Happy Monday, everyone. Fifteen Alabama football players graduated over the weekend, including five scholarship players with eligibility remaining:
Terrell Lewis has one year remaining, though he will be heading to the NFL.
Ben Davis and Scott Lashley each have one year remaining.
Mac Jones and Tyrell Shavers each have two years of eligibility remaining.
As graduated, all of those guys would be immediately eligible should they decide to finish their college careers elsewhere. Something to keep an eye on in the spring.
Kenyan Drake had himself a massive day yesterday for the Arizona Cardinals.
“It feels really good,” Drake said. “I just feel like the win itself -- we talked all week long about just playing a real dominant style of football. You know what I mean? There were a couple of gift-wrapped ones where I was on the 1-yard line, so all I had to do was fall forward. The O-line did a great job of pushing the pile, and I was able to just fall in. A couple of other plays where I didn’t get touched going into the end zone, so I mean sometimes it just kind of falls in your favor.”
Very humble, but it wasn’t just the touchdowns. He also gained 137 yards on 22 carries, a robust 6.2 average, and caught a pass. It was a phenomenal performance all the way around.
The Tide had quite a few freshmen learn on the fly this season, particularly in the defensive front seven.
“I really see the maturity in (Lee), from being all over the place when he was first announced as a starter,” senior safety Jared Mayden said. “Kind of at a young age, especially with the Alabama defense, it does take awhile to learn. I just played corner, star and safety and I know it took me every bit of 2 1/2, 3 years.
“And now you tell me a freshman linebacker, who not only has to get the coverages but has to make the defensive front changes. I knew he was overwhelmed but the coaches helped him learn, we helped him gain confidence in calling, because you do need to call. But overall, he’s just getting mature. I think now you can see him not being so kind of confused or sporadic. He’s come into his own.
Been saying it all year, but it would be interesting to see Lee and Harris after a full spring and fall camp as starters. Of course, if Dylan Moses and/or Josh McMillon want to come back for one more ride, that wouldn’t suck either.
Cecil has the postmortem on a fairly awful 2019 for Alabama sports.
There are causes for everything, theories about why certain controllable things slipped out of control. There was also an element that seemed unavoidable. The football team that took the field for a distant-seeming first practice on August with a healthy Tua, a healthy Dylan Moses, a healthy LaBryan Ray and so on could have competed with anyone, anywhere. Part of the disappointing aura was that things didn’t work out that way and Alabama came so close to overcoming those things anyway, but couldn’t.
We will know more about 2019 a year from now than we do at the moment. History works that way and shows us what is a pattern and what is simply a part of the ebb and flow. Perhaps things will start to turn around with the Citrus Bowl, or SEC play in basketball, in the early part of 2020. For the moment, though, it’s best to be like Esquire, proclaim 2019 as the worst year ever and hope for no repeat.
As he notes, the surprise WCWS run by the softball team was a rare bright spot in an otherwise rough year. Hopefully 2020 will be better.
Saban is out here being evil again, helping to educate children.
University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban will help fund a new children’s center in Tuscaloosa with gifts totaling $1.25 million, officials announced Friday.
The Tuscaloosa News reported that Saban and his wife Terry are making a $1 million donation for what will become the Saban Center, and Saban’s private foundation, Nick’s Kids, will donate another $250,000.
The center intends to “bring STEM programs together with theater, literature, outdoor recreation, and interactive learning for children and families in Tuscaloosa and surrounding area.” Great stuff.
Rick Karle had some nice things to say about Jalen Hurts.
“I hope that he was thinking that while he didn’t win, he not only left it all on the field, he left a legacy of being a warrior and a man of faith at both Alabama Football and Oklahoma Sooners. What advice would Jalen give us about life? In New York, Jalen offered, ‘You’ve just got to keep your faith. Trust God. Know your why. Know why you do what you do. Keep faith and keep moving forward.’ I’ll never forget what Jalen brought to college football: Class, teamwork, excitement and kindness. I’ll be rooting for Jalen once the playoffs begin.”
Last, it’s #SabantoCowboys season.
Lane Kiffin’s SEC comeback: “As good a recruiter as anybody in the country,” Cowherd said. “So is Ed Orgeron, maybe the second-best recruiter in the country. So is Kirby Smart, maybe the third-best recruiter in the country.”
“What does the NFL not have? A transfer portal,” Cowherd said.
“Dallas is not a rebuild.”
“Nick Saban is one of the smartest defensive coaches ever and Dallas is not well-coached on defense.”
“It’s a perfect entry point…You never want to replace Howard Stern. You want to replace somebody where you look at the numbers and go, ‘Oh, I can double those numbers.’”
That last line says it all. Howard Stern is what Cowherd so longs to be, and never will. The Cowboys won in blowout fashion yesterday, so maybe Jason Garrett will save his job for another season and we can keep Nick around.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.