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Jumbo Package: Alabama picks up another DB commit

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 Chick-fil-A Kickoff - Duke v Alabama Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Thursday, everyone. The big Alabama news of the day is another commitment for the 2021 class, this time a flip from Mississippi State of three-star DB Kadarius Calloway.

Here’s what 247Sports national analyst Charles Power said of him:

“Kadarius Calloway is a very intriguing prospect. He stars on both sides of the ball at Philadelphia High School as a receiver and defensive back. You can see his ability to locate and track the football downfield on offense, but I really like his physicality and striking power as a defender. He flies around and has some real pop as a hitter. Calloway has also shown well at recent camps and has turned in some nice times, running sub 4.6 at 6-foot, 210 pounds. Given his physical tools and skill set, I like the fit as a big safety. We see top defensive backs often play on both sides of the ball at the high school level, so that’s a big plus as well. I’m looking forward to monitoring Calloway closely as we move forward and we should hopefully have some opportunities to see him in person. I like this evaluation and get for Alabama - a versatile defensive back who has probably flown under the radar a bit to date.”

Alabama’s class jumps to No. 11 in the country with the addition, per the industry-generated 247Sports Composite Team Recruiting Rankings.

A lot of folks will wring hands over the fact that Calloway is a three-star, but he sounds like a prototype for the modern S/LB combo that is so valuable against teams who flex out their TEs and RBs on a regular basis, which is basically everyone.

As you undoubtedly heard, the Ivy League cancelled all fall sports, and as you might expect a few tried to immediately shape the narrative into a binary decision between caring about the athletes and being evil money grubbers.

In the wake of the Ivy League announcing Wednesday that fall sports will not be held during the upcoming semester because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called on other college sports conferences to do the same.

“There’s absolutely nothing different between the Ivy League and any division except for the money, to be very blunt,” Blumenthal told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s about the money. And if the other schools fail to follow the Ivy League’s lead, it will be only because of the money. And, in fact, it will be another misguided act in a long litany of putting school profits ahead of the people who play for them.”

Athletic departments are so dependent on football that any delay, interruption or revenue shortfall can carry ruinous ripples. The University of Michigan is projecting a $51.6 million revenue decline for the 2020 fiscal year. The University of Connecticut, which reported a $42 million athletic deficit before the virus hit, dropped four sports last week.

Pressure to maintain cash flow will likely influence whatever decisions get made about college football in 2020. It would be shameful if it should cause universities to gamble with the health of their athletes.

College Football Parents 24/7 is drafting a letter seeking information from the NCAA and athletic directors about COVID-19 issues, including who will be responsible for the care of any players who suffer long-term health problems from COVID-19 contracted while playing football.

“That’s the beauty of the group, that as a unified, collective voice, we can ask that,’’ Chris Hinton said. “And it’s not one parent that a school can dismiss as being a wacky parent or a helicopter parent. This is over 1,000 parents who say, ‘Yes, I want to know that.’ ”

Emphasis mine in that last excerpt. Needless to say, there is no way to definitively prove where or how someone contracted a virus unless you are going to completely isolate players from the rest of society during the season, which to my knowledge no one who matters has suggested.

The Ivy League schools are going to allow about half the students to be on campus this year. At Harvard, this means that there will be somewhere around 3,000 students living together, dining together and studying in the same libraries, but a couple hundred of them competing in their preferred sport is a bridge too far? That defies logic, especially if they are testing each student every three days as the link states, and again you’d have to be delusional to think that college students won’t be finding ways to party.

Now, what doesn’t defy logic is that the Ivy League likely needs a gate to make sports financially viable since they don’t enjoy the TV revenue of the Power Five leagues. Surely that has nothing to do with the decision though, right? The Ivies are concerned only with safety.

Meanwhile, high school level summer baseball leagues are going on all over the place as we speak, even in dastardly hotspot areas. Those players practice together and share a dugout without wearing masks.. The kids are playing because they want to play despite the fact that a virus is circulating. While every college player should have the ability to opt out and maintain eligibility should they not want to absorb the risk of contracting a virus while playing, I suspect that 90+% of Power Five athletes want to play as well.

It has been said since the beginning of this mess that if it’s not safe for students to be on campus then it’s not safe to play sports. Considering the numbers involved even that is sketchy logic, but at least there is a modicum of consistency. Still, I would argue the opposite: if it isn’t safe for relatively few kids to play a sport, then it sure as hell isn’t safe to have thousands of kids on campus.

In any case, all the rest of us can do is wait and see how it all plays out.

Moving on, John Petty’s decision still looms large.

The problem is not a problem at all if John Petty decides to remain in the NBA Draft rather than return for his senior season at UA. Petty has not made a decision yet. While he may be leaning to a pro career, especially if he receives a credible Top 40 grade from one or more NBA teams, Oats is not simply going to kick one of the best 3-point shooters in college basketball last season and a second-team All-SEC player to the curb.

Should Petty return, things get tight. Three players from last year’s team have transferred already — Raymond Hawkins to Long Beach State, Jalen Forbes to Tulane and Galin Smith to Maryland. Neither Forbes nor Smith were recruited to play in an uptempo offense like Oats has brought to Alabama and Smith, a graduate transfer, will probably play more minutes as a Terrapin than he would have in Tuscaloosa.

I think he’s probably gone, but there will be a tough decision to make somewhere if he returns.

Alabama has three coaches named in the following list.

Huff has already interviewed for multiple head coaching jobs — including Akron and Northern Illinois during the 2018-19 offseason — and he’s likely to receive interest for other head coaching positions moving forward. A former starting center and team captain at Hampton, Huff began coaching running backs in 2012 while with the Buffalo Bills and has since mentored some of the top running backs in college football. The 37-year old Huff recruited and coached Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders at Penn State, worked with Kylin Hill at Mississippi State and helped Najee Harris have a breakout season during his first year at Alabama. Huff is currently ranked as the No. 1 recruiter in the nation within the 247Sports recruiter rankings for the 2021 recruiting cycle. A member of the James Franklin coaching tree, Huff worked with Franklin at Maryland, Vanderbilt and Penn State.

The other two are Freddie Roach and Karl Scott.

Last, a former college football WR made the catch of his life.

This is an awful tragedy, but what heroism, first from the mother, who managed to get her child over the railing as she was literally on fire, and then Mr. Blanks for saving the child from greater injury. The two of them together may well have saved a life. There is an older sibling, as well. May they find peace as they navigate life without their mother.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.