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Terrell Lewis opens up, Alabama dominates the NFL Mock Draft season

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Alabama vs Clemson Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

How Terrell Lewis’ humor (and Mike Tyson impression) got him through 2018 ACL tear

He explained the shock and disappointment of getting that news in that December interview but not before the Tyson impression slipped out.

“I just laugh it off because one of these days,” Lewis said, “I’m going to memorize one of them Mike Tyson speeches and get paid for it.”

Fellow outside linebacker Jamey Mosley cracked up when asked about the vocal parallels between his teammate and Iron Mike. It’s that sensibility that Mosley credits for his friend getting through the fall after tearing his ACL.

“That could be devastating,” Mosley said, “having something like that happen two years in a row, especially with the expectations he has as a player and the person he is, it could be devastating. But man, he handled it like a champ from Day 1. He’s been doing a tremendous job of just handling that adversity.”

That includes a trip to the postgame media room following Alabama’s win over Missouri on Oct. 13. Lewis insisted on pretending to be fellow-linebacker Christian Miller’s personal butler in the scrum. So, he stood perfectly still behind Miller cupping a water bottle in the palm of his hand should his teammate get thirsty mid-interview.

This all traces back to the early July day at the Alabama football complex. He was doing some field work with Jennings, safety Deionte Thompson and a few others.

“And somebody under-threw the ball when I was doing some drill work,” Lewis said, “and I planted and it gave out on me.”

He remembers thinking it felt a little weird, and when the swelling became noticeable, Lewis went straight for the cold tub. It’s probably a meniscus, the linebacker thought because he was walking just fine. Lewis went to Daphne to help former teammate Ryan Anderson’s football clinic. A photo from the event was posted on his Instagram page July 7. The next picture went up three days later with Lewis in a hospital bed.

The blurb on this one is a little long, but the entire story is really good. Terrell Lewis’s injury luck (or lack thereof) has been one of the most disappointing aspects of the last two years. Hopefully the 2019 season will finally give him the chance to have a full season of health... and he can turn that into the productivity we’ve all been hoping for.

Nick Saban stops by Walker High to recruit

Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban made a stop at Walker High School Tuesday morning to recruit one of the school’s star athletes who is set to graduate in 2021.

Saban met with 6′ 5″ Walker High sophomore, Brian Thomas, a wide receiver for the school’s football team.

“He’s interested in Brian being a wide receiver for Alabama,” said Walker High Principal Jason St. Pierre.

Thomas also plays basketball for the school and was named MVP of the 5-A basketball state championship last year.

A 6’5” receiver that’s still only a sophomore? I’m interested. It’ll be a couple of years before we really start talking about that class, but it will be a name to remember for later.

An unofficial update on Alabama’s offseason coaching changes

Sarkisian will lead an overhauled offensive staff that also includes new offensive line coach Kyle Flood, new receivers coach Holmon Wiggins and new running backs coach Charles Huff, also formerly of Mississippi State.

Joining Baker on the defensive side of the ball is expected to be former Florida State defensive coordinator Charles Kelly in a yet-to-be-finalized role that will also include responsibilities with Alabama’s secondary, according to his father, as well as former Florida defensive line coach Sal Sunseri, who is believed to be taking over coaching the Tide’s outside linebackers in his return to Tuscaloosa.

Although none of these hires have been officially announced as of Tuesday morning, several of the additions have already acknowledged their new positions at Alabama.

Flood, Huff, Sunseri and Wiggins have already updated their Twitter bios to include an Tide-themed banner and their location to “Tuscaloosa,” with Wiggins even including his title as Alabama’s “WRs coach.”

It looks like the new coaching staff is pretty much wrapped up at this point. Overall, I’m excited about this group. Baker, in particular, has worked miracles on the Miss State defensive line over the last couple of seasons. And bringing Sal Sunseri back will be huge for getting the linebacker unit back up to Alabama standards.

My first reaction to the Sarkisian hire was trepidation, but I think a lot of that is based off of just one game— one in which he wasn’t dealt a full hand of cards. I’ve heard some complaints from Falcons fans as well as Washington Huskies fans about his overall philosophy being too quick to abandon the run game, but no one has questioned his ability to develop a pro-style passing game.

And let’s face it, with the quarterback and receivers returning next year, combined with losing the top two running backs from this year, Alabama is going to be a passing team in 2019. Might as well double down on it.

January mock draft roundup: Where Alabama players are projected

1. Arizona Cardinals -- Quinnen Williams

Robert Nkemdiche is one of the many regrettable draft picks made by Steve Keim. Here is a difference-maker for the point of attack and a true replacement for Calais Campbell.

WalterFootball.com was the first in the media to report and project that Williams could be a high first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Sources from multiple teams, including two general managers, were raving about Williams to me before the other media caught on to him. Williams was the breakout player for Alabama in 2018. Raekwon Davis and Isaiah Buggs received more preseason hype, but Williams was the most consistent play-maker and disruptor on the Crimson Tide’s defensive line. In 2018, Williams totaled 71 tackles with 19.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and one pass batted. He also caused more disruption than the numbers indicate. Williams’ game against LSU was one of the most impressive performances I’ve ever seen from a college defense tackle, and he reminded me of Warren Sapp in that game, among others.

Williams is very fast at the point of attack with the ability to fire a gap and cause havoc in the backfield. The redshirt sophomore is listed at 6-foot-4, 289 pounds. If those measurements are legit, he could be a good fit as a three-technique in a 4-3 defense or as a five-technique in a 3-4.

Quinnen Williams is most often being projected as the #3 overall pick to the New York Giants, but there are more than a couple thinking he may go #1 overall. None see him dropping out of the top 5.

Jonah Williams is a top-10 pick to most, but some draft sabotage (make no mistake, that’s exactly what it is) has a lot of the media thinking he may drop because “he may not be a great fit at tackle.” It’s bogus introduced by some pro team that’s hoping the negative press will drop him far enough they can pick him up.

Deionte Thompson is projected to go late in the 1st round by many, but could very easily drop into the second. He’s one of the top safeties in the draft for sure, but that’s always a position that only gets drafted in the first if the team really has a need and the pick is a fit.

Josh Jacobs is getting some love too. Everyone is wanting to copy the success of the New England Patriots in getting a running back that is such a good receiver out of the backfield. It’s all the rage these days, and Jacobs fits the mold perfectly.

Mack Wilson is also getting a few mocks putting him in the first round, but I just don’t see it. Inside linebacker is already an undervalued position, and it isn’t like Mack had a great year. He flashed potential at times and definitely has the athleticism and ball skills, but that’s a big gamble for a team to drop a first round pick on. But, then again, crazier things have been done in the name of potential. Darrius Heyward-Bay comes immediately to mind.

Irv Smith is the wild card here. In another year, he’d likely be a surefire first round pick, but the TE class is strong this year, so, like with Thompson, it will all depend on need and fit of the teams in the back end of the 1st.

That’s it for today. The news is a little slow, so I did some extra editorializing on the draft projections. Deal with it.

Roll Tide!