Happy Monday, everyone. The Tide had a successful spring game on Saturday in front of about 47k fans, the largest US sports crowd since last spring. Many players were missing, some reportedly due to contract tracing, but the game was entertaining.
At this point, there seems to be no QB debate whatsoever. Bryce Young was by far the best of the bunch despite rules that tend to hold back running QBs. He wasn’t the only standout though, in a game where absences allowed the youngsters to shine more than usual.
Young wasn’t the only underclassman to stand out during the spring game, which saw a number of veterans sidelined by injuries, including starting wide receiver John Metchie, defensive back Malachi Moore and offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor.
Freshman early enrollee Agiye Hall — a four-star prospect and the No. 3-rated wide receiver in the 2021 class, according to ESPN — caught four passes for 72 yards.
“He’s someone we think has a lot of potential,” Saban said of Hall. “He makes a lot of contested catches. He’s got great size, and he’s really got some explosive speed.”
Sophomore Jah-Marien Latham was named most valuable lineman. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound defensive tackle finished the scrimmage with one sack, two quarterback hurries and four tackles.
During the 2021 recruiting cycle, Alabama signed four of the 10 top wide receivers in the nation according to the 247 Composite rankings, including three who are already on campus for the Crimson Tide. That includes Hall, who has gotten off to the fastest start among that freshman receiver group. The 6-foot-3 Florida product stood out at times throughout the spring and was then one of the stars of the Tide’s spring game while working with the second-team offense. He finished with four catches, 72 yards and a couple highlight reel worthy grabs.
An early narrative around the 2021 Crimson Tide football team has been the potential of it being a defensive team. That didn’t really reveal itself Saturday, due in part to the absence of one of the players largely responsible for shaping that storyline: Will Anderson. But another young defensive edge player made his presence felt, as Chris Braswell harassed the Crimson quarterbacks all afternoon. He concluded his afternoon with three sacks, including a strip sack of Young that went for a scoop-and-score by Jaylen Moody.
Braswell’s emergence would give the Crimson Tide depth at the position, which could become a strength for the team. Reports had already leaked that Anderson and Christopher Allen were wrecking the offense by being a consistent annoyance with their pass-rush ability. Braswell coming on the scene would embolden the opinion that Alabama will boast an effective pass rush.
All of the guys mentioned above stood out, as did TE Cameron Latu, LB Deontae Lawson and CB Ga’Quincy “Kool-Aid” McKinstry. Hall and Kool Aid both look like superstars in the making, and will undoubtedly have some epic practice battles in their probable three years apiece in Tuscaloosa. Latu looked mighty explosive on his long TD play, too.
Kool Aid did manage to tote one of Saban’s patented ass chewings.
"Kool Aid! Don't walk on the got damn field!" -Nick Saban pic.twitter.com/duifipNkTq— (@RespectDaBeard1) April 17, 2021
He will learn, though he has a certain brashness about him that will likely test Saban’s patience at times.
In the end, it was a good scrimmage. We knew going in that the starting OL was going to be depleted, but the defense was missing enough important guys that it didn’t dominate the way it might have. We will learn much more in the fall.
PFF’s latest mock has the 49ers going with Justin Fields at 3, and Mac Jones falling to the Broncos at 9.
There are plenty of rumors that the Broncos may be looking to trade up for a quarterback, but in this iteration, they can stand pat and take another shot at the position with Jones, who posted a gaudy 95.8 PFF grade last season.
Jones has become a polarizing quarterback evaluation, as he doesn’t have a cannon for an arm, and he’s the least mobile of the first-round hopefuls, but he executes the offense at a high level with decision-making and accuracy. Jones has the second-lowest rate of negatively graded throws compared to recent NFL prospects, a key number in his projection and one that should bode well in a Denver offense that has loaded up with offensive playmakers.
Mac joins DeVonta Smith and Patrick Surtain II in the top ten of that mock, which also includes Christian Barmore and Jaylen Waddle in the first.
Alabama won yet another national title.
Last, for a little comedy for you today, Auburn lost the equestrian national championship to Baylor and apparently complained about the judges (LOL). Anyhow, it has come to my attention that there are people who talk trash about equestrian.
If you knew anything about the sport & championship, they ride neutral horses at Nationals. The judges are nationally recognized, decided upon by the NCEA. This arena is not Baylor's, it's just in Waco. Check your facts before being a sore loser, AU was just outridden today.— Meg O'Mara (@Megomara) April 15, 2021
Neutral horses they ride, she says. Check your facts, Barner.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.