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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Basketball takes home some awards as spring football speculations continues to heat up

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll start off with a little news from the basketball squad:

2019 SEC Men’s Basketball Awards announced

All-Freshman Team

Kira Lewis Jr., Alabama

Isaiah Joe, Arkansas

Andrew Nembhard, Florida

Tyler Herro, Kentucky

Keldon Johnson, Kentucky

Naz Reid, LSU

Reggie Perry, Mississippi State

A.J. Lawson, South Carolina

All-Defensive Team

Donta Hall, Alabama

Daniel Gafford, Arkansas

Ashton Hagans, Kentucky

Tremont Waters, LSU

Chris Silva, South Carolina

Kira Lewis Jr. made the SEC All-Freshman team, and Donta Hall made the All-Defensive team. Though it’s been a rather disappointing month for us fans of the Alabama basketball squad, there was still some nice moments. Kira’s breakout as a true freshman (by the way, have you heard that he’s the second youngest player in college ball??) and Donta coming back for his senior season (and draining a three-pointer) were both program highlights.

Alabama Football: With Kaho return, danger still looms for the Tide at ILB

If Kaho cannot earn a starting role in spring and fall camps, the most logical starter would be Josh McMillon. The redshirt senior can be an effective run stopper and has enough speed to go from side to side. He should understand the reads and coverages better than any of the other roster choices. The question is how well he can cover.

Younger, less experienced options are sophomore Jaylen Moody and redshirt sophomore Markail Benton. True freshman Shane Lee should not be counted out or counted on until he absorbs the defense.

Defensive coordinator, Phil Golding, who also coaches the inside linebackers, has some other wrinkles he could use. If he thinks guys like Jared Mayden, Xavier McKinney and Shyheim Carter can be physical enough against the run, he could play more dime than nickel. Golding could also add one of the outside linebackers to a role in the nickel, thereby playing the nickel, like the dime, with only one true, inside linebacker.

None of those possible adjustments solve the “what to do” dilemma if Dylan Moses goes down. So who will start games next to Moses? It may change as the season progresses but it will be the guy best able to step into Dylan’s role if the need arises. That guy will need as much game experience as possible, including subbing for Dylan when early games are firmly in hand.

The inside linebacker spot is one of the biggest unknowns and position battles for the 2019 season. But, since it’s offseason, I’m going to stir the pot a little bit further here. I don’t think Dylan Moses played with enough consistency last season to truly be a surefire leader and full-time starter at linebacker. Though he has the most starting experience of the group, I wouldn’t call his job safe just yet. Kaho and Moody should both push for time as they excelled on special teams while learning the defense in year one. McMillan brings a veteran presence, and Benton brings explosive talent. Then throw in the muscular Shane Lee and speedy Christian Harris, and you’ve got a nice 6-man battle for two spots.

Alabama Football: 5 position battles to watch this spring

Rising redshirt sophomore Mac Jones enters spring as the presumed No. 2 on the depth chart. Jones threw 13 passes last season in mop-up duty, but hasn’t had to take a meaningful snap in his career, outside of the one snap against LSU when Tua exited for a play with an injury and Hurts unavailable due to an injury of his own.

Jones has flashed some potential, but he’s far from the caliber of Hurts. He might one day be a viable option for the Crimson Tide at quarterback, but he’ll need to progress a lot this spring for Alabama to feel comfortable with him taking big snaps next season.

Behind him are a pair of talented freshmen, Taulia Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson, both of whom enrolled early and will participate throughout the spring. Saban will hope that one, or both, players progress enough to push Jones for the backup role. It’s likely that both will see a redshirt season, though, barring something catastrophic, with the Tide having the ability to play them in up to four games while maintaining that redshirt season.

Another fun one to watch will be the backup QB race. Mac Jones may have the seniority, but Lia Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson are both exceptionally talented players that enrolled early and will have a full offseason with the team.

Who do you think winds up the #2 QB in 2019? My money is on Tyson.

Alabama commits’ stats from last season

RB Roydell Williams

291 carries, 2,757 yards and 32 touchdowns; 21 catches, 216 yards and three touchdowns

Height/Weight: 5-foot-10, 202 pounds

High school: Hueytown (Ala.)

Rating: No. 15 running back, No. 172 overall player

I’m still working through my study of the incoming recruiting class, but it’s never too early to look into the 2020 class coming up next year. Here, 247 lists out some stats of all of the Tide’s current commits from their junior seasons. Of all of them, RB Roydell Williams’s stat line really jumped out to me. Over 3000 yards from scrimmage and nearly 10 yards per carry in a single season.... which is actually better than Derrick Henry’s junior season in high school (though Henry posted those kinds of numbers as a freshman and sophomore as well while then turning around and nearly doubling it for his senior season).

That kind of production is just hard to ignore. Here’s to hoping he sticks with his commitment over the next year.

Guard James Carpenter plans to sign with Atlanta Falcons

James Carpenter’s third NFL contract will bring him closer to home. The former Alabama standout and native of Augusta, Georgia, has agreed to a four-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons, ESPN and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Tuesday afternoon.

Carpenter will become an unrestricted free agent at 3 p.m. CDT Wednesday, when his current four-year, $19.1 million contract with the New York Jets expires. No monetary details of Carpenter’s new deal with the Falcons has been reported.

The Tide alumni continue to rack in the dough. After massive 2nd deals for Landon Collins and CJ Mosley, guys like Kareem Jackson, Mark Ingram, and James Carpenter are on their 3rd and 4th contracts, showing a longevity not seen in most NFL players.

That’s it for today. Roll Tide!