Happy Friday, everyone. This is an expectedly light news day but we have a few interesting links for you, starting with some smart freshmen:
A total of 79 University of Alabama student-athletes earned a place on the 2019 Southeastern Conference First-Year Academic Honor Roll, the conference office announced. Alabama was one of just five schools with more than 75 honorees.
The Crimson Tide led all SEC women’s basketball teams with six rookies earning a place on the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Rowing led all Alabama programs with 14, followed by football with 11, which ranked third among conference football squads.
Unlike Aunt Becky’s kid, looks like Alabama’s rowing team is actually qualified to go to college.
BamaOnline continued their “most important players” series, this time focusing on Najee Harris.
As the Tide’s top option at running back as the most experienced player at the position, Harris is sure to see his workload increase and, therefore, his statistics should, as well. If he can keep his yards per carry average close to 6.7 yards again this year, his importance will be enormous in an offense that already returns Tua Tagovailoa and his top four wide receivers from last year’s team.
The only reason Harris isn’t ranked a spot or two higher in this rankings is because of what UA has coming back in its passing game and the presence of Robinson and a potential third back like true freshman and former 5-star recruit Trey Sanders. But No. 8 gives Harris room to climb when we revisit the rankings after the season -- one where he is expected to have a breakout year.
No matter how it shakes out, the RB stable is full of studs.
In recruiting news, Malachi Moore is enjoying his time at The Opening.
“The competition has been excellent. I haven’t ever seen anything like it before,” said Moore, from Hewitt-Trussville in suburban Birmingham and one of 20 Alabama commitments in the Class of 2020. “The receivers, there’s no weak receivers here, if you ask me.”
What was the biggest thing he learned? “You can’t bully everybody. You’ve got to play with your feet,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing.”
It’s always an adjustment when these blue chippers get to big time college ball and for the first time in their lives play against guys on a regular basis who are as good as they are.
Oh, this again...
“Bama is one of the schools that’s got the best competition,” he said. “You go against the best guys that go in the first or second round. They’re producing great wide receivers.”
Alabama has produced several receivers picked in the first round during the Nick Saban Era – Calvin Ridley in 2018, Amari Cooper in 2015, and Julio Jones in 2011, as well as tight end O.J. Howard in 2017.
Crimson Tide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and Devonta Smith, all juniors, could leave for the NFL after this season, which might give Williams a shot at immediate playing time.
Crystal balls all favor Clemson at this time even though Williams says that Alabama is his leader. Receiver is a priority in this class, but the Tide have already assembled a very good crop of three similarly rated pass catchers whether Williams joins or not, and thus far the Tigers have not taken any WR commitments. Both schools are also in the mix for several more blue chips at the position.
Last, as you probably know, the United States made the women’s World Cup final, which will be played on Sunday against The Netherlands. Alabama fans have one Dutch rooting interest, though.
“I was 19 when I left the Netherlands,” she said in a story by ESPN. “I was working 7 hours a day in a lunch restaurant and training 2 hours a day, being exhausted at the end. Then I went to Alabama, where they had a budget for women’s football that was insane. The only thing I had to do was train and play and they did everything for me — OK, I had to make good grades in school. But it was so professional. … I thought I knew what training hard was until I left for Alabama. … I’m so thankful for them. One of the reasons I’m here is what I learned in the United States.”
Hopefully Merel has a fantastic game in a hard fought loss.
That’s about it for today. Have a great holiday weekend.