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Jumbo Package: South Florida 4-star WR commits for 2020

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Any comparison to Christian Kirk is a good start.

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Thaiu Jones-Bell

Yesterday, Alabama picked up one of its coveted targets for 2020 with the addition of four-star WR Thaiu Jones-Bell. Bell had offers from all over the country, but the particularly serious other suitors were FSU, Miami, Penn State, and Tennessee. His is an especially welcome pick-up for two reasons. 1. The Tide’s outstanding WR class will be a bit thinner eight months from now when at least two, and perhaps three wideouts turn pro, and 2. Jones-Bell was recruited by a tandem of new coaches, RBC Charles Huff and WRC Holman Wiggins.

TJB is one of those Jaylen Waddle explosive makers that has the potential to make an instant impact on the roster:

When it comes to Jones-Bell as a prospect, The Tide are getting a hyper-explosive wideout in the mold of former Texas A&M wideout Christian Kirk. Like Kirk, Jones-Bell leaves the line of scrimmage as though he’s been fired from a cannon and gets up to speed in a hurry. What he lacks in length is made up for in hands and acceleration. The similarities between the two players are striking. Should Bell, who is a slighter than Kirk was at this stage, retain his explosiveness as he adds size, he could be in line for a move up the rankings.

Check out his highlights below. His route-running needs some polish, but he has speed to burn and plenty of open-field juice.

Athlon’s preseason magazine drops next week, and they’re previewing their Top 25. Athlon chose the Tide to top its poll:

Athlon is providing a sneak preview, including its top 25, and it projects Alabama as Southeastern Conference and national champion.

Expect most publications and other predictions and polls to have either Bama or Clemson (last year’s national champion) to be first, the other second, and that’s the case with Athlon, which has Clemson as ACC champion and No. 2 in its top 25.

The marriage between Amari Cooper and the Dallas Cowboys has gone about as well as either side could possibly want. Now entering his final season with the ‘Boys, Cooper is angling for a long-term deal. Getting to yes may prove to be difficult though:

Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper is heading into the final year of his current contract, but getting a new deal with his team could be difficult.

According to Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, talks between the two sides “remain at a stalemate, stuck in neutral and going nowhere.”Cooper will make $13.9 million in 2019—the fifth year of his rookie deal, per Spotrac.

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However, Hill previously reported the receiver’s demands are “shockingly high.”

I’d be curious as to what is “shockingly high” for a three-time Pro-Bowler working on a rookie deal that was his team’s leading receiver three times — despite playing with guys like Michael Crabtree, Jordy Nelson, and Jared Cook — and he eclipsed 1000 yards in three of his four completed seasons. He’ll want WR1 money. He’s earned it. And, he’s arguably already making it (his $13.9m/per is just $500,000 outside the Top 10). But how much higher is Dallas willing to go?

Careful what you tweet, y’all. The DMCR copyright goons are out in full force. They’ve gone after the Dubs, the Rockets, Iowa and Iowa State football. And they pinched Auburn football with a takedown notice yesterday too.

RIP, dank memes.

Move on to Mr. Rojas, folks. Just in time for NSD, LSU mysteriously reinstated Will Wade despite there being no material change in circumstance, fired the AD who suspended him...and then Trendon Watford committed to the Tigers just three weeks later. Completely coincidental, I’m sure. Nothing sketchy going on at all.

Can we talk about what massive balls it takes to pull this kind of stunt in the middle of pending FBI and NCAA investigations? Wade may lack many things — class, decency, deodorant — but aplomb is not one of them.

Speaking of the Tigers, BOL is previewing ‘19 opponents and they’re right in thinking the Red Stick Tigers aren’t getting enough attention. Attrition — both among players and coaches — is at a decade-low.

LSU actually returns players

LSU saw three players drafted last month, which was the lowest total for the Tigers since 2005. Usually, LSU is one of the teams hit the hardest by players leaving early for the NFL draft, but outside of linebacker Devin White and cornerback Greedy Williams, the Tigers only saw seniors leave the program. In total, 16 starters are returning for the 2019 season -- eight apiece on both sides of the ball -- and freshmen like cornerback Derek Stingley and running back John Emery could prove to be immediate contributors. Now, LSU has seen nine players enter the NCAA’s transfer portal with only one removing his name, so depth is always a concern. But compared to most years, LSU has quite a bit of talent returning, including Grant Delpit, Rashard Lawrence and Joe Burrow.

The biggest issue, as always, is quarterbacking/the offense. But, if you look at the spring game tape, LSU has added a hyper-short passing game to minimize Burrow’s decision-making and get the ball on the outside in a hurry. It has the potential to stress defenses in a way we’ve not seen from the Tigers in a long, long time.

Have a good day, folks. We’ll be back later with some 2020 Draft profiles on defense and another countdown. RTR