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Jumbo Package: Four-star in-state DB commits to Alabama

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Alabama - A-Day Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the July 4 weekend, and those who are headed home today get there safe. The big Alabama news was a commitment from in-state 4-star DB Antonio Kite. His high school coaches are quite impressed.

“He’ll be great,” Anniston head coach Rico White said. “Really and truly, it’s up to him how good he wants to be. But he’s very coachable, he’s intelligent and he’s humble. That’s a good combination.”

Kite was a first-team Class 4A All-State defensive back selection in 2020 when he intercepted six passes and made 46 tackles. The Bulldogs rebounded after five straight losses to open the season to make the playoffs. They upset Region 1 champion Williamson on the road in the first round before losing to Bibb County 29-28.

“I feel like he could play any five of the spots in the secondary at Alabama,” Ball said. “Free safety, that’s easy for him. But at the same time he can play corner. He’s trained to do both. With his work ethic I could see him contributing early at Alabama. He’s definitely an NFL caliber-type kid. You don’t say that about a lot of kids. But that kid is definitely a Sunday player.”

He is called a cornerback by 247sports, but it sounds like he may well end up on the back end. Either way, he sounds like a Saban kid. Kite says that he has no plans to pursue college basketball, but he is pretty good on the court too. In fact, he helped lead Anniston to a victory over JD Davison’s Calhoun team in the state playoffs, though JD dropped 37. Here are some highlights of that action for you.

USA Today ranked the top SEC QBs, and Bryce Young made third on the list behind Matt Corral and J.T. Daniels.

3. Bryce Young

Alabama, sophomore (126 points, 1 first-place vote)

Young will present problems for defenses despite minimal playing time so far. The former five-star recruit will likely make some of his biggest plays on the move as he replaces Mac Jones.

Nick Kelly

Speaking of QBs, Sport’s Illustrated’s head of recruiting coverage spoke about Ty Simpson.

“From a physical standpoint, Ty has pretty much everything you look for,” Garcia Jr. said. “He’s got a great frame. He’s a great athlete overall, dual-sport guy. I think he hit a walk-off home run in the state baseball playoffs. From a mental standpoint, he’s a coach’s son, a very deliberate guy, and you see a lot of that on the field whether it is taking care of the football – 20 touchdowns against four interceptions – or just how he carries himself as a leader.”

Garcia described Simpson as reserved and humble and said that may serve him well in college.

Very excited about that kid.

The Round Mound of Rebound weighed in on NIL.

That’s a solid point. Texas A&M RB Ainias Smith posted that he will give a portion of any NIL money he earns to his teammates. Guess we will see how things go.

In other NIL news, Reggie Bush wants his Heisman back. The Heisman trust has told him that he must be reinstated by the NCAA in order for that to be considered.

Jalen has impressed his left tackle in Philly.

“He’s got that confidence to him — the way he carries himself,” Johnson said during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio this week. “He carries himself like a veteran. And the things he can do on the field — you know, he can scramble outside the pocket. And when that happens, man, it makes it a little bit easier for the offensive line. Whenever you have a mobile quarterback back there, the pass-rushers approach the pass rush a little bit differently, so instead of maybe running the hoop, they’re taught not to break contain because if they do, he can scramble for 10 or 15, get a quick first down. But really, you know, he’s taken command in OTAs.”

Last, there has been some serious behind the scenes drama going on for the past year at ESPN, involving Maria Taylor and Rachel Nichols. Check out this quote from Nichols.

A preshow call with Taylor and the other commentators — Jalen Rose, Adrian Wojnarowski and Jay Williams — as well as “NBA Countdown” staff members had turned acrimonious, and Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN’s president, had several phone conversations while at a family event to try to help smooth things over.

Some of those involved saw the initial maneuvering as a sign of the network favoring Nichols despite a backdrop of criticism from employees who complained that the sports network has long mishandled problems with racism. It had declined to discipline Nichols despite fury throughout the company over her remark, which she made during a phone conversation nearly a year ago after learning that she would not host coverage during the 2020 N.B.A. finals, as she had been expecting.

“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said in July 2020. “If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”

Nichols had ESPN video equipment in the room with her because, like so many people, she was working virtually. Unfortunately she failed to turn it off properly, so the entire conversation went to a server in Bristol. An employee there recorded it and showed it to Maria among others and it made its rounds. That employee, who happens to be Black, was suspended but Nichols was not. Maria has refused to work with Nichols since the incident and now is apparently leaving the network altogether as her contract negotiations have stalled.

What a mess.

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

Roll Tide.