Alabama Football: Some summer enrollees could vault up the depth chart
Much is expected of Byron Young to become an impact defensive lineman.
Ishmael Sopsher also carries high expectations if any body-reshaping is not required first.
Trey Sanders plays a position where a freshman has a little less to learn, but beating out Najee Harris or Brian Robinson is a tough task.
Jahleel Billingsley has a two-deep chance with Kedrick James out early from a suspension and a tight end roster that is not deep.
Demarcco Hellams comes in at safety where solid depth is needed quickly. If he picks up the defense well enough to not be a liability, he has a two-deep chance. It is a tough position to impact as a freshman, and his two-deep chances are far greater in the second half of the season.
Fitting the ‘unfair to count them out’ roles are Braylen Ingraham and Christian Harris. For any early two-deep shots, this pair will have to shine in fall scrimmages.
Summer enrollees will be joining the team soon, which means we can all sit around for a month and wait for the team to update the official roster with the new jersey numbers as the only piece of football news all summer (at least, we hope that’s the only news all summer).
Specifically, I think Jahleel Billingsley will be one to watch for. He’s a much more natural pass catcher than any other tight end currently on Alabama’s roster, and with Kedrick James suspended, he’ll have a real shot at getting to 3rd on the depth chart, if not 2nd.
Alabama Football: 2019 Crimson Tide Season Preview and Prediction
This might sound familiar: Alabama lost some key weapons at running back but will still boast one of the top backfields in the nation. With Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs gone to the NFL, it’s time for Najee Harris and Brian Robinson Jr. to take over. Harris was the third option off the bench last year and showed the speed and power that made him one of the nation’s top prospects two years ago. He led the team with 6.7 yards per rushing attempt (despite not having a run longer than 32 yards) and is poised for a big junior season. Robinson saw time late in blowout wins and was part of the kickoff return tandem with Jacobs. True freshman Trey Sanders, a five-star recruit, will be hard to keep off the field.
Athlon Sports has Alabama as the number 1 program next season... so much for giving Clemson all the rat poison. That said, this is a solid piece giving a quick blurb on each of the Tide’s position groups for 2019.
The running game is going to be interesting this year. Since Derrick Henry’s ridiculous 2015 season, Alabama has gone away from the one-lead-back/one-change-of-pace-back philosophy to a 3-way rotation. Will 2019 see the offense return to one clear-cut lead back? If so, will Brian Robinson or Trey Sanders be the primary backup? Or will the Tide stick to a committee?
Alabama and Georgia Are Destined to Be the SEC’s Next Defining Rivalry
Saban acknowledged Tuesday that the draw of the neutral-site opener has diminished as fans have demanded more good games at home. It’s understandable that Saban would have a sentimental attachment to those games. After all, it was a 2008 season-opening demolition of Clemson in Atlanta that announced to the college football world that Alabama would be a force to be reckoned with for the foreseeable future. It also probably isn’t lost on Saban that this particular win hastened the departure of Tommy Bowden at Clemson. That brought about the Dabo Swinney era, which produced the current best program in college football. And now Alabama and Georgia may be squaring off in the next few Decembers for the opportunity to take their shot at Swinney’s Tigers.
I think Sports Illustrated is getting a little ahead of themselves with the praise for Georgia and heralding them as Alabama’s next rival in this piece, but they do highlight an interesting comment from Saban about the neutral site season openers. It wasn’t long ago that these games were considered the pinnacle of college football, but as Alabama continued to dominate every one of them, the fans and media decided that they weren’t actually fair.
Also, I just really wanted to highlight someone else claiming that Clemson is the top of the world and peasants like Alabama and Georgia just want to have a shot at them. Let the hate course through you.
Nick Saban: ‘Tua’s got to challenge himself to get back’
“I think Tua’s got to challenge himself a little bit to get back,” Saban said Tuesday in Destin, Fla. “I think being hurt was an issue for him at the end of the season, and I think that he has to challenge himself to get back into great shape and overcome some of the things that happened toward the end of the year. And I think he should take the perception that he has a lot to prove relative to how we ended the season.
“I think our whole team fits into that category. The other quarterbacks are obviously guys that are developing and have done some good things and obviously have some things that they need to continue to work on. And hopefully, we’ll be able to get them some positive improvement over the summer and fall camp, and then we’ll have an opportunity to get them some kind of experience level early in the season that might benefit them if they need it down the road.”
Some comments from Saban about Tua. If you have social media, you probably saw this bit shared 20 times yesterday, so I won’t say too much about it. We all saw Tua’s confidence in both his arm and his ability to move in the pocket decline as the season wore on due to injuries (and also the LSU/Miss State defensive lines). Often time recovering from the fear of injury is much more difficult and lengthy than recovering from the injury itself, so Tua likely needed a good offseason reset to get back into things.
Tevin Mack expected to transfer from Alabama
Tevin Mack won’t be returning to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for another season.
After the Alabama wing withdrew his name from the 2019 NBA Draft on Monday, he is expected to enter the NCAA transfer portal by Wednesday, according to 247Sports director of basketball scouting Evan Daniels. Mack will be immediately eligible to play at his next collegiate destination, which will be his third in five years following stops at Alabama and Texas -- as a redshirt senior.
And on to some bouncy hoops news, it looks like Tevin Mack is moving on. The former transfer from Texas had some really nice moments as a three-point shooter, but disappeared for long stretches (whether by his own doing or his former coach’s was the subject of much discussion around here) throughout the season. It probably isn’t a huge loss for the Tide, and opens up one more scholarship spot for Nate Oates to fill on the team.