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Jumbo Package: Alabama places 5 on SEC All-Freshman Team, Jonah Williams returns from injury in Cincy

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Western Carolina at Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. Alabama was snubbed all the way around for national awards this season, but five made the conference All-Freshman team.

Alabama football’s Christian Barmore, Christian Harris, Shane Lee, Evan Neal and Ty Perine were selected to the Southeastern Conference’s All-Freshman Team, the league office announced Thursday.

The team was voted on by the league’s 14 head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own players.

All five players were pivotal for the Tide this year and, particularly in the case of the LBs, not always in a good way. That is to be expected of true freshmen playing a complex position, however, and better days should be ahead for them.

Donta Hightower enjoyed the HBO documentary on Saban and Belichick.

“A lot of times people just kind of see -- no disrespect -- but the McVays of the world and they see the razzle-dazzle stuff,” Hightower told reporters in the Patriots’ locker room on Thursday. “A lot of times, you don’t necessarily understand or appreciate -- obviously not in this circumstance with Bill and Nick -- but understand and respect the hard work that comes in with starting from the bottom and understanding how things work. A lot of guys kind of get things kind of handed to them, and those guys kind of really started from the bottom, whether it be a GA or special teams. Those guys worked hard, and it doesn’t really surprise anybody with the experience and the success that they’ve had.”

There isn’t a player in the NFL who has had better training than Hightower.

Things are looking up in recruiting.

Several Alabama commits are now ranked a good amount higher, including a four-star safety and two four-star defensive tackles.

Four-star safety Brian Branch and four-star defensive lineman Timothy Smith have both moved up more than 50 spots in the 247Sports Composite rankings, which were updated Thursday.

Branch, who jumped up 51 spots, is now rated as the 58th-best overall player and third-best safety in the 2020 recruiting class.

Branch and Smith will be coming into positions that offer immediate opportunity to compete for time. We’ll see if they are up to the task.

The news is not as rosy for Jayson Jones, who continues to fall. He is now out of the top 200 and took an in-home visit from Georgia Tech last night. I think he ends up there, which is probably best for all parties.

The basketball team is finally getting healthy.

“I thought Herb (Jones) looked great today. He participated in just about everything today,” Oats said after Thursday’s practice. “Beetle (Bolden) was pretty limited but practiced, so I’m anticipating he’ll play. And then (Alex) Reese did a lot of skill work, shooting, so my guess is they’ll all be playing on Saturday. It’d be nice to have everybody back.”

It will indeed. This Penn State team looks awfully tough, and has built a solid resume already. We will need everyone to play well.

Last, Jonah Williams returned to practice with the Bengals and may have a chance to debut in the NFL this season after all. Hearing your name called in the draft, a lifelong dream for many, and then having the rookie season derailed by injury has to be devastating to a kid. It sounds like Jonah has maintained perspective, however, and will soon get his shot.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.