‘Crootin’ never stops around these parts. Just 11 days after NSD19, ‘Bama has locked down a commitment at a high-need area for NSD20. Hailing from DUVALLLL, Jahquez Robinson is listed as just a three-star prospect by the recruiting wires. But coaches see something Rivals et al do not: He is a fast-rising prospect to watch, and already has 25 offers, including from Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Texas, OU, and nearly every ACC team. Robinson is 174 — so, he’ll fill out when he gets on campus — but he’s got the size and length on the outside — coming in at a prototypical 6 1 1⁄2”.
On the subject of ‘crooting, Rivals has released their Top 10 for 2020:
Get to memorizing some new names early!
After Jayson Jones (4* DE) said that he didn’t have “feel that same mojo” with ‘Bama’s new coaching staff, he took another unofficial trip to Tuscaloosa this week for Junior Day, and it seems rapport is being established with the new staff, especially ace recruiter Karl Scott:
Jones, a 6-foot-6 1/2, 340-pound 4-star prospect from Calera, said the Junior Day event was “more chill” than his past trips the Capstone.
“I got to know (defensive line coach) Brian Baker a little bit more and I’m getting to learn more about Karl Scott, the defensive backs coach,” Jones said. “It’s just going to take time, that’s all.”
The Athletic has begun their NFL Draft position rankings, and in a thin linebacker class, it’s easy to see why Mack Wilson went pro early despite being so unpolished. He’s very much a work in progress, yet still projected to be the second or third ‘backer off the board. The bottom line in their draft prospectus is what I think most ‘Bama fans would say: Wilson is reckless and prone to mental errors, but does he ever have the physical tools that give you so much hope. The word, I believe, is called “potential.”
Summary: A one-year starter at Alabama, Wilson took over as the full-time Mike linebacker in Nick Saban’s 3-4 scheme as a junior and produced mixed results. He was pegged early on as the next first-round linebacker in the Alabama pipeline, but his development appeared stagnant throughout the 2018 season, not taking the expected steps in his growth as a player. Wilson is a good-sized athlete with the fluid movements, field range and ball awareness to make plays against the pass and the run. However, he needs to become more refined to be a reliable playmaker, projecting similar to an inconsistent version of Colts’ linebacker Darius Leonard. Overall, Wilson’s wild play, undisciplined approach and lack of anticipation are holding him back, but he is an impressive size/speed/strength athlete with the versatile skill set to develop into a true three-down NFL player. (Ed. Note: emphasis in original)
Lookie, lookie. After a torrid start to the season, and then absolutely blasting No. 9 Arizona, Alabama Softball is rising fast in the rankings. This is the best the team has looked in three seasons. As usual, the brutal SEC slate will tell the tale of the season, but Murph may have something cooking in 2019:
Alabama now up to 6th in the country after two weeks, the second highest SEC team. https://t.co/5xYLtQIHem— Ñic Gulas (@Nic_Gulas) February 19, 2019
Jerry Jeudy: He won the Biletnikoff Award as the best receiver in college football, and was named a consensus All-American. He’ll draw more attention this season, but with Alabama’s other quality receivers there’s only so much defenses can do without compromising themselves somewhere else. His 1,315 yards were the second most in Alabama history for a single season, and his19.3 yards per catch is a Crimson Tide single-season record (minimum 50 catches). His 16 career touchdown receptions tied Ozzie Newsome (1974-77) for fifth all-time.
A lot of former ‘Bama standouts and present pro performers are entering the NFL free agency market this year: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, C.J. Mosely, Kareem Jackson, and Mark Ingram are just some of the names on the list. However, one player may earn the dread franchise tag and be underpaid for a season relative to his talent: Three-time pro-bowler and 2016 All-Pro Landon Collins. From the Athletic’s paywall:
10. Landon Collins (25), SS, Giants – It’s possible that the Giants use the franchise tag and don’t let Collins hit the market. But if that doesn’t happen, scheme fit will be critical for interested teams. Collins can be a talented playmaker if paired with a defensive coordinator who knows how to maximize his strengths. For teams that want interchangeable safeties or are looking for someone to play the deep middle, Collins won’t be an option. But he’s skilled at diagnosing run plays, can be disruptive near the line of scrimmage and is effective as a blitzer. Collins was great in 2016 but hasn’t had the same impact since. He finished 2018 on injured reserve after suffering a shoulder injury.
Finally, CBS has two excellent pieces today.
The first is Tom Fornelli on how Justin Fields and Tate Martell’s transfers will possibly affect the entire system. Coaches are already growing deeply uncomfortable with the rush to free agency.
Odds are a compromise will come from all of this. I envision the NCAA adopting a format in which all players are allowed a freebie. In other words, every scholarship athlete will be allowed one transfer while eligible without having to sit out a season. Should they decide to transfer again -- no matter the reason -- they’ll be forced to sit out a season. Like the current rules, this would not include graduate transfers, who will continue to transfer without sitting out even if they transferred before.
The second is from Dennis Dodd on the growing obsolescence of the kickoff. College retains them for now, but it’s easy to envision a near-future where they are no longer a facet of the game.
But eight years into the rule-changing procedure to limit kickoffs, we do know the impact they have on players are at historical lows.
For the first time since the NCAA began tracking such numbers, less than half of all kickoffs -- only 42 percent -- were returned last season.
For at least the fifth straight year, touchbacks are up. The 2018 total of 4,273 was up almost 28 percent since 2013.
The total number of kickoffs returned for touchdowns is down almost half from 72 in 2012 to 38 in 2018.
Kickoff return yards are down 42.2 percent since 2011. That was the last season before the kickoff was moved from the 30 to the 35-yard line.
We’ll be back later today with ‘Bama Basketball Breakdown vs. Vanderbilt. That’s...uhhh...the definition of a must-win. If you’re feeling a bit unbuckled these days, you’re not alone. But, six games decide the Tide’s post-season fate and how hot Coach Johnson’s seat may be in 2020. We gotta’ have this one.