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Jumbo Package: Alabama Crimson Tide, Najee Harris continue to display excellence on and off the football field.

The senior running back continues to lead the charge for the Tide

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Michigan vs Alabama Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Orgeron acknowledged during a Zoom press conference Tuesday morning that there could still be additional LSU opt outs.

“There’s a couple of guys that are thinking about it to be honest with you,” Orgeron said. “... Hopefully they don’t. But again, if they do, that’s what we’re living in. But we have depth. And if they do opt out, we’re still going to have a great football team.”

Star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, nickel back Kary Vincent and defensive linemen Tyler Shelvin and Neil Farrell are the four LSU players that have already decided to opt out.

Bottom line: How LSU is ranked in the top 5 on some voters’ ballots is beyond me — and that’s before the nation’s best receiver, JaMarr Chase, opted out of the season and defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin followed suit Monday. No defending national champion has lost as many starters in the last 15 seasons (17), and the two closes teams (14 starters lost) failed to win double-digit games, so why the expectation that LSU will simply reload without Heisman winner Joe Burrow at quarterback, a stable of receivers and six NFL players from the defense? Oh, and not to mention the departures of the architect of the offense (Joe Brady) and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda?

I’ve gotta admit, I’m enjoying this WAAAYYY more than I probably should. LSU’s saving grace this season might well be the fact that Auburn is set for nearly as much of a regression, Texas A&M is still QB’d by Kellen Mond, and the rest of the SEC West will all be breaking in brand new coaches.

Well, aside from Alabama. Who happens to return a number of high-profile seniors, some sure-fire early departure juniors, and a slew of talent and depth.

Oh, and some head coach named Nick Saban. Who is absolutely the greatest of all time. On and off the football field.

If you missed it, check out the entire video on the Tide’s march from Monday night.

Najee Harris, Chris Owens, Jarez Parks, and the whole crew are a phenomenal group of students, and Saban is the best kind of leader anyone could ever ask for.

Speaking of Harris, he’s working on his video and acting chops and releasing a YouTube series detailing how he’s training for his senior year.

Over the next few weeks, Harris will provide an inside look at his preparation for the coming season during a three-part series entitled “The Campaign” on his YouTube account.

“I can tell you, he wants the Heisman Trophy,” said Lester, a former Auburn back who trained Harris this offseason. “That’s the goal for any running back. And he wants to be a top-five draft pick. That’s why I think he called it “The Campaign” because those things, that’s as presidential as it gets. He wants to come out on top like that.”

The series is set to debut Wednesday and will be spaced out a week apart with the second episode airing on Sept. 9 and the final episode airing on Sept. 16. The roughly 15-minute videos will offer a look at Harris’ preparation for the upcoming season as well as the back’s more playful side off the field.

I believe I said this in the Jumbo Package last week, but to reiterate: I’m all for a running back rotation to keep guys fresh and uninjured. But every single running play this season that doesn’t involve Najee Harris is a waste of a running play, in my opinion.

Joshua McMillon was granted a medical redshirt and is back at Alabama for a sixth year. The grad student is one of several players that chose to return after a disappointing 2019 season.

“It was just a bad taste left in my mouth from the past year,” said McMillon on Tuesday during a Zoom call with local reporters. “Going 11-2, I don’t want to end my college career on a bad note like that. I don’t think anyone who came to the University of Alabama would want to end their season like that. Just being here, being a leader, seeing other guys in the past and not living up to that standard, it didn’t feel right leaving.”

McMillon may not have the athletic potential of Christian Harris and may not get a ton of playing time, but having a 6th year senior who’s trained with players like Reggie Ragland, Reuben Foster, Jonathan Allen, Jarran Reed, A’Shawn Robinson, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Shaun Dion Hamilton in his career out on the practice field should be a huge mental, motivational, and stable asset for the Alabama defense this year.

“Really, the one guy that played just good (last season) was Daron,” Rivera said. “He’s a guy that can be an explosive, dynamic guy. We know what kind of player he is. We know what Matt Ionnadis is. What know what Tim Settle is, and Jonathan Allen. Those four guys are going to give you that interior push.

“And like you talked about, when I was in Carolina in 2015, the biggest reason we had the success we had was the interior push. A quarterback stepped out of the way. So again we feel good about those four defensive tackles right now that are slated to be our depth in terms of our ones and our twos, and those four guys are going to allow the speed on the outside to make plays for us. That’s what’s so exciting about watching those young guys with the speed on the outside is really the push from the inside.”

Ever wondered what it would look like if DaRon Payne and Jonathan Allen got the chance to play in a defense that had defensive linemen shooting gaps rather than occupying blockers? Now’s your chance. Ron Rivera is coming to Washington to unleash a fearsome defensive line comprised of a number of former Tide players, as well as freak-of-nature defensive end Chase Young.