With Duke’s football team on an upswing—they’ve made a bowl six of the last seven years and won the last three bowl games they’ve appeared in—they’re playing in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic at the end of August. The Blue Devils will be taking on the perennial powerhouse Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes Benz Stadium and, as you’d expect for an opening weekend football game in the heart of college football country, prices are on the higher side. With a $402 average resale price, it’s the second most expensive of all the kick-off games.
For once, it seems Alabama’s strength of schedule luck has turned the opposite way. For years now it’s seemed that every power team the Tide has opened their seasons with are in the process of falling out of high level status. This time, though, it looks like Duke is at a better point in their football program than traditional expectations. They’ll be breaking in a new QB, sure, but they were in and out of the top 25 last year... which is a whole lot better than the last time Alabama played the Blue Devils.
Alabama — pass rusher: The Crimson Tide lost 25.5 sacks from last year’s team when Isaiah Buggs, Quinnen Williams and Christian Miller left for the NFL. There are plenty of candidates for the job this year, including senior Raekwon Davis and Anfernee Jennings, juniors Terrell Lewis and LaBryan Ray and sophomore Eyabi Anoma. However, all come with question marks and/or consistency issues. Lewis in particular is a physical phenom, but has played in a total of four games the last two years due to injury.
Over the last two years, Alabama’s edge rushers have been plagued with injuries and the Tide has turned to playing true freshmen (only for them to get injured as well), walk-ons, and just blitzing safeties instead. Anfernee Jennings returns for his 12th season as a starter, and is still looking to gain back the speed he lost from his injuries in the 2017 season.
Past that, there’s a slew of talented, if unproven options. But, there are options. And after the last two seasons, that sounds pretty nice. Terrell Lewis might finally be able to get his joints to support that kind of monstrous athleticism. Chris Allen returns after his ACL injury. Eyabi Anoma brings explosive potential, coupled with a full season of college training. And then there are a slew of freshmen and second year players (all with high recruiting rankings) to round out the depth.
“First off I would like to thank Coach Nick Saban and the rest of his staff for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to play the sport I love at the next level,” Worsham tweeted. “I’ve thought about this for a while and it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but with God, my family and friends, I would like to announce that I have de-committed from The University of Alabama.”
The news comes following a weekend trip Miami, Worsham’s first official visit.
The Tide is left with three wideouts in its class, all of which are rated four-star prospects -- Traeshon Holden, Javon Baker, and Thaiu Jones-Bell.
At 6-foot, 185 pounds, Worsham is rated the No. 48 receiver and the No. 257 overall player in the country, per the industry-generated 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Worhsam was already ranked lower than the other three 4-star commits at receiver for the Tide, so there’s a good chance he was looking at a gray shirt as Alabama pursued more highly rated options. With the three rising juniors at receiver all having a chance to go pro after the 2019 season, Alabama is still likely going to be looking for one other receiver in the upcoming recruiting class.
Rookie offensive tackle Jonah Williams missed the final week of the Cincinnati Bengals’ offseason program, sitting out the June 11-13 minicamp with an undisclosed injury.
The injury became apparent on Tuesday afternoon, when the Bengals announced the first-round draft choice from Alabama had undergone surgery to repair a torn labrum and likely would miss the entire 2019 NFL season.
Man, you really have to hate this for both Jonah and the Bengals. Losing your first round draft pick for 25% of his rookie contract is tough on any team, as they would have been building roster plans around him. But for Jonah, it’s even worse. Preseason injuries to rookies derail careers more often than any other factor. He’s a first round pick, so he’ll be afforded some extra luxury, but he’ll be a year rusty next season and will have a long way to go to stay relevant in a cut-throat league.
Oh, by the way, this guy played defensive back and receiver in high school. Christian Harris is going to be an athletic freak of a linebacker once he learns the position.