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Jumbo Package: Tua plans to attend Senior Day festivities

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes

Alabama v Mississippi State Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, everyone. Saturday is Senior Day, and Tua Tagovailoa plans to attend.

Something tells me that he is going to get quite the ovation.

According to Matt Zenitz, his prognosis has minimized the impact of the injury on his draft stock.

Three longtime NFL personnel guys told that if they had to bet on it, Tagovailoa would still go somewhere in the first half of the first round even after suffering the hip injury. Possibly even still in the top-10.

“Before Saturday, I would have said top-five for him with a good chance at going No. 1 overall,” one scout said. “Right now, I’d still say top-15 for him. Every year, you have 15 blue-chip players, and he’s one of them. … So assuming that it goes great with his rehab, yes, he has a chance of going high still because he’s so talented. He’s a really, really, highly talented guy who teams are going to want to give every benefit of the doubt to try and get.”

Let’s hope so. Going in the middle of the round not only virtually guarantees that he goes to a stronger team than if he had gone in the top 5, but it increases the odds that a playoff team with an aging QB moves up to grab him as their future franchise guy. Based on the latest timelines, the doctors seem to believe that he will be ready to practice by next fall.

Saban is a big old softy where Tua is concerned.

“Any angst or any question that is directed negatively at Coach Saban, that is unfair at best,” Smith said on Marty and McGee, “because, I can tell you, it’s okay to wonder ‘should Tua have been in the game?’ it’s not okay to persecute someone because Tua was in the game. This is gutting Saban. It’s gutting him. I’ve personally never seen him like this.”

This is partly because of the severity of the injury, but it’s mostly just Tua and the way he affects folks.

Josh McMillon may have a chance to come back next year.

Alabama will pursue a medical redshirt for McMillon, who was set to be a starter for the Tide before suffering a season-ending knee injury in August.

“We’ll definitely petition for that and then he’ll at least have a choice as to whether he wants to do that or not,” Saban said. “... Josh is a really mature, good leader. School’s important to him. And I’m sure he’ll make a great decision by coming back. We’d love to have him.”

The kid stayed through four seasons, waiting his turn, only to have it taken from him. Hopefully he comes back and gets a chance to shine.

Mac Jones’ teammates believe in him.

“A lot of people overlook [Jones] because of who he was behind but I feel the same way about Mac as I feel about Tua,” wide receiver DeVonta Smith said Tuesday.

Safety Jared Mayden offered similar praise for Jones, noting confidence has not been an issue. He recalled Jones’ freshman year in which, as the scout team quarterback, Jones was “throwing bombs” to wide receiver Tyrell Shavers when Saban told him to stop.

“Jones was like, ‘Well, tell your defense to stop it,’” Mayden recounted.

“There’s not too many people that go back and forth with Coach Saban. ... For a quarterback to have that type of charisma about himself, you know I’ll be behind him all the time.”

“You’re not a sparring partner anymore,” Saban said he told Jones. “You’re the lead dog, so you’ve got to be in control of what you’re doing and have positive body language, not only in terms of what you do but in how you affect other people.”

Jones has attempted passes in eight of Alabama’s 10 games this season, including in his first career start against Arkansas while Tagovailoa was recovering from a previous injury. Jones completed 18 of 22 passes for 235 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions during the 48-7 win a month ago.

A lot of Alabama fans were understandably disgusted by some of the “celebration” when Tua got hurt, but I think we all know it wasn’t about that. When LSU beat Alabama, that was supposed to be the death knell to Alabama’s playoff hopes. It wasn’t, and the injury to Tua has a chance to be.

As an Alabama fan I would want to see this anyway, but especially for the nationwide angst it would cause, please let Mac ball out in Auburn while the rest of the team plays for Tua and rolls those bastards. The meltdown over Alabama making the playoff again would be among the best ever.

The AAC commissioner said things.

“Each time I’ve watched the release of the rankings, I’ve seen an unfortunate predictability, and why wouldn’t I be upset?” Aresco said Wednesday. “I’m not criticizing the committee personally, I’ve never done that, but what I’m doing is I’m trying to take the committee to task on their methodology and their conclusions. I want to point out the facts. My feeling is this conference has been undervalued and disrespected since the CFP began.”

Dude, your top team, Memphis, boasts a signature win by 5 points over Ole Miss, and they lost to Temple. Sit down and shut up.

Last, speaking of Memphis, projected #1 overall NBA pick James Wiseman is cleared to come back January 12 if he can scrape together come cash.

Watch Penny give him the money and dare the NCAA to do something about it. Memphis seems to be actively challenging the status quo.

That’s about it for today. I’ve embedded Saban’s entire Wednesday press conference below for you. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.