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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Softball, Recruiting, Portal shopping... Doesn’t matter. Alabama is the best at all of them

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl-Notre Dame vs Alabama Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The SEC on Tuesday named Alabama utility player Bailey Hemphill as its 2021 softball player of the year.

Hemphill, a graduate student from Louisiana, becomes the second winner of the conference player of the year in program history. Charlotte Morgan won the award in 2009 and 2010.

The SEC also named junior Montana Fouts as its co-pitcher of the year alongside Arkansas’ Mary Haff. Fouts is Alabama’s seventh-ever SEC pitcher of the year and second since 2019.

Hemphill was part of the all-SEC first team as a catcher alongside Fouts as a pitcher, as well as Elissa Brown and Alexis Mack as outfielders. Infielder Kaylee Tow was named all-SEC second team and KB Sides was the right-field pick for the all-SEC defensive team. Lexi Kilfoyl and Savannah Woodard made the all-SEC newcomer team.

Alabama was very well represented on the All-SEC softball team, with Hemphill and Fouts being named the to the top of the conference at their positions.

A former Alabama assistant coach has landed one of the Crimson Tide’s recent transfers.

Cornerback Ronald Williams, who entered the NCAA transfer portal in late April, will transfer to Michigan State, he announced Tuesday.

It’s a noteworthy pickup for the Spartans and head coach Mel Tucker, who was Alabama’s defensive backs coach in 2015.

As usual, Matt Zenitz is the Transfer Portal Whisperer.

Ronald Williams was a JUCO recruit in last year’s class that many expect to come in and compete for the starting job across from Patrick Surtain at cornerback. Unfortunately, a broken arm over the summer derailed his chances, and he’s since been buried on the depth chart by guys like Jalyn Armour-Davis and Ga’Quincy McKinstry. As a 4th year player, it makes sense for him to transfer out for a final shot at getting playing time.

It’s a win-win, as the move to Michigan State gives him a chance to show out for the NFL scouts, and it also means that Alabama’s younger depth is on track to be solid SEC players going forward.

The New Orleans quarterback - and nephew to Peyton and Eli - has visits scheduled with Clemson, SMU, Texas, Georgia and Alabama, according to a report by 247Sports.

The rising junior, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds - is 247Sports Composite and Top247′s No. 1 rated passer for the 2023 class.

According to the report, Manning will camp at Clemson June 8-9, then will spend time at SMU and Texas the following week. Week 3 of June will be in Tuscaloosa at Alabama before heading to Athens in the final week of the month.

Man, imagine being Cooper Manning. Your dad and both of your brothers were legends at the QB position at every level of football, while you were just a receiver whose career was cut short due to a spinal issue. Then your son comes along and is already considered the top high school QB in the nation.

In any case, it seems the 3rd-generation Manning is casting his nets wide this early on. I imagine it will be at least a year, and likely longer, before he ever commits to a school, but it’s good to go ahead and prepare yourself for the recruitment hype now.

The Crimson Tide made 2022 four-star wide receiver Kojo Antwi’s top five earlier this spring. . Joining Alabama among the Suwanee (Ga.) Lambert product’s list includes Georgia, Ohio State, Texas A&M, and USC, in no particular order. Along with the trimming of his list, Antwi also set a July 5 decision date.

Alabama offered the Peach State standout back in the fall.

“I was in shock honestly because Bama is one of the best college football programs in the country and hearing it from Coach (Nick) Saban made it even more exciting,” Antwi said at the time.

Alabama’s got a pretty nice history of pulling players out of Georgia and also currently has the strongest recruiting pitch for wide receivers a program could possibly have (four first round NFL Draft picks in two years), so Antwi is definitely a name to watch this year.

Williams was heavily pursued by Alabama during his high school recruitment. He ultimately chose the Buckeyes, but there were family members who preferred him signing with Alabama. He took four visits to Alabama during his recruitment. He is very familiar with the campus and looks forward to learning from first year offensive coordinator, Bill O’Brien.

“It was real close,” he said of his decision between Alabama and Ohio State. “My dad and I had full blown out arguments about it. I was thinking different than him and went to Ohio State instead of Alabama.

There’s a lot more to the interview with Jameson Williams here, but I’m quoting only this specific tidbit, as it really stuck out to me. Between Williams and Henry To’oTo’o, Alabama has picked up two high profile transfers that had initially chosen against the Tide in their high school recruitment, only to realize a little later that they probably should have rolled with the Tide.

Finally, former Hawaii QB Colt Brennan died yesterday. The Rainbow Warrior had put up passing numbers that even video game QBs could only dream of in an era of football before staggering passing volume was the norm. There’s plenty of articles out there talking about Brennan, but here’s a highlight video of Alabama’s 2006 season opener against Hawaii, where he dropped 350 yards on the Tide and nearly pulled off the upset to start off his legendary 5600-yard season.