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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

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Alabama Basketball and Football are combining for an athletic one-two punch to take over the NCAA

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Lousiana State vs Alabama Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The blood turns a shade of blue for the potential Monday game with the Maryland/UConn survivor advancing. And these two have decent rankings entering the tournament.

In fact, UConn (15-7) is the highest-ranked No. 7 seed in the KenPom rankings (No. 16) and Maryland is the best 10-seed (No. 31). Alabama is the No. 8 team in KenPom’s measure, not the kind of separation you’d expect for a No. 2 seed in the second round.

In case you’ve been living under a rock (or one of those football-only gumps that is just now jumping on the hoops bandwagon), AL.com has a nice breakdown of Alabama’s path through the NCAA Tournament.

The Tide drew what is likely to be rather tough second round relative to their seeding, but still should be overwhelmingly favorited to make it to the Sweet-16, where any one of Michigan State, Texas, or BYU might be waiting, and things will likely be a toss-up after that.

In the past, all that mattered in recruiting was the culture and the fit. Now, teams are using gimmicks to get high-school players to join their program. They pull out all the stops to recruit, from parents wearing uniforms to McDonald’s bags filled with cash. Despite this, Alabama has stayed at the top of recruiting, and it appears that the Tide will continue to grow.

If other schools can have tricks up their sleeves, so can Alabama football. However, the Tide’s ace is in an entirely different sport.

There have been recruits who have dreams to play multiple sports. This has not been common in the past, but two recent recruits fit this bill. Ga’Quincy McKinstry, a recent DB commit, had offers to play both football and basketball at high-level schools. He decided to play for Alabama football, but he is also working with the basketball team. He has been attending practices with Nate Oats and the Tide.

In the 2022 recruiting class, Emmanuel Henderson became one of Alabama’s first commits. He is a 5-star running back who is ready to play football, but he received multiple basketball offers from SEC schools. Even Auburn made a scholarship offer. While Alabama basketball’s success might have not impacted his decision, one can see how it could have played a role.

Also, don’t forget Terrion Arnold, who could very well be an actual contributor on the Tide’s basketball team next year as well as playing safety for the football squad.

It’s absolutely better for all involved for all of the Tide’s sports programs to be successful, and that success will only lead to more success in the future.

“I think the way he’s handled it has actually been really smart,” Huffman said. “I don’t think there was any need for him to rush into a decision. And honestly I’m surprised more top-tier recruits, guys that are highly coveted by everybody, don’t take a little bit longer, don’t maybe leverage things, do not sign an NLI but scholarship papers, an intent to enroll, whatever it may be. So that doesn’t surprise me. I think what surprises me now is that there is still the possibility they could wait until June, provided the NCAA does open recruiting up in the month of June and they end the dead period at the end of May. I couldn’t see them waiting until the middle of June to make a decision.

“He graduates the first week in June. Most of those guys are gonna be on campus by the end of June. And his high school basketball season, which is part of the reason he came back for the entire school year, will go until mid-June. So it’s unlikely he’ll even be able to take visits until his basketball season’s done. Most guys are already on campus, and at the latest, are already enrolled in June. So I’m kinda surprised they’re taking it all the way until June. I thought with the NCAA’s decision to extend the dead period to the end of May meant that they might get out on the road to visit Ohio State and Alabama, and they still might. But the possibility that they could wait until June, that does surprise me a little bit.”

Speaking of recruiting success, Alabama is still in the running for the nation’s number 1 overall recruit from the 2021 class, and will continue to recruit him all spring and into the summer. JTT even has some interest in playing college basketball as well, so could the signings of Arnold and McKinstry be chips for swaying him to join the Tide?

The two previous records of 28 in a row were:

Alabama’s first stretch of 28 consecutive wins came in 1978-80. Paul Bryant’s team won the final nine games of 1978 (including a Sugar Bowl win over Penn State to win the national championship), went undefeated, 12-0, in 1979, including victory over Arkansas to win a second consecutive national championship in the Sugar Bowl, and won the first seven games of 1980. The streak ended in Jackson, Miss., when No. 1 Alabama was upset by Mississippi State, 6-3.

The Tide’s second 28-game winning streak began in 1991 and carried into the 1993 season. Bama was romped by Florida, 35-0, in the second game of the ’91 season, Gene Stallings’ second in Tuscaloosa. The Tide then ran off 10 consecutive wins to finish out the season. The 1992 season was an undefeated, national championship year, 13 wins including the first ever SEC Championship Game win over Florida and a romp of Miami in the Sugar Bowl to win the national championship. Alabama then won its first five games of 1993 before a tie with Tennessee ended the winning streak. (Alabama’s undefeated streak reached 31 as the Tide won its next two games after tying the Vols before losing to LSU.)

Only in Alabama do you own the NCAA record (TWICE) for football win streaks. The Tide is currently sitting at 14 in a row and will be hoping to add to it next season. Opening with Miami and Mercer will see Alabama as heavy favorites, but then a September 18th date with Florida will loom large.

In 2020, Henry again led the NFL in rushing attempts, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, and this time, he became the eighth player in league history to reach 2,000 rushing yards in a season.

Henry incorporated that milestone into a gift for the Titans’ offensive linemen – a diamond medallion with 2K on one side. The other side of the medallion is individualized with the lineman’s name and number along with Henry’s rushing total of 2,027 yards, the fifth-highest in one season in NFL history.

The medallion for Tennessee center Ben Jones, a former Alabama prep standout at Bibb County High School, was shared on social media.

Derrick Henry just keeps getting better every season. The running back position in general has a bad history of getting less effective once they get their first big non-rookie contract, but Henry just built on his league-leading 2019 to topping 2000 yards in 2020.

He’s been the best running back in the world for two years now, and the only real question is how long he’s going to be able to stay on top of his throne.

Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson is leaving the New York Giants via free agency for the Minnesota Vikings, his agency, SportsTrust Advisors, announced on Monday night.

The former Alabama standout will sign a two-year, $22 million contract, NFL Network reported, with Minnesota after the NFL’s 2021 business year begins at 3 p.m. CDT Wednesday. Teams could begin negotiating with free agents at 11 a.m. Monday.

Tomlinson’s expiring contract is a four-year, $4.572 million deal signed after the Giants selected him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Tomlinson’s contract with the Vikings includes $16 million in guaranteed money and a $15 million signing bonus.

Finally, NFL Free Agency is just getting started, but Dalvin Tomlinson was rewarded for quietly being one of the better defensive tackles in the league the last few years with a nice, hefty payday. His $11M/year put him just 500k short of fellow former Tide teammate Jarran Reed ($11.5M/year) and well ahead of A’Shawn Robinson’s $6M/year.

Just think, that 2015 Alabama starting defensive line would be making a combined $28.5M in the pros... And that doesn’t even include Da’Ron Payne, who was a freshman that year and is still on his rookie contract with the Washington Football Team but will likely get a bigger payday than Reed or Tomlinson if he continues playing at his current level.

Roll Tide!