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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

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Might Trey Sanders supplant Brian Robinson, Jr. as the Tide’s 2nd running back?

Alabama v Mississippi State Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Ruggs going to the Raiders with the 12th overall pick most have made the late Al Davis happy, given Davis’ decades-long thing for receivers who could burn down the field, forcing cornerbacks and safeties to play catch-up. Ruggs, the Alabama alum who ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, has every bit of that speed on the field, and he’s a more diverse route-runner than you might expect. Once he lines up with Derek Carr, the Raiders’ passing could the vertical festival Jon Gruden clearly wants it to be.

One of my favorite things is how every single media person is determined to typecast Henry Ruggs III as a deep threat.

In his two years as a starter at Alabama, Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle all received more deep bombs than Ruggs did.

Ruggs has the speed, yes, but go-routes have never been his specialty. Instead, he’s done most of his damage on backshoulder fades, comeback, slants, and deep crosses. The former two routes are dangerous because his speed forces corners to play off of him, and he’s got the basketball hops to jump over people and body them out for catches.

The latter two are where his speed shines and corners can’t cover him across the field or catch him after he snags the ball.

But sure. Go on with the lazy assumptions that “Ruggs is fast, and therefore is a deep threat.”

The University of Alabama football and men’s basketball teams, along with women’s golf, gymnastics and volleyball, have been honored with the 2020 NCAA Division I Public Recognition Award, the NCAA announced Tuesday. It marks the sixth year in a row that Alabama has had at least five teams recognized with the honor.

“This award speaks to the overall importance and focus that we as a department place on excelling not only in athletics but in the classroom as well,” UA Director of Athletics Greg Byrne said in a release. “To have at least one team honored every year since the award came into existence and four or more each of the last half dozen years is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our student-athletes, coaches and staff.”

Alabama is one of five schools in Division I to earn the Public Recognition Award for both football and men’s basketball this year, along with Stanford, Northwestern, Cincinnati and Washington.

Weird. And here I thought Alabama was just a dumb southern school with no academic standards.

Instead, this means they’re in the top 10% of colleges in their sport, academically.

According to reports, both Alabama and TCU have begun talks on what might happen on September 5th. Alabama is scheduled to face USC while TCU is slated to take on California.

But could we see Alabama and TCU face off instead? Possibly.

On Tuesday morning, Paul Finebaum had this to say on ESPN’s “Get Up”:

“It’s going to come down to the five Power 5 commissioners. Those are the men who will sit at the table and decide, and one thing very interesting about this, there’s already scrambling going on. Alabama plays Southern Cal in the first game of the season at Jerry’s World, there’s already talk going on between Alabama and TCU about meeting instead of the other two because TCU plays at Berkeley and the California schools, they do not believe, will be available for that date.”

This idea has already been floating around the internet the last week or so, and now some of the bigger media heads are talking about it.

The wording here is key, though: Both teams are talking about what might happen on September 5th.

Not they are already talking to each other about September 5th.

So yeah. It makes sense, sure. But at this point, an emergency Alabama-TCU matchup is nothing more than some media brainstorming. Don’t let headlines make you think otherwise just yet.

But the bigger development for Mizzou’s 2021 class was a scholarship offer that didn’t come from MU: Washington, Mo., tight end Ryan Hoerstkamp, who committed to the Tigers in late April, announced a new offer from Alabama. Just in case you weren’t sure what kind of player Mizzou landed in the three-star prospect, well, Nick Saban seems to like him, too.

Hoerstkamp is a true three-point stance tight end who puts his hand in the dirt as an in-line tight end on 85 to 90 percent of Washington’s snaps, coach Derick Heflin said. Washington runs an under-center flexbone system. He can snag passes downfield or over the middle but he’s no stranger to trading blows at the point of attack.

A little recruiting news for those of you worried about the Tide’s 2021 recruiting class.

This guy’s last name just SOUNDS like he’ll be a good tight end. And you know the old-school coach at Saban’s core just loves that he plays primarily in a three-point stance.

Alabama’s running back position went from being one of the thinnest to one of the deepest in Tuscaloosa in one year, and that is even after Jerome Ford chose to transfer. The Crimson Tide returns its top three-leading rushers in Najee Harris, Brian Robinson and Keilan Robinson, and it was clear that Harris, who topped 1,000 yards, was the top option last season. So, with Harris back for his senior year, who will be Alabama’s second-leading rusher in 2020?

This is an interesting question.

On one hand, Brian Robinson will be a senior and was the clear #2 back last year.

However, we saw as the season wore on that his role diminished from a 60-40 split with Najee Harris to more of a 75-25.... and even less so in Alabama’s most critical moments.

While it mostly speaks to just how much Najee Harris improved as the season wore on, I think it also shows Robinson’s hold on the #2 spot may be more tenuous than we think. Trey Sanders is returning from the torn ACL last offseason, and the Tide is bringing in two freshman running backs who were both in the upper-four star range and, in my opinion, are likely pretty college-ready already.

The race to be Najee’s backup will be a tight one, and all the younger players will also be vying to be his successor in 2021.