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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Alabama loses 5-star running back to the Transfer Portal

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl Classic-Cincinnati at Alabama Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama running back Camar Wheaton has entered the transfer portal. The news comes exactly one week after the story broke that the freshman ball-carrier was no longer included in the school’s student directory and had not been with the team.

In other words, Wheaton entering the portal today shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Despite a slew of season-ending injuries in 2021, there’s obviously been a logjam at running back this offseason. Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams are both expected back. Plus, Trey Sanders will be another year removed from a severe car accident in 2020.

247 found out last week that Camar Wheaton was no longer enrolled at Alabama, but now it’s official that the former 5-star running back is in the transfer portal. Alabama returns a logjam of running backs along with the transfer portal addition of Jahmyr Gibbs and two highly talented freshmen, so Wheaton likely saw the writing on the wall.

Still, leaving after only one season isn’t typically a recipe for success.

At 6-foot-3 7/8 and 313 pounds – his Senior Bowl measurements on Monday — Mathis may be the next generation, but he’s also an apple that didn’t fall far from the Alabama family tree.

“A great technician, like all those Bama guys are,” Nagy said. “Kind of falls in line with that group. He’s big, he’s long, he’s got prototype size and, like I said, he’s got up-the-field explosion. …

“Really the thing that sticks out with a lot of these Alabama defensive linemen is the leadership and the juice they play with. I’ve posted some stuff on Twitter about Phil. I saw him play twice this year, and to see what this guy’s mind is like during pregame and how he’s bouncing around and getting his teammates feeding off of him, he will move up in the draft. That will mean something on draft day aside from his talent if he can affect other people on that D-line. That’s a certain position that if you can get a guy that other people feed off of, there’s a value in that, so that’s going to help Phil come April there’s no doubt.

“I don’t know what Phil does in the locker room before he comes out, but he gets himself ready to play.”

With the Senior Bowl coming up just around the corner, Phil Mathis is getting a lot of praise from Jim Nagy. While most of the superstars of college football tend to leave after their junior season, many NFL coaches pay very close attention to Senior Bowl week as they look for top-notch guys with proven leadership abilities to grab in the second and third rounds.

As an interior guy who can be disruptive, Mathis has a very good shot of getting drafted higher than most media members expect.

“We don’t have the same funding and resources as some of these schools do for these NIL deals, so it’s like dealing with different salary caps,” he explained.

“We now have a sport with completely different salary caps and some of these schools are five or 10 times more than everyone else than what they can pay the players.

“I know no one uses those phrases. It is what it is. I joked the other day I didn’t know if Texas A&M was going to incur a luxury tax and how much they paid for their signing class.”

In my opinion, here’s the crux of the issue:

What’s fair for the players is not generally going to lead to fair competition between teams.

In the NFL, players are routinely cut from teams or not given contracts that reflect how well they’ve paid due to the teams having to abide by a salary cap.

Now that we’ve opened this Pandora’s box in college, we have the same thing. In a fair world, the best of the best players get paid more money for what they do... And schools like Alabama and A&M can afford to pay it. But if you limit the amount that schools can pay to make the competition more fair, you have athletes maybe not getting paid as much as they could be.

I don’t have a good answer. Good luck figuring this one out, NCAA. In the meantime, Alabama will keep taking all of your five stars and transfers.

In NBA news, check out Herbert Jones!

Herb has made some tremendous strides in his outside shooting ability since leaving Alabama, and is quickly becoming a rookie that a lot of folks are talking about and making some national waves.

I stuck my hand into the mystery box that is Auburn football in a column back near the end of December, and since that time both the defensive and offensive coordinators have left the building in addition to the defensive line coach and a slew of players. What’s not a mystery is that the defense is going to have to carry this Auburn team next season, so hopefully new defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding sticks around for spring practice.

Less than a week after Mason left for Oklahoma State, Auburn’s new offensive coordinator decided he didn’t want to coach anymore. Two days before National Signing Day. Who does that? Davis, who left the Seattle Seahawks for Auburn, said he wanted to spend more time with his family.

“At the end of the day, there is no Plan B,” Harsin said after the season. “There is only Plan A, and we have to make it work.”

Who’s we? Everyone left.

Joseph Goodman can be an annoying troll of a writer, but it’s a whole lot more fun when he turns his flaming words on Auburn.

The Tigers are in a weird spot. New coach Brian Harsin did fairly well in year 1 (maybe even overachieved expectations), but it seems like everyone is jumping ship left and right— coaches and players.

And to compound it, the top recruit in their recruiting class is a guy that was once an Alabama commit that was forced out as the Tide reeled in more top talent.

And so, Harsin will be relying on a bevy of transfers from Oregon and A&M’s QB, Zach Calzada, to keep the program afloat in 2022.

It’ll be fascinating to watch what happens.