With our very own Erik Evans stationed in Birmingham and updating us with stupendous SEC Media Days recaps, I’ll do my best to drag out some links from around the interwebs that are not necessarily about the repetitive interviews each day.
Why he makes the list: Considering Alabama’s expansive depth at wideout, Henry Ruggs, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle would’ve fit this bill behind Biletnikoff winner Jerry Jeudy, but it’s unfair to feature one of those guys as underrated when each is deserving. This is how Jennings fits in. Oft-mentioned Dylan Moses and Mack Wilson were the linebackers everyone talked about last fall, but Jennings was equally productive. Entering his fifth and final season in Tuscaloosa, Ala., he will be the most-experienced player along Alabama’s defensive front this fall after totaling 51 tackles — including 14 tackles for loss — and 6.5 sacks from his outside position a year ago. He’s a grizzled vet and outspoken leader on the Crimson Tide defense who doesn’t get enough credit for his importance.
247 is giving Anfernee Jennings some love. It feels like he’s been a starter for about 5 years, huh? Jennings has had some individual games where he really turned on the motor and was a disruptive presence on the edge all game. And he’s also been mostly invisible for just as many games. Early in 2018 he still looked slowed by his injuries the year before, but gained speed as the season went on.
Hopefully, another full offseason will give him the chance to get back to top speed and finally put it all together to become household name at pass rusher.
First things first, with the task of naming the starting quarterback at the biggest football program in America, Enos handled the situation well with Tua and Hurts. There was never drama or inconsistency, Dan had picked Tagovailoa and that was that. Miami was the complete opposite last season when handling the starter at QB, with Perry and Rosier switching off throughout games.
With Perry, Martell and Williams, Enos has three players who are talented and would make fine quarterbacks for Miami, and with Dan deciding who’s going to start, I’d expect a much smoother process in 2019 with the Canes.
I mean, I honestly don’t really care about Dan Enos’s career after he left Alabama, nor do I really care about Miami’s QB situation. But hey, offseason #content, right?
That said, it is a neat piece from State of The U about the job that Enos did with Tua and Jalen last year at Alabama, and how they think he may be able to somewhat replicate that with the Hurricanes.
Mostly, I just wanted to use it as an excuse to talk about a point that hit me earlier today. This has been the most boring offseason for the Tide in a long time. That’s because, for the first time since the summer before the 2013 season, Alabama has no QB controversy.
After A.J. McCarron left, the big battle was Blake Sims vs Jake Coker. Then it was Jake Coker vs Cooper Bateman (with Alec Morris thrown in). Then there was the crazy offseason with Blake Barnett vs Alec Morris, only for Jalen Hurts to be the starter come season opener.
Then, when it finally looked like we might have stability, Hurts faltered in the final game of the year and Alabama signed a 5-star freshman in Tua Tagovailoa that showed out during the ensuing spring game. The controversy rumbled along until Tua took over the national championship and won it, leading up to the most vicious offseason QB controversies yet.
Finally, though, 6 years later, we finally have a stable QB situation with a clear starter.
It’s actually kinda boring.
Everyone from Oklahoma fans to national college football analysts left spring practice with no doubt former Alabama starter Jalen Hurts had won the Oklahoma quarterback job.
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley indicated Monday at Big 12 Media Days that he’s not ready to anoint anyone as the Sooners’ starter.
“I don’t care if Joe Namath himself walks into our room right now, he’s got to win the job,” Riley said. “It’s not about what the outside world thinks.”
Speaking of Jalen Hurts, he may be on all the award watch lists, but he hasn’t won the starting job in Norman just yet. Regardless of who is the Oklahoma QB come fall, they’ll put up some gaudy numbers next season as they torch Big 12 defenses with Okie’s array of wide receivers.
“I don’t think I had any anxiety about it,” Wallace told KOLD-TV in Tucson, Arizona, about his first NFL training camp. “I didn’t think I was going to get cut, honestly. I thought I was good enough.
”But they made the final decisions, and then they decided to bring me back on the practice squad, told me the steps I needed to take to be able to move up -- do some things off the field and on the field. Eventually, I got there.”
Wallace spent the first 10 weeks of his rookie season on Buffalo’s practice squad. But after the Bills called him up, Wallace started the remaining games and played 415 of Buffalo’s 428 defensive snaps in those seven contests.
“I was just working while I was waiting,” Wallace said of his time on the practice squad. “Let me just focus on me because it’s so easy to drown yourself in that and have pity on yourself and ‘Why not me?’ and this and that.
”I think everything happens for a reason. I think Alabama taught me those lessons with walking on there and having to wait my turn -- but knowing that whenever I got that shot, I was going to make the most of it.”
This is an awesome interview from Levi Wallace. He’s just one of those guys you can’t help but cheering for, and there’s few people you’d rather have representing your university. There are few better examples of perseverance paying off in football than Levi’s story.