his All-American game earlier this month, and would be just icing on the cake for what is already a ridiculously deep recruiting class for the Tide.

Mark Ingram sets New Orleans Saints’ record in NFL playoff victory

In five playoff games, Ingram has run for 246 yards and one touchdown on 56 carries. On Sunday, he had 53 yards on nine rushing attempts.

Ingram already had passed Reggie Bush (38 carries for 200 yards and two touchdowns in six games) for second place on New Orleans’ postseason rushing list earlier in the contest. The long run lifted him past leader Pierre Thomas, who had 222 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 49 carries in six playoff games for the Saints.

Ingram’s 36-yarder also was the longest non-scoring run in New Orleans’ playoff history.

Deuce McAllister is New Orleans’ all-time rushing leader with 6,096 yards in 97 regular-season games from 2001 through 2008.

Ingram ranks second in career rushing yards in Saints’ history with 6,007 in 106 regular-season games since joining New Orleans as a first-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Remember that time everyone and their mothers were laughing at Alabama for their players busting in the pros, with Ingram being one of the big examples of such busts (not quite as big of an example as Trent Richardson...)? Well, 8 years later Mark Ingram has made multiple pro bowls and is nearly the Saints’ all-time leading rusher. His role has diminished somewhat with the explosive emergence of the much younger Alvin Kamara, but if he stays with New Orleans just one more season, he’ll easily bust the record out of the water.

That’s it for today. Roll Tide!