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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Will Alabama pass Clemson for the #1 recruiting class?

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Alabama Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, Tennessee hate week is technically over, but this is a pretty good way to start your Gump Day:

The story behind Trevon Diggs’ fumble return and what came next

Linebacker Terrell Lewis was on the field for the play and it was quickly clear to him how it would end.

”Man, it was sweet,” he said. “I was running with him at first and I was like, ‘Man, damn, he’s flying.’ I saw the ball come out and as soon as I saw him about to grab it I could tell he was about to take off and run with it just by the way he was grabbing it. It just looked like, ‘Yeah, he’s about to take this out.’ Once he took off I was running at first. I was like, ‘I’m gonna meet him at the end zone,’ but then I was like, ‘Nah, we’re about to come right back on the field.”

Lewis joked that Diggs was trying to show off his 40-yard dash speed. The corner tried to claim he moved faster that famously fast Henry Ruggs but the GPS tracking devices in their pads showed Ruggs’ speed tracking down an intercepted pass was faster than Diggs’.

Terrell Lewis continues to be a gold mine when it comes to funny quotes, and continues to cement his place as one of my favorite players (if not THE favorite) on this Alabama team.

Sophomore LB has become ‘headhunter’ for Alabama on special teams

“Craziest thing is some of his blocks don’t even be (bonsai block calls) or when we’re trying to blitz,” Mayden said. “It’s just, he just kind of goes and blows up the shield and it works for him. That’s just crazy to me. The shield will be like a 275-pound O-line or D-lineman. Kaho’s like 215. That goes back to what I was saying. He’s giving 110 percent effort.”

Most of Alabama’s top linebackers in the Saban era got their start as a special teams menace. Kaho joined very very late as a true freshman in 2018, and has dabbled with starter snaps in 2019, but hasn’t quite looked ready, especially in pass coverage. But if he can build on his success on special teams, then it may turn into more for him in his junior and senior years.

Nick Saban, teammates confident in Mac Jones before first start

“I think that he didn’t do anything that really hurt us in the game,” head coach Nick Saban said. “I think that he had two balls that were dropped that were critical situations in the game. The one play that he scrambled on third down where he could have thrown the ball, I would assume that if you asked him he’d say, ‘I wish I would have thrown the ball,’ because we would have made a first down and the guy was open.

“All in all, I thought he handled the situation really well. It’s a difficult circumstance to get thrown into. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Mac. With a week of preparation, I think he’ll do a lot better in this game.”

This is a good piece with a lot of quotes from Saban and other players about Mac Jones, so give it a read. Mac is well documented to be an emotional player, so I think we’ll see a much better QB when he’s expecting to be in the game than when he gets thrown in with no warning. At least, that’s the hope.

Breaking down 5-star TE Arik Gilbert’s upcoming decision

“Once considered a Georgia lean, Alabama took hold of the momentum this past summer and into the fall, hosting Gilbert for an official visit in June, for its Champions Cookout in July and then for its season-opener against Duke in Atlanta at the end of August. Alabama’s need at tight end and recent track record developing the position has Alabama in pole position, in my opinion, heading into decision day – the addition of five-star QB Bryce Young doesn’t hurt either. A last-minute official visit to Georgia was/is something to monitor. You can’t discount the home-state school in these types of recruitments. But Bama appears to have separated itself from the pack in recent weeks.” – Hank South, BamaOnline

Stay tuned. Around 5:00 tonight, we’ll allegedly know where Arik Gilbert will be going to school. Most of the “experts” seem to think he is a good bet to land at Alabama, but don’t ask me how or why they think that. In any case, landing an elite tight end has to be at the top of Alabama’s recruiting needs. Forristall won’t be around much longer, and no one else behind him on the depth chart has shown any major flashes of promise yet.

Also his commitment would push Alabama to the #1 spot in the recruiting ranks— a task that looked impossible 4 months ago given Clemson’s hot start.

Enjoy the rest of your day. Roll Tide!