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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Alabama lands four on preseason All-America list, and looks to secure commitment of top in-state recruit

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

We’ll start with a little hoops news (non-news?):

The Alabama basketball makeover continues in this offseason following a breakout season.

Leading scorer Jaden Shackelford withdrew from the NBA draft but will remain in the transfer portal, CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported Tuesday.

Should he remain in the portal and land elsewhere, Alabama would be without four of its top five scorers from the 2021 SEC championship team that played in the Sweet 16 this March. Only Jahvon Quinerly would remain from that top five with John Petty and Herbert Jones graduating and Josh Primo exiting to the NBA after his freshman season.

Shackelford’s case continues to be a bit of a curious one. I don’t completely understand his reasoning for wanting to transfer. If he wanted to showcase for the NBA to try and get invited to the combine next year, you’d think a fast-paced offensive scheme where he’s all but guaranteed starter minutes would be the best place to be.

In any case, it looks like Alabama will be returning Javhon Quinnerly and Keon Ellis as guards, with help coming from Texas Tech transfer Nimari Burnett and superstar freshman JD Davison.

Alabama landed four total players on the 2021 Sporting News Preseason All-American team, the outlet announced on Tuesday. The four selections were tied with Ohio State for the most players spread across the first and second teams, while Clemson, Georgia, Iowa State LSU, Notre Dame and Oklahoma were right behind them with three players apiece.

Junior offensive tackle Evan Neal and sophomore outside linebacker Will Anderson were the two first-team honorees. The second-teamers were cornerback Josh Jobe and placekicker Will Reichard. Once again, the SEC led all conferences with 14 players featured on the list.

Preseason awards list season is starting up, and Alabama is, as usual, at the top the nation. And honestly, only two first-teamers is a lot less than where the Tide ended 2020, which shows just how wide open things are for new stars to emerge for Alabama.

I don’t really have any arguments for any Tide players left out that, with their currently history of production, should be on the list. If anything, I’m just pumped someone in the media actually recognized one of my favorite players from last season, Josh Jobe. The dude was a phenomenal corner all season long and got ZERO love from national, or really even local, media.

2020 season: Didn’t miss a kick as a sophomore, going 14 of 14 on field goal attempts and 84 of 84 on extra points. Long make of 52 yards against Georgia also signaled longest of UA career. Groza Award finalist also contributed on kickoffs, posting 14 touchbacks, with six of those coming in College Football Playoff National Championship Game win over Ohio State. Special teams player of the week honors from UA coaching staff following wins over Texas A&M, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi State and LSU.

What he brings to the table: Concerns about the hip injury Reichard sustained in 2019 subsided with each kick in 2020. Reichard didn’t just go without a miss last season; virtually all of his makes were perfectly struck. While his services might not be required in other areas of the kicking game — the hope is that newcomers Jack Martin and/or James Burnip can contribute quickly — Reichard, a recipient of the Sylvester Croom Commitment to Excellence Award at the close of 2021 spring drills, can handle punting and kickoff duties if needed.

I obviously don’t expect Reichard to go another season without missing a field goal, especially since I imagine he’s going to get a few more attempts this season as the Tide breaks in an entirely new offense. But, man, it sure is nice not rolling into the season worrying about the placekicker.

Here’s a piece from Joe Goodman at that, while it doesn’t offer some groundbreaking conclusion at the end, included this little jab at Dabo Swinney and Dan Mullen, and I thoroughly enjoyed that:

A year ago — no, maybe a week ago — a booster of a school saying he was paying players would have gotten him been banned from the university like some kind of evil pariah. Now the boosters are being celebrated, and you know coaches of rival schools are lining up their fat-cat boosters to play ball. What’s really funny is that Miami competes against Clemson in the ACC, and we all know that Clemson coach Dabo Sweeney said he was going to quit coaching college football if he had to pay players.

Now Dabo is about to go out and find every person in South Carolina willing to pony up $10 so he can try and keep pace with the Canes. Florida State will not be far along, and of course that means Florida coach Dan Mullen is behind the scenes cooking up some massive deal for his Gators.

And if he’s not, then he better be. Time to quit posting surfing videos behind your boat, Dan, because that nonsense doesn’t matter anymore.

Next up, here’s some recruiting rumors for you:

Though many were hopeful that the Clemson football coaching staff could pull the top player from the state of Alabama, it’s not looking likely just days ahead of his commitment date.

5-star DE Jeremiah Alexander listed Clemson as his favorite just a few weeks back when he made the trip to Tiger Town and things seemed to be trending in the right direction. However, over the course of the last few days, it has come to light through several reports that it’s not looking likely that he’ll be selecting the Tigers on his commitment date.

Alexander, the No. 1 player from the state of Alabama and the No. 1 overall DE in the nation according to the 247 Sports’ composite player rankings, is set to announce a commitment on Thursday.

Alexander is reportedly deciding between Clemson, Alabama and Georgia. He was previously a Crimson Tide commit and all information coming out as we head closer to the decision is that he’ll likely announce a recommitment to Alabama.

Alexander was once an Alabama commit, but has been back on the market for about a year now. Many were thinking he was likely going to Clemson, but now a Clemmy blog site is saying that they’ve heard he’s leaning back towards staying in state.

It would be huge to be able to keep Alexander home. We should know tomorrow what he decides.

Finally, Mac Jones got himself PAID:

New England has agreed to terms with Alabama product Mac Jones, according to Tuesday’s transaction wire.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that Jones, the 15th overall pick in April’s draft, will earn roughly $15.6 million fully guaranteed over four years, with a signing bonus of about $8.7 million.

Man, if I had posted that sentence two years ago as a prediction, I would have gotten laughed off of the internet. From skinny benchwarmer to a $15M player, Mac Jones has had a transcendent year. Now he’s just got to unseat Cam Newton to become a starting NFL QB for the best Franchise of the last two decades.

Roll Tide!