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Jumbo Package: On eve of Citrus Bowl, many Alabama juniors have NFL Draft decisions looming

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Alabama v Mississippi State

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

This one is kind of odd:

The Calera product didn’t sign with the Crimson Tide during the early signing period and has been in contact with other schools such as Baylor, Oregon, Georgia Tech and LSU.

“I’m still verbally committed and I’m not decommitted,” Jones said. “But in the past, I feel like I haven’t given everyone a fair chance at recruitment. That’s what I want to do these next two months.”

Per Jones, he and Alabama “aren’t really talking right now.” And, according to Jones, the silence has been on the Tide’s end. But, given what we know about Saban’s recruiting MO, if JJ didn’t sign during the ESP to “give everyone a fair chance,” then his mantra gets dusted off once again: You shop, we shop.

It does appear to be a relationship on the outs, even if you wouldn’t quite call it acrimonious...yet.

Nick Saban faces yet another assistant. This time, Michigan OC Josh Gattis. The Wolverines have some true talent on the outside, and with Shea Patterson’s big arm and Gattis’ vertical scheme, expect UM to test the Tide downfield fairly regularly.

But how much can Gattis’ familiarity with Alabama help the Michigan defense during prep?

“I think it always helps, obviously, going against us. But they’re different. We’re different,” Gattis said on Sunday. “Obviously, there’s a little of similarities in what we do offensively. I think they’ve done a really good job adapting and adjusting the offense from previously being there. And they’ve got good players, they’ve got good coaches. Steve Sarkisian has done a really good job for them offensively. And Coach (Don) Brown does an amazing job in battling us.

El Tractorcito, fresh off the NFL rushing crown and another Pro Bowl appearance, was named the AFC’s Offensive Player of the Week this morning, in somewhat of a no-brainer:

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry has been named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 17 of the 2019 NFL season.

In the Titans’ 35-14 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday, Henry ran for 211 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries.

Derrick Henry — just another #BamaBust

TiderInsider’s preview of the UM-UA game is heyah.

SEC officiating cost Alabama a spot in the playoffs. And, in the Fiesta Bowl, it cost Ohio State an almost-certain victory and continuance in said playoffs. Needless to say, the Big 10 director of officiating is pissed, taking the matter up with Steve Shaw — a man who oversees the most buffoonish striped men in the game.

“I haven’t talked to anybody who thought it was an incomplete pass,” said Carollo, who has more than 30 years of officiating experience. “To reverse it, it has to be really obvious.”

Carollo said he has spoken with both Ohio State coach Ryan Day and SEC officiating supervisor Steve Shaw about the play. Carollo admitted Day was upset, but, “He’s a pro. Very professional.”

I hold out hope this offseason that someone will flay the skin off of the SEC’s notoriously inept group. If we need to salt the earth with this group of flag-bearers and start over, so be it.

What do we know about Henry Ruggs III draft status? Not much, but our #sauces indicate he’s probably gone. His remarks yesterday weren’t inconsistent with that:

One of the SEC’s top playmakers was mum on Monday when asked if he’ll be playing his final game on Wednesday in the Citrus Bowl vs. Michigan. He’ll make the call returning or leaving the program after he plays his final game, he says.

“I don’t know,” Ruggs said. “I mean, it’s the last game of this season. That’s all I can say.”

Way to go out on a limb there!

Putting together a few of Nick Saban’s quotes from last night on his radio appearance, we can deduce the following about Alabama’s draft-eligible players: Nine juniors on the team sought NFL draft grades. Of those, several received first round marks. But, on the upper end, only one player received a Top 15 grade (allegedly): Tua Tagovailoa, even injured.

“I’m really pleased and happy with all the players who decided to play in the game,” Saban said at the team hotel. “And I told the players, I said, ‘Look, if you’re a top-15 pick in the draft, aight, it’s a lot of money. I can understand why you wouldn’t want to play in the bowl game. But if you’re not, it’s an opportunity for you to showcase your talents in terms of being able to move up in the draft.’

“And I said, ‘We only have one guy that has that high of a grade, and he’s not going to play in the game because he’s injured. And that injury may affect his grade, unfortunately, for him right now, aight. So, everybody here on our team has an opportunity to showcase their talents. Is that the memory that you’re satisfied with for people to evaluate who you are and what kind of player you are and what they might want to invest in your future?’

But, is that really the case? Jedrick Wills’ tape has been wowing people, and this is a thin class along the line, especially at tackle. Jerry Jeudy is the most versatile, polished receiver in this class. Even though it’s a deep year for wideouts, he’d be a lock for a Top 5-10 selection. Maybe there’s some sandbagging here, but I don’t see how those two aren’t Top 15 selections.

We’ll know pretty soon either way who’s staying and going. Alex Leatherwood and Landon Dickerson are almost certainly returning. Xavier McKinney and Devonta Smith may or may not make the leap. In the case of both players, that may be more a function of a deep class at their respective positions.

The Bobby Bowden Award went to our own No. 13 yesterday. That one is somewhat of a no-brainer. It honors the best player, who excels as a role model, and who loves Jesus the most. And, our Polynesian Tebow certainly fits the bill on all those counts. He’s a class act on and off the field.

Congrats, Tua.

Alabama football’s junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was named the winner of the 2019 Bobby Bowden Award on Monday.

The Bobby Bowden award recognizes the Division I player who epitomizes a student-athlete from a faith perspective. He must conduct himself as an exemplary model in the classroom, on the field, on the campus and in the community. The award is named after former Florida State University head football coach Bobby Bowden.

We leave you with this delightful bit of schadenfreude at the expense of perennial fraud Oklahoma. Glad to see SEC Shorts getting in on some of the sweet, sweet Big 12 hate we’ve been propagating for years on this here #site.

Have a safe, great New Year’s eve. Enjoy the football today! We’ve got your thread and your picks here.