Smith becomes the third Alabama alumnus to opt out, joining New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower and Seattle Seahawks guard Chance Warmack.
Smith started the first five games of his 11th NFL season at left offensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2019. An ankle injury sidelined him for the next two games, and he played only once more, getting on the field for 12 offensive snaps on Nov. 10, before being released.
Another former Tide player is choosing not to play in the upcoming NFL season, joining Donta Hightower and Chance Warmack. For Hightower, he’s been one of the best linebackers in the league for years now and will have an open spot waiting for him whenever he comes back.
Warmack, though, was likely on his final chance at reclaiming any relevance in the pros trying to earn a starting job in middle of the desolation that is the Seattle offensive line. And Andre Smith’s age already put him in what was likely to be a retirement season. I’m not sure we’ll see either of these guys in the pros again.
The New York Jets placed former Alabama defensive back Shyheim Carter on the COVID-19 reserve list on Tuesday. Carter signed with the Jets as an undrafted free agent in April.
As players from across the league report for training camp, Carter is the first former Crimson Tide player to be placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. He was one of two players the Jets placed on the COVID-19 reserve list Tuesday, along with rookie defensive back Bryce Hall.
Unfortunately for the perennially overlooked undrafted free agent, Shyheim Carter will now be missing valuable training camp time that would have been absolutely integral for him to prove his worth to his new team.
Alabama had six players appear in 247Sports’ ranking of the top 50 players in college football, which was by far the most of any team. All six Crimson Tide players were ranked among the top 26 players, and of the 50 players listed, Alabama made up 12 percent of the rankings.
Below are the six Crimson Tide representatives among 247Sports’ top 50 players for 2020.
247 has Jaylen Waddle as the best player on Alabama’s team, and ranked #13 in the nation. Following him are Devonta Smith, Alex Leatherwood, Dylan Moses, Pat Surtain II, and Najee Harris.
I’m not sure I would ranked Moses higher than Najee Harris, considering the former was still a fairly mistake-prone first year starter the last time we saw him playing and missed all of last season.
While Alabama is dominating college player lists, their alumni are also pervading the NFL top 100 list:
Three more players with Alabama football roots showed up on “The Top 100 Players of 2020” on Monday night, with Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram at No. 44, Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith at No. 48 and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper at No. 49.
NFL Network has polled the league’s players annually since 2011 to produce the top 100 player ratings, and it is revealing this year’s voting this week.
On Sunday night, the players ranked 71st through 100th were unveiled, with Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs at No. 72 and Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey at No. 86. The players are Alabama alumni, and Humphrey prepped at Hoover.
Man, remember when all the rage in the national media was spouting off “All Alabama running backs are busts” because Mark Ingram wasn’t being used as a lead back with the New Orleans Saints? Well, nearly a decade later, the former Heisman winner is defying all conventional wisdom about running backs and just keeps getting better every season.
And don’t expect it to stop there. Eddie Jackson, Donta Hightower, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derrick Henry, and, of course, Julio Jones are all but assured to be next forty spots on the list.
After I wrote this, NFL Network released their #s 11-40. Fitzpatrick came in at #35, and Julio is #11. Which is an absolute snub that he isn't in the top 10. They'll have him as the third best receiver than Nuk Hopkins and Michael Thomas. While the first has an argument, Thomas has only had a couple of elite seasons, while Julio's been doing it every year since 2011.
They've also said who is in the top-10 and will release the order tonight. Henry is in the list, but it'll be a tall order to crack the top 5.
Hightower and Eddie Jackson both are left out of the top-100 for some inexplicable reason despite being on it last year.
Alabama target Khyree Jackson sets commitment date
Khyree Jackson, the nation’s top-rated junior college cornerback, per 247Sports, will announce his college commitment on Saturday, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. CT.
His finalists are Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
Jackson recently told BamaOnLine a decision was still on the horizon despite postponing his July 11 commitment plans in hopes to take visits.
On the recruiting front, keep your eye on this one. Jackson’s star rating isn’t that high, but as a JUCO recruit, they’re on a totally different scale than regular recruits. Jackson is a 6’3” outside cornerback that can hit like a truck and, if he chooses Alabama, will absolutely be expected to compete to take over Surtain’s vacated job in 2021.
Five-star offensive tackle Amarius Mims is also set to announce his commitment on August 15th, and, while I believe he’s a bit of a longshot for the Tide, it could very well make for a rather fun day for Alabama fans.