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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

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Alabama gears up for spring practice by, as usually, staying totally silent.

NCAA Football: Western Carolina at Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

We’re truly in the offseason now, and news is sparse. However, some Tide players are still catching on with pro teams as the free agency period trickles on:

JARRAN REED, DL

Old team: Kansas City Chiefs

New team: Green Bay Packers

While on a visit to Green Bay on Tuesday, Reed signed a 1-year deal with the Packers. This will be the third NFL team for Reed, a former second-round pick. He spent the 2021 season in Kansas City, where he started 17 regular-season starts and registered 20 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Reed started his career with the Seattle Seahawks from 2016-20.

Reed’s developed as a bit of a streaky interior pass-rush guy in the NFL. The Packers are always a strong team, and looking to pull in a veteran mercenary for pass rush help is a good move for both them and Reed, I think.

Punter JK Scott has also signed on with the Chargers, who are currently going all-in in free agency to take on the growing powder keg that is the AFC West.

In fact, Riley - the former Oklahoma coach - compared Lee to another former Alabama transfer who joined the Sooners under Riley.

“It reminds me of when we brought in Jalen Hurts to Oklahoma a few years ago” he explained. We had him for one year, but his impact you could feel it immediately.

“Shane’s had a similar impact in the first 100 days. Honored to have him in our program.”

While it was obvious from day one that Lee didn’t have the speed needed to hang with SEC offenses, we saw his smarts and tackling ability all year long when he was thrust into action as a true freshman starter. It was a no-win situation for him, and it’s great that Lee is getting another shot at a big program. I’ll be rooting for him.

And, hey, sounds like things are going well in LA:

“I mean, I’ve obviously said a lot about NIL from the beginning of it,” Kiffin said Tuesday, per On3. “Let’s make sure that we understand. I love that the players are getting paid, and I just say how it is. So, I guess I got called a clown before for saying how it is. NIL has a lot to do with where players go, and to not think that is crazy.”

Kiffin’s comment was a response to a question about a recent report that an unnamed five-star recruit signed an $8 million NIL deal to lock up his commitment.

“I mean, it’s (NIL) literally like being a head coach in the NFL, signing a great free-agency class of signing guys — going out and getting these great players — and coming up here and saying to you guys, ‘The contracts had nothing to do with why the players came here, and they just want to come play for me,’” Kiffin said Tuesday. “Obviously, it has a lot to do with where players go, and it should. They’re 17 or 18-year-old kids. Adults choose jobs, a lot of times, for money, for salary. So, why would a kid not?”

Oh I don’t think there’s any doubt the NIL stuff is changing the sport. And we really haven’t seen the impacts yet. This first recruiting class is a guinea pig. To be honest, I can’t even figure out what I think is the best thing for college football to do. All I know is that I want the NCAA video game back, no matter how it happens.

For some guys to watch in the upcoming 9 months of the recruiting cycle, the state of Alabama has a trio of top-50 defensive linemen in James Smith, Kelby Collins, and Peter Woods.

Alabama also appears in very good shape with Kelby Collins from Gardendale High School. Collins is another in-stater who grew up an Alabama fan. He visited Alabama in late January and will return for an unofficial visit on Wednesday.

“Just that it’s a good school,” Collins responded when asked what stands out with Alabama after his January visit. “I feel like all the coaches are genuine. They are pursuing me real hard. They treat me like a priority. The coaches have told me they are losing a couple of guys this year and next year. I could come in and possibly start as a freshman.”

Collins has not revealed when a decision will take place, but it will likely happen sometime before his senior season. Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Oklahoma are high on his list. He also has a lot of interest in Texas A&M.

Alabama is making a big push for a few other in-state defensive linemen including James Smith, Rivals100 defensive tackle from Carver High School in Montgomery and Tomarrion Parker, four-star defensive end from Central High School in Phenix City. The decision for both may come down between Alabama and Georgia.

Andrew Bone with Rivals has you covered here with some of Alabama’s main targets this cycle.

Though the Tide currently has a glut of defensive linemen on the roster, three are seniors, and I expect Saban to recruit the position heavily after keeping it fairly light in the 2022 class.

That’s all for today. Told you, news is scarce out there right now.

Roll Tide!