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Jumbo Package: It’s almost Recruiting Season, and Alabama is right in the thick of things

Alabama’s getting a lot of attention for improved play at just the right time for National Signing Day coming around soon

NCAA Football: Alabama at Kentucky Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

“A lot of teams go the other way when something like that happens. This one didn’t,” Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN on Wednesday. “They stayed together, did the things we needed to do to get better, and we can still get better. That’s what you love seeing in a team, that when you go through some hard times and you’re not playing very well, that’s when you take a step back and ask yourselves, ‘How do we fix this?’ This team has done that at every turn this season.”

As much as anything, Saban said he has enjoyed seeing this team have fun.

“And that’s why it’s made it such a fun team to coach. It’s nice to come into the locker room after a win and see smiles on kids’ faces and not just relief,” Saban said.

That last line from Saban there hits hard. As fans, we’ve had a lot of seasons feel like that, so it’s interesting to hear that the players have the same feelings. The last two seasons especially, it felt like the entire team was just so tight with trying to live up that they wound up just seeming flat.

Milroe said not to be fooled because Saban “still has that same edge to him.” But what has made it work for everyone, Milroe said, is that this is a player-led team.

“We don’t accept mediocrity and hold each other accountable, so the hope is that Coach Saban has to yell less,” Milroe said. “But he’s still going to yell.”

This final quote from Milroe here ought to be music to Alabama fans’ ears. As always, talk in press conferences is just talk, but with the way Alabama has been improving over the past 10 quarters of football, I’m getting close to inclined to start believing.

Here’s the whole press conference, if you’re interested.

If you’re looking for a game, a quarter, a sequence in the 2023 college football season in an effort to pinpoint when the rest of college football suddenly went Uh-oh” about the Alabama Crimson Tide, it happened Saturday morning.

Granted, the last two wins against Tennessee and LSU were both impressive, but this was different. Before high noon struck, the home crowd at Kentucky was already at an emotional low as Alabama was clearly playing at a different level. In the process, Nick Saban’s team took another step in its evolution this season, and showed exactly just how far it’s already come this fall,

The story of the 2023 team was never going to be one of superstars, or of a team that rode the coattails of its predecessors. With nearly all of the key people involved new, both among players an coordinators, Alabama had to find its way and develop over the long haul.

Man, has it ever. Granted, the aim all along was the same as usual, for the Crimson Tide to be playing its best football following the bye week, in November. Not only is this team doing exactly that, but everyone can see that the upward trajectory can continue for a while. That’s the mark of a team that has to be taken seriously as a strong contender.

How many ways can Alabama beat you? A lot, and the Crimson Tide is only adding to the list.

Now, he’s gearing up for Senior Day — his last home game as a college safety. As for what could lie ahead, Moore said he’s been focused on the season and hasn’t put much thought into it. Still, Saturday’s Senior Day ceremony is sure to be an emotional one.

“I really haven’t thought about it too much,” Moore said. “Senior Day, it’s kind of surreal to see how quickly everything has gone by so fast. I’m kind of just taking it in each day at a time. I’ll probably have a little extra emotion running through me on Saturday coming out the tunnel not knowing if it’s going to be my last time or not. I’m looking forward to it.”

Maybe it’s just a throwaway phrasing... but is Malachi Moore insinuating that he could come back for a 5th year? His freshman year was 2020, so I think he technically could still use that Covid redshirt and become a 5-year starter.

Here’s your injury update:

“Jermaine Burton is fine,” Saban said.

Meanwhile, safety Jaylen Key and linebacker Deontae Lawson are looking to return from their respective injuries. They both sustained injuries vs. LSU.

“Jaylen and Deontae are both moving around, running, rehabbing, getting close to being ready to practice and play,” Saban said. “But I would say it’s still pretty questionable whether they can make it through the game.”

I was worried that Lawson was going to be out until at least the SEC championship game after the non-contact ankle injury. I don’t imagine we’ll see him against UT-Chatanooga, but sounds promising we could see him by the Auburn game.

The Yellowhammer State is home to eight top-100 prospects in the 2024 class, headlined by four five-stars. Nine of the top 10 prospects in Alabama have already announced their respective commitments, while just one is still undecided on where they will play in college.

Six college football programs have a commitment from at least one of the top 10 players in the state. Auburn leads the way with three commits among that group, followed by Alabama with two, while Miami, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas A&M each have one.

If you weren’t paying attention the last few months, it’s now almost time to start thinking about Recruiting SZN again. National Signing Day is only a month away, and the final push and shuffling of commits will start happening soon.

The state of Alabama has four 5-star prospects... And Alabama only has a commitment from one of them. Perry Thompson could always flip back to the Tide, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Of course, Alabama does have the #4 ranked recruiting class, and has less total commitments than all of the teams in front of them. 5-star offensive lineman Jordan Seaton is still out there, and the Tide’s got a lot of history with getting the top linemen from IMG Academy, so definitely keep your ears open there.