Alabama had two big four-star pickups the past 24 hours.
“Everybody was excited,” Smith said. “You know Saban is a man of few words. He keeps it straight to the point. Coach Sal, he called my mom excited and everything. I haven’t gotten a chance to speak with Coach Baker yet, but I’m pretty sure he’s pumped up as well.”
“I’ve heard people always say DaRon Payne sat in (Saban’s) office at the age of 15 and was offered, and last year was the same exact thing for me as a sophomore,” Smith said. “I’m just excited to see the outcome, what’s going to come out of this at the end. That’s really just it.”
Smith is rated the No. 13 defensive tackle and the No. 156 overall player in the country, per the industry-generated 247Sports Composite Rankings.
His athleticism is surprising for such a big fella’ too:
The second big commitment of yesterday was four-star QB Drake Maye, an NSD21 player:
Locking down Drake Maye as its quarterback for the 2021 class is a strong move by Alabama. There’s a ton to like about Maye, who ranks in the top 100 of the Top247. For starters, he has a strong athletic pedigree and profile. His father was a quarterback at North Carolina and his brother Luke Maye was an All-ACC basketball player for the Tar Heels. Another brother is a pitcher at Florida. Drake is the smallest of those three, but has ideal size for quarterback at 6-foot-4, 203 pounds. He should play over 220 in college.
Maye’s on-field production as a passer is already on the high end for the 2021 cycle. He had a stellar sophomore season, with 36 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. He’s a pure pocket passer at this stage and has an advanced feel. Maye is naturally accurate and plays with advanced timing and pocket feel. He’s able to deliver the ball to multiple levels with zip, location and touch when needed. The sentiment around Charlotte is he’s probably the best quarterback prospect from the city and state since Chris Leak in the early 2000’s.
Last year down the stretch, as the Tide faced increasingly difficult competition, it had what could best be described as a leadership vacuum — everything was coming too easy; winning was a given.
Until it wasn’t.
Tua further elaborated on how the loss has refocused the team on winning games.
”It’s something that you don’t take for granted now. Winning isn’t something that you should take for granted and how we go on about doing things now and where we are going with this is how we take ownership over our team as far as the leaders on the team.” Tagovailoa said.
Throughout the spring, developing leadership has been of high importance to the team. the juior quarterback addressed how it was Saban that addressed the issues concerning leadership and not the players.
Barrett Sallee has some quick-hitters from SEC Media Days, if you’re into a TL; DR version.
Motivation in Tuscaloosa: Saban always comes to Hoover with mantra, platform or challenge. This year, it was all about putting the 44-16 loss to Clemson in the national title game last season behind him. Two years ago, he used the famous phrase, “don’t waste the failure.” Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy told us in the CBS Sports HQ room that this year’s version is “so what, now what?” It worked two years ago when the Crimson Tide responded with a title. We’ll see what happens this year.
Tua and Jerry weren’t the only ‘Bama players to have something to say. Clemson and Alabama engaged in a bit of a sniping war yesterday at their various media days. One knucklehead at Ostarine U said that Notre Dame was a better team.
This was after Dylan Moses fired the first shot, saying that Georgia was the toughest team that Alabama played. And, he might be right — since Alabama actually showed up to play the Georgia game.
We don’t know how the Clemson game would have turned out in a neutral universe, one where the team had actually mentally prepared and the coaching staff not been working on their own CVs.
On Finebaum yesterday, Nick Saban candidly addressed another issue with the team’s stretch run performance: After the LSU game, too many coaches were focusing on themselves and didn’t do their jobs.
“Coaching,” he said. “We had a lot of guys who wanted to be head coaches at different places. It takes a special person to say focused on what they have to do now when they have job somewhere else that’s awaiting them and they have a responsibility on staffs.”
Okay, that’s all for the JP this morning. We’ll have more SEC Media Days coverage for you later, as the unofficial end to the offseason winds down.