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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

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Is Alabama about to reel in some more recruits?

NCAA Football: Auburn at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Being that it is Gump Day, there could be no better opener than this.

Roll Tide, Reggie. Roll Tide.

Y’all, check out Najee.

That man is a monster.

Speedy WR commit Christian Leary seems quite confident that the recruiting momentum will keep rolling.

Let it be written, starting with the Brockermeyer twins.

Brockermeyer has tacked up almost 100 pounds of muscle from this time a year ago until now, as the Rivals250 center continues to bulk up his frame and prepare for his senior season and his future in the college ranks. New Alabama strength coach David Ballou has kept in contact with Brockermeyer to discuss why the facilities and resources in Tuscaloosa would help him continue to do that, while offensive line coach Kyle Flood and Nick Saban oft-discuss Alabama’s winning tradition and the high standards in and around the football program.

If not for the recruiting dead Period, Alabama would have had the opportunity to host the Brockermeyer twins twice already this offseason, including an official in March. Now, the Tide will look to close with the twins this fall.

Lee Hunter is going to likely play in the state of Alabama, but the school might still be up in the air. He has reopened his recruitment, but still says that he is a hard commit for the Auburn Tigers. Hunter might be simply wading in the recruiting waters, but Alabama football has been trying to get him to join the Tide. With DJ Dale and Christian Barmore heading into their junior years by the time Lee Hunter sees college, it is important for them to add depth to the defensive line in the 2021 recruiting class. The Crimson Tide seem to be set at the defensive tackle position, but they will still pursue Lee Hunter if they believe he is an upgrade.

Not really any new recruiting “news”, but plenty of speculation. The Brockmeyer twins seem like they may be north of a 50% chance of coming to the Tide, and flipping Hunter from Auburn would just be wonderful.

Keep your eyes peeled, as there are rumblings we might see another commit or two in the next week.

Your daily nugget of COVID news is that the SEC is postponing the annual Media Days. It’s not exactly unexpected, but, hey, news is news, right?

SEC fans will have to wait to hear from their conference coaches this summer. According to multiple reports, SEC Media Days will not take place from July 13-16 as originally planned.

No make up date scheduled as of yet. I’d imagine if we get any semblance of Media Days, it’ll be totally virtual. And honestly they should probably move that circus to a more remote spectacle in the future anyway.

Alabama had four players named to the first-team offense in the 74th Birmingham News/AL.com preseason All-SEC team announced this week.

Wide receiver DeVonta Smith, guard Deonte Brown, tackle Alex Leatherwood and running back Najee Harris all picked up first-team honors. Offensive lineman Landon Dickerson earned a spot on the second team giving the Crimson Tide five of the 24 players selected in voting by football information directors from each SEC school.

Today we present six candidates, alphabetically by school with their 2019 credentials, and invite you to vote for one. They are:

Will Reichard, Alabama – 4-7 field goals, 57.14 percent, 49 long. Reichard was considered one of the finest kickers (and punters) in the nation when he signed with Alabama prior to last season. But early in the year on a kickoff, he kicked into the turf and suffered an injury that ended his season. He has recovered fully and should be in the hunt with his distance and accuracy. Now, were this not a poll at BamaOnLine, it’s possible he would not have been listed as a candidate owing to last season’s injury.

AL.com and 247sports.com are both doing their Preseason All-SEC teams in their own methods. Cornbread getting some love on the first team is interesting, as he’s not generally a popular name in the media. Meanwhile, it’s a bit of an indictment on the state of college kickers that a guy that’s kicked all of 7 times at a collegiate level is being considered for an All-Conference position.

18 WR Slade Bolden

2019 season: Bolden appeared in every game as a redshirt freshman. As a key member on Alabama’s special teams, he recorded six tackles and a forced fumble and was named UA special teams player of the week following games against South Carolina, Southern Mississippi and Auburn. Sniffed out a fake punt attempt by the Gamecocks and made a tackle that turned the ball over to UA on downs. On offense, Bolden caught two passes for 34 yards and also worked as a Wildcat quarterback, where he produced 10 rushing yards on four carries and connected on his lone pass attempt of the season, a six-yarder to Forristall against Tennessee that went for a touchdown.

What he brings to the table: In addition to competing for a bigger role at the wide receiver position, Bolden returns as an unquestioned leader where special teams are concerned. Former high school quarterback proved efficient on Wildcat opportunities a year ago, converting four of the five short yardage/goal line situations he attempted in 2019. With his background at safety, offers position versatility that isn’t limited to offense.

Bolden is likely to see a significant increase in snaps in 2020, and will be in a heated competition with 2nd year player John Metchie for that starting 3rd receiver spot. We’ve seen a lot from him already in special teams and in the “Sladecat,” so we know he’s a player that has the trust of the coaches. Can he elevate that into becoming a true receiver?

To make for a fair poll, we didn’t include Moses. But there are plenty of other players to choose from. While Moses will be the defense’s quarterback, the most-experienced signal-caller in Tuscaloosa will be Mac Jones, who started four games this past season after Tua Tagovailoa went down with ankle and hip injuries. He will have to hold off Bryce Young and Paul Tyson, but Jones will have the benefit of closing out last season as the starting quarterback.

Other redshirt juniors on the offensive side of the football are tight end Major Tennison and tight end/offensive lineman Kendall Randolph. Tennison played in all 13 games, making one start, and was the team’s second-leading receiver at the tight end position, catching three passes for 21 yards and a touchdown. Randolph also played in 13 games and carved out a role as an extra blocker. Both players could once again see playing time at the position in 2020.

Defensively, Alabama has four redshirt juniors that should be key contributors this fall. Two of them are defensive linemen in LaBryan Ray and Phidarian Mathis. Ray missed nine games with a foot injury but should return to the starting lineup in his fourth season. Mathis has been a top reserve and should once again be in the rotation. Also playing on the defensive front is outside linebacker Christopher Allen, who ended the 2019 season as a starter at the Sam.

247 is doing a poll on Alabama’s best redshirt juniors. It’s a class designation without a whole lot of choices, as many of the Tide’s players tend to either go pro or transfer by their 4th year in the program.

Based on what we’ve seen so far in the past, Mac Jones HAS to be the choice. If we’re projecting 2020 performance, though, Ray or Allen could very well develop into true impact defenders this season.

The 25 highest-paid coaches in college sports

25. Rick Barnes, Tennessee ($4.7 million)

24. Mark Stoops, Kentucky ($4.75 million)

23. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa ($4.8 million)

22. Gary Patterson, TCU ($4.9 million)

T21. Mike Leach, Mississippi State ($5 million)

Leach’s contract at Mississippi State will pay him five million dollars annually over four years, which is the maximum amount of years allowed under state laws. That salary is a raise of $1 million for Leach, who was set to make $4 million dollars with the Cougars in 2020. That contract figure is the highest for a coach in program history, so it’s obvious the Bulldogs believe in their investment and where Leach can take the program in Starkville.

Kentucky sure is paying a lot of money for a rather subpar football results. Add that to the astronomical salary of John Calipari, and the Wildcats are shelling out nearly $15m for their coaches in men’s basketball and football. That’s a lot of cash.

That’s all for today. No controversial topics for you, but feel free to make your own.