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Jumbo Package: Ekiyor makes a move, Big Ten returns

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Alabama v Mississippi State Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, everyone. We found out yesterday that Mizzou will be missing 12 players due to COVID protocols when they host Alabama next Saturday, while as of now Alabama has no such problems. This is going to be a wacky season, but there probably won’t be much drama in that game.

Emil Ekiyor Jr. has clearly made a move in camp. Some of Saban’s comments yesterday:

“Emil has played really, really well,” Saban said after Wednesday’s practice. “He’s had a really good camp. He’s lost weight. He’s in really good shape. He’s got very good power. He’s very smart as a player. He can play multiple positions, center and guard. We look at him as a starter and he can start multiple positions for us, and he’ll get a lot of playing time for sure.

“Although when I say a starter, I think we have probably maybe seven guys that I look at as starters. Only five of them can play at once, but he’s certainly one of those guys.”

— Defensive lineman Christian Barmore’s minor knee injury might keep him out of the opener with Missouri.

— Quarterback Mac Jones had a strong scrimmage Saturday and Saban gave an appraisal of where the fourth-year junior stands. “When Mac stays in himself and is concerned about doing what he’s supposed to do and executes and does the things that he’s coached to do, he’s very, very effective,” he said. “When he stays focused on the play, doesn’t get upset about what happened on the play before, he’s very, very effective. He has shown an ability to do that much better this year. I think it’s a sign of maturity and understanding what he has to do to play winning football at his position.”

Perhaps Barmore’s limitations and/or pain led to his rumored recent blowup. Nothing would be more frustrating to a player than to work all of this time, with all of these protocols, and then tweak a knee right before the season, particularly when this is supposed to be your proving year to NFL scouts.

Alabama’s 2021 class is loaded with Top 247 prospects, including 8 in the top 100.

JC Latham, 5-star OT, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy — No. 3

Tommy Brockermeyer, 5-star OT, Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints — No. 12

Dallas Turner, 4-star WDE, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas — No. 30

Damon Payne, 4-star DT, Belleville (Mich.) — No. 32

Deontae Lawson, 4-star ILB, Mobile (Ala.) Mobile Christian — No. 41

Jacorey Brooks, 4-star WR, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy — No. 58

Terrence Ferguson, 4-star OG, Fort Valley (Ga.) Peach County — No. 76

Agiye Hall, 4-star WR, Valrico (Fla.) Bloomingdale — No. 96

Alabama is also trending for #31 Tunmise Adeleye, previously committed to Ohio State.

Aiding the Tide’s chances in the race for Adeleye, UA flipped four-star quarterback Jalen Milroe from Texas last month, a former teammate and close friend of Adeleye’s.

“We talked about it,” Milroe told BamaOnLine of playing together at the next level with Adeleye. “We’ve played together since youth ball up to high school at Tompkins together. We’ve wanted to continue playing together, so the thought of playing at Alabama has been communicated through the both of us. It would be outstanding to play with him in college.”

Adeleye says he’s taking his recruitment the distance before making his next decision.

This would be an outstanding development in the race for the ever mythical recruiting title.

Sark is going to be a head coach again sooner than later.

Now 46, Sarkisian’s career appears to be on the rise again and he appears closer to having a second chance at becoming a head coach.

“I think he’s trying to get back to being a head coach again some day soon,” said UCLA defensive line coach Johnny Nansen, who was a part of Sarkisian’s staffs at both Washington and USC. “I think he will. He’s a guy that’s determined and when he sets his mind to something, man, he’s a pretty special person. I think he’s gonna get it done.”

Last, Cecil brings the snark on the Big Ten’s decision to return to play.

Like a returner fearful of underestimating the power of Iowa’s 14th punt of the game, the Big Ten did some backing up on Wednesday.

The league that tried to set the pace in August yielded its self-proclaimed spot on the lofty moral ground and decided that it would play football in the 2020 season after all, starting four weeks after the SEC but hoping that cramming nine games into nine weeks will get a playoff spot for one of its members, with Ohio State all but coronated before a game has been played.

Seriously though, good for them. Yeah, it was a clown show but in the end the players are going to get to play and that should be applauded. The Pac 12 looks to be joining the party as well.

Larry Scott has emphatically announced to the college football world that the Pac 12 schools are the Big Ten’s lap dogs. Considering their irrelevance in the playoff, a Rose Bowl that hasn’t actually meant anything in years is about all they have left to hold onto, I guess.

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

Roll Tide.