The safety position opposite Jordan Battle seemed to be a game of musical chairs at times this past season. Daniel Wright started 10 of Alabama’s 13 games there, while Hellams started the other three, including both College Football Playoff games. With the former being inconsistent and the latter closing out the 2020-21 schedule in the starting lineup, the spring could be a time for Hellams to make a move and make more appearances at the start of games instead of just the ends. Wright and others will provide good competition at the position, though.
I definitely spent most of 2020 campaigning to see more of Hellams at safety, and I really enjoyed watching him play against Notre Dame and Ohio State. He’s a powerful, aggressive tackler from the safety spot and I thought he added a bit of swagger and enforcer mentality to the Tide defense to close out the season.
Alabama won the next seven years against LSU. In 2019, when Joe Burrow and the Tigers easily defeated the Crimson Tide, racing out to a big halftime lead and cruising to a 46-41 victory en route to a national championship, LSU fans celebrated with the zeal of the newly freed.
A year later, Alabama humiliated LSU 55-17, the Tide’s largest margin against the Tigers since 1925. A few days after the beatdown, Charles Hannagriff, a Baton Rouge sports radio host, bared his soul.
“The day that man coaches his last game,” Hannagriff said on the air, “will be the greatest day ever for the rest of college football.”
Bear Bryant was wrong. One old man is winning championships. Bryant lived 69 years and 137 days. Saban will surpass that age on March 18. The next day, the 2021 Crimson Tide will begin spring practice.
Ivan Maisel is a fantastic long-form writer, and this piece he did with the Ringer is absolutely phenomenal. He goes into the four different ways that old coaches wind up being pushed into retirement, and how Nick Saban is trampling on all of those reasons.
If you read nothing else today, read this one.
A decision is upcoming for the top running back from Alabama in the 2022 recruiting cycle.
By this weekend, five-star Emmanuel Henderson will have made his decision public.
That’s according to Henderson’s head coach at Geneva County High School, Jim Bob Striplin. Henderson plans to announce his college commitment Saturday, March 13 at 1 p.m. CT, Striplin told 247Sports.
“I think down the stretch it’s really been Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, LSU, and maybe Georgia,” Striplin added when it comes to Henderson’s options.
In recruiting news, Alabama has a shot at landing another 5-star prospect for 2022. Henderson is the #2 ranked player in the state and would be a huge in-state recruiting win for Nick Saban. The 247 guys seem to think he’s most likely to pick Alabama, though Auburn is likely not far behind.
ESPN has reported Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has instructed the staff to build around Hurts in free agency and the draft this offseason rather than bring in a quarterback to compete with the former Alabama standout for the starting job.
Hurts said the changes on Philadelphia’s quarterback depth chart this offseason have not affected how he has gone about preparing for the 2021 season.
“Nothing changes for me and my mindset,” Hurts said. “Going in every day trying to get better as a player, be the best leader I can be, impact the guys around me and, ultimately, it’s just about winning football games and being consistent in doing that, so my mentality, it doesn’t alter not one bit. …
Getting anything going with the Eagles’ rather dreadful OL and receiving corps is going to be a tough task for Jalen Hurts unless the new management makes some significant upgrades this offseason. That team has a great defensive line, but that’s really about it. Here’s to hoping Jalen can help kickstart things for a much better season than they saw in 2020... Though the pass rushes for the Washington Football Team and the New York Giants are also some of the best in the league.
And to really kick off your morning:
It claims that Auburn discriminated against Thomas based on race and gender. Essentially, this is the case: a grade for a football player was apparently changed in December of 2019, and Thomas allegedly was fired for knowing about it, but his three superiors were not because they’re white women. The lawsuit also alleges that Thomas experienced a hostile work environment and unfair pressure because football players were making bad grades.
“I feel like a lot of this was done to sabotage my career and make sure I don’t get another job in athletics,” Thomas said.
As if the Auburn athletics department isn’t under enough heat already. The men’s basketball team is not competing in the SEC tournament this week because of a self-imposed one-year ban for apparent NCAA rules violations the university won’t even publicly acknowledge because it loathes transparency like vampires hate sunlight. Accusations of discrimination and a strategic grade change involving football and academic support on top of everything can potentially be a major problem.
Hooo boy. Auburn what is you doin’???
If anything, it’s nice seeing Joe Goodman stirring the pot and railing on a program other than Alabama, for once.