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Jumbo Package: Decision Day

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Michigan vs Alabama Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. In case you were wondering just how big a deal Tua Tagovailoa’s decision is in the news, check out this headline from USA Today:

It’s Decision Day for Tua Tagovailoa, as both college football and NFL fans will be anxious to hear the Alabama quarterback’s plans for 2020. Will he turn pro, or will he chase another national title with the Crimson Tide? Despite a devastating hip injury in November that is expected to keep him out of action for at least six months, Taogvailoa remains one of the NFL’s top quarterback prospects of the 2020 draft class and is still considered a potential top-15 pick according to teams Alabama head coach Nick Saban contacted. An 11 a.m. ET Monday press conference has been scheduled.

Imagine being a 20 year old kid and seeing your decision on whether to play college football one more year squeezed between the most recent trial of the century and the Golden Globe awards. Unreal.

We will see how it goes, but the latest rumblings seem to suggest that both he and Henry Ruggs III are going pro while Devonta Smith leans toward returning. If that’s the case, all of the rumblings will have been unfortunate since a returning package of Alex Leatherwood, Dylan Moses, Landon Dickerson, and Devonta Smith would have been seen as a massive win. Personally, I had expected next season to be a full-on rebuild, replacing three and possibly four OL starters if Deonte Brown had made the leap, plus all three WRs in addition to QB and RB. I also thought there was no chance of Moses returning.

Getting the leader of the defense back, two of the top four WRs and returning four starters on the offensive line sets this team up for excellence next year, particularly with the way that Mac Jones played. Brian Robinson will be around to lead the running back group and play personal protector, but there is going to be an awful lot of talent behind him.

Oh yeah, and there is some talent coming in, too.

Bryce looked like the most advanced player on the field, and it wasn’t terribly close. He hit a slant on time and accurately for a touchdown, then threw a laser downfield for the second one. He also showed plenty of escapability and wowed everyone with a little Pat Mahomes style sidearm pass around a defender. You never know until you see them play, but his potential jumped off the screen. Bryce has reportedly already arrived on campus.

Chris Braswell was asked about playing OLB rather than DE as he did in high school.

“I can stand up. That’s not a problem,” he said. “Just working on moving around a little bit, working on dropping into coverage a little bit. We do that, well we did that at St. Frances, so it’s not much of a difference. … I’ve just got work on it a little bit, but I’ll pick it up.”

We will soon see.

Besides setting a record for safeties, Eddie Jackson’s contract was the first extension signed by the 2017 rookie class.

In a conference call with reporters, Jackson thanked several people, including his coach at Alabama, Nick Saban.

“I’ve got to thank coach Saban,” Jackson said. “He taught us how to deal with adversity, overcoming those obstacles, things and different challenges in your life that you feel like want to set you back and stop you from getting to where you need to be. Just having that mindset installed has always worked -- always having that chip on my shoulder and just continue to get better and be the best version of me I can be.”

I’d say he is my favorite former player, but there are so many. Check out these numbers from Derrick Henry.

Henry led the league in yards after contact this season, with 1,268, per Pro Football Focus. His average of 4.18 yards after contact per carry also ranked first—most running backs would be relatively content with that as their total yards per carry. Against the Patriots, it was easy to see why Henry has been so successful at running through defenders: He’s usually the strongest guy on the field, and one of the biggest to boot.’’

Not just relatively content, in the NFL 4.2 a carry is downright solid. At over 1200 yards, Henry put up a Pro Bowl season if you only count the yards after contact. That is absurd.

Is Butch Jones headed to Starkville?

Three names are spinning out of the rumor mill, and two of them have an Alabama background under Saban.

One is Butch Jones, who has been on the Alabama staff as an analyst the past two years after having been released at Tennessee, where he served 2013-17 with a record of 34-27 (including a 14-24 mark in SEC games).

It also mentions Steve Sarkisian as a candidate, but those rumors seem to have been squashed.

Last, if Ruggs indeed enters the draft, we will miss him. Always knew he was an amazing athlete, but check this out.

Holy sh*t indeed.

That’s about it for today. See you at 11am.

Roll Tide.