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Jumbo Package: Defensive line recruiting is heating up faster than the weather

Bama’s success is built on the interior, so it’s no wonder Alabama is targeting plenty of defensive linemen

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Georgia vs Alabama
Replacing big Phil is going to be a challenge
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s start with something so silly, that it actually is aggravating — THE Ohio State University waging a decade-long IP war before the US Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the definite article, “the” — which, for reasons known only to the ether (or perhaps graft), was somehow granted.

Rich Eisen, a UM alum and now the linchpin of NBC’s digital coverage has some thoughts. LOL.

Ignore prior art, the lack of any transformative use, or the fact that permitting a trademark for “the” doesn’t diminish confusion among brands, it fosters it, this is just absolutely asinine, pompous, and weakens IP law for further subsequent attempts by other actors.

And it’s 100% on-brand for the clownfrauds in the Big 10.

Speaking of Buckeyes, Alabama really needs to make a run at Brian Hartline, OSU’s WRC — I dunno’, make him an OC or Assoc. Head Coach and pay him a million bucks. But the dude is cooking. He has now picked up two of the two three WRs in the 2023 class (both 5-stars), and the No. 6 WR as well.

Fortunately, it’s a position that never lacks for quality and quality depth, but when you’ve nailed down 50% of the Top 6 pass catchers, that has a trickle down on other offensive recruiting. And it’s not like OSU particularly needs the help, as they are No. 2 over the last decade in composite recruiting, behind only Alabama.

That is going to be our segue into today’s focus — recruiting.

While we’re on the subject of recruiting, as Brent wrote in yesterday’s Gump Day, the 2023 class figures to be a small one: for the first time in elebenty years, Alabama did not hemorrhage underclassmen to the NFL and seniors to State Farm. So, who are the Tide’s remaining targets for a thin class?

BOL takes a stab at it, looking at five players.

DL Peter Woods is one of the guys I’ve got my eye on. He’s a ‘Bama lean, but Clemson is trying their damnedest to lock down the nation’s best DL class, and is having some success too. It’s going to be a tight race until December to see whether Alabama’s ties and strong relationship win out with Woods...or if Dabo’s piggybank and guaranteed starts sway him

Peter Woods, 5-star DL, Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson

Woods will make a decision on July 8 and while he has a top four, it’s thought to be down to Alabama vs. Clemson for the talented defensive lineman. Woods has been to Tuscaloosa dozens of times throughout his recruitment. He was at Clemson earlier this month for an official visit. While many have projected the Tide over the years, the Tigers have kept things close here down the stretch. Relationships, proximity, among many other aspects will keep UA in strong contention.

247Sports scouting report:

“Possesses adequate size at 6-foot-3 and 259-pounds. Tweener frame, position projection will be dictated by growth potential. Displays good athletic ability across multiple positions on the defensive line. Shows the ability to play in a two-point stance in an edge role and with his hand on the ground in multiple defensive fronts.

Quick twitch explosive athlete with an excellent first step off the line of scrimmage. Displays a natural ability to bend the edge and shows the ability to go speed to power. Exhibits good play strength at point of attack and shows the ability anchor as a run defender. Possesses excellent run and chase ability with the ability to close space quickly.

Explosive player that can be used in multiple defensive alignments and has some situational pass rushing ability off the edge. More than likely projects to playing with his hand in the ground at the next level. Possesses an excellent motor with the combination of good physical traits. Will need a year to develop at the next level, but has the ability to develop into a high impact starter at the collegiate level.”

Speaking of interesting recruits, Saban’s camp hosted a fast-rising Junior lineman from Frankfurt, Germany. He’s relocating to the States to play HS ball, before obviously fast-tracking to the NIL gravy train and then pro riches, but everything about this kid sounds really intriguing:

Beigel, a native of Frankfurt, Germany, is a rising junior in high school. He’s moving to Wallingford, CT., for his final two years of high school to attend Choate Rosemary Hall to prepare for college and continue to make waves on the recruiting front.

He stands 6-foot-5 and is listed at 282 pounds and plays both offensive and defensive line as he continues to familiarize himself with American football.

Beigel came to Tuscaloosa as a part of the PPI Recruits Dreamchasers College Tour. Founded by Brandon Collier in 2017, PPI Recruits specializes in helping European high schoolers trying to earn college football scholarships.

“He’s a former soccer player, very light on his feet,” PPI founder Brandon Collier told Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports. “He’s running in the low 4.9s in his 40. A big, broad athletic kid, with a lot of room to grow. I think over the next two years, I wouldn’t be surprised if his body takes him to offensive tackle or d-tackle. He’s being recruited by both positions. His feet, he has great feet and his athletic ability for his size is hard to find at the high school level.”

Last nugget of Crootin’ news, and it concerns a long-time target that the Tide have been panting over for two years: the nation’s No. 2 TE, Riley Williams. Williams has finally chosen a date to commit: July 1.

He’s visited each in the last three weeks, stopping by Tuscaloosa on June 3. Williams’ primary Alabama recruiters are listed as Holmon Wiggins and tight ends coach Joe Cox. Few out-of-region programs have looked to the Northwest for football recruits. (In the last five years, no SEC schools have landed a player from Oregon.) But Williams appears to be an outlier.

247Sports Composite ranks Williams as the country’s 66th-rated recruit and No. 2 tight end. His 6-foot-6, 230-pound frame helped him dominate with the Rams. As a junior, Williams caught 36 passes, totaling 889 yards and 14 touchdowns as Central Catholic went a perfect 14-0. He projects as a durable end-line blocker with improving athleticism.

A dominant tight end would really help this offense, in particular affording options in the seams. It’s been a crucial absence since the departure of Irv Smith, the Tide’s last elite pass-catching TE. God knows, they got looks last season, but between Latu’s hands and Billboard’s apathy, it was a weak link.

Have you ever seen stranger bedfellows than this?

The P12 and the SEC are both now on public record stating that the NCAA should not have oversight over major division college football. Whether it will encompass all FBS teams remains in doubt, and whether the CFP structure is part of the path going forward is still an open question, but getting the West Coast on board essentially means this is going to be a done deal sooner rather than later.

Kliavkoff’s comments arrive at a time when major college football is dealing with highly public and unprecedented issues – most noticeably in the form of Name, Image & Likeness monetization opportunities for student-athletes and the NCAA’s still-evolving Transfer Portal.

He says he has found strong support among college athletics’ power-brokers.

“I’ve had conversations with several of the FBS commissioners, and I’ve been surprised by the unanimous support for the idea among the folks that I’ve spoken to about taking football rule-making and rule enforcement out of the NCAA and investing it in an organization that is run by the 10 (Football Bowls Subdivision) conferences.”

And it’s hard to fault anyone for wanting to break free of the NCAA in this respect either. Emmert’s tenure has been a disaster for college athletics, and in particular he was far too slow to respond to the legal and regulatory landscape that has had admins putting out fires for a decade. In fact, his dilatory, duplicitous leadership is a large part of why the legal and regulatory frameworks are now wreaking havoc.


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(Naughty words ahead, but deserved)