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Jumbo Package: Jermaine Burton responds to criticism over decision to transfer

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Georgia vs Alabama Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. The basketball team is in Athens tonight for another game in which they are heavily favored, which as you well know has been a problem. We’ll be along later with full coverage later, but this is one that they simply must have in the win column with a brutal slate to follow.

Jermaine Burton is catching some flak for transferring to Alabama, but he will hear none of it.

Like Williams and Ohio State, there’s more of a crowd at Georgia in the pass distribution formula. Burton had the most receiving yards (497 on 26 catches) among wideouts but was behind national freshman of the year, tight end Brock Bowers’ 56 for 882 yards. Two freshmen receivers — Ladd McConkey and Adonai Mitchell — had more receptions at 29 and 27 respectively.

Alabama doesn’t have a wideout returning who had more than Traeshon Holden’s 21 receptions. And that’s in an offense that attempted 164 more passes than Georgia.

It’s a new world of college football. Fans of NFL teams are accustomed to jeering a player one year then cheering him when their favorite team signs him the next. Hopefully less jeering is done at the college level in general, but players moving between conference foes is now commonplace. Fellow transfer ElI Ricks weighed in with his support for Burton.

Speaking of Ricks, he made Tom Fornelli’s list of the top 20 draft eligible players for next season, as did Jahmyr Gibbs.

12. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama: Gibbs is the fourth Alabama player on this list, and he’s the second who didn’t play for the Crimson Tide last season! Gibbs was one of the big early recruiting wins for Geoff Collins at Georgia Tech, but he’s decided that moving to Alabama to replace Brian Robinson is the smart thing to do. I don’t blame him. Gibbs will provide Alabama with yet another useful weapon on offense for at least one more season, and he’s poised to explode into national relevance next year.

Of course, Bryce Young and Will Anderson are both on the list as well. If Ricks and Gibbs both play at a first round level next season, this team is going to be tough to handle.

The rat poison is flowing early and often.

Final record prediction: 12-0, 8-0

Wins: Utah State, at Texas, Louisiana-Monroe, Vanderbilt, at Arkansas, Texas A&M, at Tennessee, Mississippi State, at LSU, at Ole Miss, Austin Peay, Auburn

Losses: None

Alabama should be at least a touchdown favorite in every game next fall and faces a schedule without too many dangerous areas for the defending SEC champs. If the Crimson Tide stay healthy and the Bryce Young-Will Anderson once again obliterates the competition, Nick Saban’s team should be able to write their ticket to the playoff no matter what happens in Atlanta.

Nick Saban will begin his offseason with the projected No. 1 and No. 2 2023 NFL Draft prospects commanding his offense and defense. Having quarterback Bryce Young and linebacker Will Anderson Jr. back is enormous. Anderson might be one of the best defensive players the sport has seen in the past decade. Some top players, including linebacker Henry To’oTo’o and safety Jordan Battle, chose to stay, and with some new arrivals such as cornerback Eli Ricks and running back Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama is poised to be improved come fall.

My only concern? Who will catch passes. The losses of John Metchie and Jameson Williams to the NFL are huge holes to fill, and the development of young wideouts will be something to watch over the coming months. Still, this team is loaded. In my eyes, Alabama is a clear-cut choice for No. 1 and a deserving favorite.

Nick Saban may not like it, but after adding those three transfers to an already loaded roster, Alabama is going to be the odds on favorite to win it all before the season.

Last, new DB coach Travaris Robinson is going to have plenty to work with.

Alabama’s defensive backs room is setting up to be a talented one, as the Crimson Tide will likely have a former five star at both corner spots in Kool-Aid McKinstry and Eli Ricks. The secondary will also return Jordan Battle, DeMarcco Hellams, Malachi Moore, and Brian Branch. Robinson will be inheriting a strong, experienced group in his first season with Alabama.

If Ricks and McKinstry both play to their potential, this has a chance to be Alabama’s best secondary since the heralded 2016 squad. Let it be written.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.