Happy Friday, everyone. The Gym Tide will compete in the Metroplex Challenge this weekend alongside Georgia, Oklahoma, and Denver. This is the first time I have heard of a college sports program known as “Denver.”
In football news, Rivals has released their final rankings for the 2020 class, and that caused some movement in the 247 composite as well. A couple of highly regarded Alabama commits made a move, including the biggest name.
Alabama five-star QB Bryce Young is now ranked as the second-best overall player in the 2020 recruiting class within the 247 Composite rankings.— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) January 23, 2020
Only player ranked ahead of him is Clemson defensive tackle signee Bryan Bresee.
The final rankings for the Top247 will come out next week, and at that time the composite will be final as well. Young is being strongly considered for the #1 overall prospect spot. OLB Will Anderson added a fifth star, giving the Tide four of the top 32 players in the country, six of the top 50, eight of the top 75, and ten of the top 100. ILB Demouy Kennedy out of Theodore is right on the border between four and five stars.
Of course, none of that matters when they step on campus. Get to work, men.
Travis Reier at BamaOnline is talking redshirts who can help in 2020:
In limited snaps against Western Carolina in November, Sopsher showed the ability to stack and shed would-be blockers, something a relatively-young UA defensive line struggled with during the 2019 season.
New defensive line coach Freddie Roach was instrumental in the development of Ole Miss linemen Josiah Coatney and Benito Jones, a pair of 2020 Senior Bowl invitees. Perhaps Roach will have similar success where Sopsher is concerned.
OLB Kevin Harris II is mentioned in here as well. Both of those guys were highly rated prospects at their respective positions and could make huge impacts in 2020 if they have developed on schedule. The Tide returns some ridiculous numbers in what was a perilously thin front seven in 2019.
With the recent battles on the national stage, history between the coaches, and geographic proximity, you’d be hard pressed to find a bigger September matchup in recent years than the upcoming Georgia vs. Alabama tilt.
GEORGIA AT ALABAMA (SEPT. 19)
Talk about the ultimate matchup that can make or break the season early on for two of the SEC’s top teams. The Bulldogs will be looking to snap a five-game skid against the Crimson Tide, and if you’re banking on Nick Saban finally losing to one of his ex-assistants, it’s worth noting that Georgia’s most recent win over Alabama came during none other than the team’s last visit to Tuscaloosa back in 2007. Indeed, Kirby Smart and Co. will have their work cut out for them as they step foot into Bryant-Denny Stadium, but landing Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman as a grad-transfer could do wonders for a Bulldogs offense that was hit-and-miss this past fall. Like the Ohio State-Oregon game, this isn’t necessarily a must-win as far as playoff aspirations are concerned — heck, this could be a preview of the SEC Championship Game — but life will be a whole lot easier on that front for the winner. Beyond a common home opponent in the form of Auburn, Alabama’s remaining schedule is highlighted by a road trip to defending national champion LSU on Nov. 7, while Georgia’s Halloween date with Florida will likely once again determine the SEC East champion.
Look, I’m not going to hate on Newman. He looks like a solid enough player, can use his legs and is a decent passer even if he isn’t always terribly accurate and has been turnover prone. I’m just not sure where all of the excitement is coming from when it comes to him replacing Fromm. I don’t see him being the type of impact player who is going to elevate the offense in his only year on campus. Alabama should have a big advantage on offense in this one with so much more returning talent, particularly up front. It’s unlikely that a fully rebuilt Bulldogs offensive line will have jelled by that point.
It’s college football though, so you never know.
Check out this take.
For all deserved attention afforded Burrow and Trevor Lawrence in 2019, Tagovailoa was every bit as good until an injury ended his college career, and Alabama’s less-than-elite defensive play this season continued a downward trend (albeit from one of the best ever to simply pretty good).
It’s fair to wonder if both LSU and Clemson have passed Alabama in the college football pecking order at this point, and while no one should be surprised if the Tide are back in the title game next year, it’s also reasonable to think that with a high-profile QB battle, more talent off to the NFL and a season in which they missed the playoff for the first time, life has gotten a bit tougher for Saban in Tuscaloosa.
LSU? Really? Because they won a single national title then watched all of the key players and coaches leave town? Maybe they should outrecruit Alabama at least once before we crown them the next dynasty, eh?
Coop does not like cold weather.
“I don’t think it’s all about money,” Cooper said. “... If you’re a highly touted free agent, you’re going to get paid a lot of money no matter where you go. Is it worth it to go somewhere that you probably don’t want to go as far as, you might be a guy like me who’s from South Florida who’s never played a game in the snow?
”Is it worth a million dollars more a year or two million dollars more a year, especially if you’re taking care of your money investment-wise, is it worth that two being in an environment that you don’t want to be in? Or would you like to stay somewhere in the south? It’s not all about money.”
If will be interesting to see where he lands. Hometown Miami doesn’t seem likely since they have a very good, young WR corps already. We shall see.
Last and speaking of the Dolphins, it’s a shame that they couldn’t figure out how to use Minkah.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made Fitzpatrick an instant starter. In 14 games, Fitzpatrick had five interceptions, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, two defensive touchdowns and 57 tackles. Two interceptions came in the Steelers’ 27-14 win over the Dolphins on Oct. 28. In all, it might be enough to win defensive player of the year.
“It’s an honor that people are mentioning my name in that,” Fitzpatrick said. “We worked hard. My family worked hard. It’s awesome to see the hard work paying off and if I don’t get it this year, I’ll keep fighting, keep competing and try and get it next year.”
Fitzpatrick was an immediate impact guy on a team that just missed the playoffs despite putrid QB play. The Dolphins had better get something good with that #18 overall pick they traded him for.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.