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Jumbo Package: DeVonta Smith wins ESPY for Male College Athlete of the Year

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

2021 ESPY Awards - Show Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Happy Monday, everyone. Over the weekend DeVonta Smith won Alabama football’s second ESPY award and first since 2006.

Congrats to him. The other was won by Tyrone Prothro for this catch that will never be forgotten by anyone who saw it.

That Tyrone never got his shot at the NFL is heartbreaking. He is the poster child for the importance of NIL.

Credit Whole Hog Sports for providing a heaping helping of Gump for breakfast to start your week.

The NLS virus is one of the reasons there is so much turnover in the SEC.

NLS is officially known as Nick Lou Saban, although there doesn’t appear to be anyone in the world brave enough to call the Alabama coach Lou.

NLS may not have had much to do with coaching changes at Vanderbilt or South Carolina, but his fingerprints were all over the firings at Auburn and Tennessee.

Now comes four new horsemen who have the chance not to be known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death.

That whole article is spectacular.

Nick Kelly at Tuscaloosa News spoke to a couple of new OL coach Doug Marrone’s former NFL pupils.

Both Goodwin and Stinchcomb raved about Marrone’s attention to detail in teaching technique. Stinchcomb said Marrone helped coordinate his hips and his hands. For Goodwin, Marrone fixed his hand placement and where the center punched on the defender.

For a while, Goodwin fired his hands outside on pass rushers. Marrone then had him work punch drill after punch drill until it got better. One example of a drill Marrone liked to use: Players hold a 45-pound plate and work on kick slides in pass sets while shoving the plate in the air.

Goodwin’s hand placement became so good that by the time he played for San Francisco, the coaches there used him as an example for younger guys on punch and hand placement.

“All that came back from Doug being on me early in my career,” Goodwin said.

We don’t know how well he will recruit, but Alabama’s current offensive line will have a wealth of knowledge at their disposal.

BamaOnline’s Kirk McNair picks Alabama to win the SEC along with some other stuff

SEC Game of the Year? I could see it being Alabama vs. Texas A&M since I’m picking the winner of that game to win the SEC West. I could also see one of two more Aggies games getting the call, A&M vs. LSU or Ole Miss.

Non-conference Game of the Year has to go to Georgia vs. Clemson in Charlotte on September 4, although there are some others of interest including Alabama vs. Miami on September 4 in Atlanta, and LSU vs. LSU in the Rose Bowl the same opening weekend. The second weekend, September 11, has Texas at Arkansas, and the third weekend, September 18, Auburn at Penn State and Stanford at Vanderbilt.

For all of us, we can’t wait for the games to begin. SEC Media Days makes it seem closer.

Pro Football Network has four Alabama players in an early mock first round draft, and somewhat surprisingly someone other than Evan Neal is projected to be the first Tide player taken.

7. New York Giants: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

The Giants are probably pretty happy with the production they’ve gotten from Blake Martinez, but the rest of their linebacking corps could use an upgrade. Christian Harris stepped onto the field as a freshman in 2019 and immediately made an impact. That’s something that not many can say about Alabama defenders, given the unbelievable talent they cycle through.

Harris is an impressive athlete with the size of a modern linebacker. He’s great in coverage when he can play in front of him but needs to sharpen his awareness covering route combinations behind him. He’s a mentally strong player against the run, which is usually a struggle for young linebackers. A move to the MIKE role, should that happen, will be interesting to see.

Blake Sims lit it up in the Indoor Football League on Saturday, and then gave a fantastic interview.

Find a more likeable person on the planet. I dare you.

Calvin Ridley has established himself as one of the premier vertical threats in the NFL.

He may be set to have a monster year with Kyle Pitts drawing attention up the seams and no Julio Jones to dominate the outside targets.

Last, Alabama’s most famous cheerleader had a big birthday.

Happy Birthday, Sela.

That’s about it for today. Have a great week.

Roll Tide.