Happy Gump Day, guys. I'm bringing this JP to you 100% from my phone, so forgive any formatting oddities and just appreciate my dedication to the cause.
EXPECTATIONS FOR ALABAMA BASKETBALL
Cecil Hurt, of The Tuscaloosa News, joined Host of “Southern Fried Sports” Travis Reier Tuesday morning to talk about Trendon Watford’s signing date announcement, and discuss realistic expectations for the Alabama men’s basketball program. “Walking down the hypothetical trail here,” Hurt told Reier. “If he (Watford) were to sign somewhere where things just blew up after he signed those papers, probably less complicated to get out of that.”
Here's a nice video with Cecil on some of his thoughts about Trendon Watford's recruitment. Personally, I don't think Coach Oates will continue to recruit him for much longer. These kinds of recruiting games can only last so long.
CAPSTONE REPORT WITH DC: NATE OATS, NICK SABAN AND THE TRANSFER CULTURE
“I think he’s trying to do something here that is going to help the player at the next level, and I think the whole idea at Alabama is you’re developing a player that can get all he can get out of it in college, get him a degree or get him an education so he can be further in life afterwards, winning some championships while he’s here, have a great opportunity to win championships and enjoy his whole college career. But, those that are elite enough to play at the next level, you’re developing them into players to be at the next level at the NFL, and Alabama has done a great job of that so ‘The Process’ is working in that.” DC said.
To continue on the subject of Coach Oates -- it sure is good the Michigan coaching search happened after he got entrenched in the job at Alabama. We talked about this yesterday, so I'm instead highlighting some quotes to get you guys excited about him. It is Gump Day, after all. And our bouncy hoops program seems to be in good hands.
Alabama's 2019 opponents at a glance: Mississippi State Bulldogs
Here's a good preview of the Bulldogs for 2019. Personally, I tend to think Mississippi State isn't going to be much of a problem in 2019. With Nick Fitzgerald leaving the QB room and Brian Baker no longer the DL coach, they won't be quite the danger the have been the last few years.
But hey, I'm a biased Alabama blogger, so give this piece a read for more Bulldog-pro info.
The 5 greatest Alabama Crimson Tide players of all-time
Henry’s 2,219 yards was the fifth-best rushing total by a running back in the history of the FBS and a single-season SEC record. The 2015 Heisman Trophy winner also set school records for rushing touchdowns (28), rushing yards per game (147.9), all-purpose yards (2,310), carries (395) and points scored (168).
Here's some more Gump Day material for you. This piece also has blurbs on Biscuit, Don Hutson, Derrick Thomas, and John Hannah. If you like Crimson Tide lore, this is the place for you.
SEC players who must step up in 2019
A mentor to younger teammates, Davis now becomes the most important player up front for Alabama in his final season following the departures of Quinnen Williams and Isaiah Buggs at the line of scrimmage. He’s a coach on the field, according to Crimson Tide defensive line assistant Brian Baker, which made his job much easier during the spring. The individual numbers dipped as a junior for the 6-foot-7, 309-pound end, but his drop-off in production was overshadowed by Williams’ dominance. Now, Davis is the player Alabama is leaning on to be one of its most disruptive pass rushers and help mold the talent around him.
With Quinnen Willaims and Isaiah Buggs both moving on to the pros, only Raekwon Davis remains to bring any sort of experience to the Alabama's 2019 defensive line. LaBryan Ray, DJ Dale, Phidarian Mathis, and Antonio Alfano all look promising, but Davis is the only proven guy. And it's up to him to resume the dominance he showed during his sophomore campaign.
Mack Wilson aims to bring ‘winning attitude’ to Browns, ‘pain’ to rest of NFL
“The one thing about the National Football League is it has a tendency to level the playing field with a bunch of guys,” Kitchens said. “It doesn’t matter how you got here. You’re going to have some guys from Alabama, Ohio State or wherever, and you’re going to have some guys from Presbyterian College. The playing field is still 100 yards long and 53-and-one-third yards wide. The field is the same.”The NFL has a knack of leveling that playing field, so Mack is just like the guy from Presbyterian College. He’s working every day to get better. It’s not the same as Alabama. It’s not the same defense, terminology and all of those things. This game is more for mental gymnastics than anything else.”
Mack Wilson had a long was to go to really get read for being a true contributor for the NFL. The Browns are a good place to start, considering their potential and lack of depth, but he's not just going to walk in and be the top dog in the room.
In any case, Mack has the talent to be at the top the legue, especially with his ability in pass coverage. He'll have some work to do to get to the top of the depth chart, but he'll get there sooner or later.
10 bold predictions for college football season
The last time one team has placed two players in the final five in Heisman voting came in 2008 when Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell and wideout Michael Crabtree were voted fourth and fifth, respectively. It has only happened four times since the turn of the century, but there’s a good chance it comes back around this season with Tua Tagovailoa and Jerry Jeudy. These two have a chance to be the nation’s top quarterback-wideout tandem in terms of production and that comes in spite of Alabama’s talent-wealth at the receiver position. Jeudy won the Biletnikoff award last season and could add more hardware to his trophy case as a junior. Both of these talented players will be first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft should they choose to come out.
I've said it many times before around here, but I think that Jerry Jeudy might be the most underrated Belitnikoff winner ever. With all the hype around Tua Tagovailoa, Jeudy spent much of his time splitting stats with Henry Ruggs, Devonta Smith, and Irv Smith.
However, Jeudy made the most of his 2018 season by juking the souls out of pretty much every defender he went up against, and is on track to be the first receiver off the board in 2019. Between he and Tua, Alabama should make their mark in the top of the next NFL draft