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Jumbo Package: Alabama basketball schedules Arizona, football recruits shine

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament South Regional-San Diego State vs Alabama Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Nate Oats continues his trend of tough scheduling, this time booking a home and home with Pac 12 champ Arizona.

Alabama men’s basketball will play Arizona in a neutral-site game in Phoenix this December before the two teams will meet again in a neutral-site game Birmingham in 2024, the University of Arizona confirmed Monday to the Arizona Daily Star.

Alabama has yet to announce the series but FanDuel reported Monday morning that the two schools were finalizing a deal to meet Dec. 20 in Phoenix’s Footprint Center.

Arizona, of course, is a previous employer of Greg Byrne and Jahvon Quinerly’s first college basketball stop, though Jahvon never actually played a game thanks to the FBI business. Phoenix will be a fun trip for the guys next year.

Craig Haubert and Tom Luginbill at ESPN see a little Ha Ha in Caleb Downs.

At 6-1, 208 pounds, Clinton-Dix was one of the most productive safeties in Alabama history. He had 99 tackles, seven interceptions and 10 pass breakups in his career. He was a consensus first team All-American and first team All-SEC member in 2013 thanks to his versatility and instinctive ways. His closing speed and ability to track the football was truly unique and led to him becoming the Green Bay Packers’ first-round pick in 2014.

Beyond Downs’ size and build (6-foot,190), his instincts and scheme versatility resemble those of Clinton-Dix. In Tuscaloosa, Clinton-Dix played everywhere in the secondary and had a linebacker’s mentality when positioned inside the box. He was a fierce tackler with great awareness.

Freshman RB Richard Young drew the Josh Jacobs comparison. Both would be lovely if they turned out that way.

2024 QB commit Julian Sayin balled out at the Elite 11 Regional.

“The Alabama commit was nearly flawless in each drill and might be the most polished quarterback in the ’23 class. Mechanically, he’s very strong with a tight release and no wasted motion. He can throw in or out of the pocket and is very comfortable throwing from different arm angles in scramble situations. He has plenty of arm to get the ball deep and doesn’t need a big wind up or reset to get the ball down the field. There was some strong wind at times but he throws such a tight ball he had no issues ripping it through the elements. He has a great feel for the position and knows when to take a little off and when he needs to put more heat on a throw. He’s a high football IQ kid and should have no issues at the next level picking up a complex college playbook. Sayin is already on the short list when talking about the top quarterback in the ’24 class and today was one the best performances we’ve seen from him.”

As you migh surmise from the headline, there is a video in there for you. Sayin looks the part of the next great QB at Alabama. Hopefully there is someone on the current roster ready to be great before his era begins. We shall see.

On3 released their initial rankings of the 2025 class. An Alabama commit ranks third overall on that one.

There is not a current skill prospect who is more athletic and productive than wide receiver Ryan Williams (No. 3). The Alabama commit was absolutely dominant as a sophomore while leading his Saraland (Ala.) High team to a state title. Williams’ 2022 stat-line was absurd for any player, let along a sophomore. He caught 88 passes for 1,641 yards and 24 touchdowns, ran for 700 yards and 15 touchdowns on 57 rushes (12.3 yards per carry), returned two punts for touchdowns and passed for a score. Williams is not just dominant on Friday nights – he was the On3 MVP at Under Armour’s Atlanta camp last month after a stellar showing where he scored around 10 touchdowns in 1-on-1’s and posted the fasted 40-yard dash on hand (electronic 4.41). He’s also a track star and has a shot at winning state in four events. So far in 2023, Williams has posted a scintillating 10.49 second mark in the 100 meters along with 21.28 seconds in the 200 meters, a 48.19 400 meter mark and a 6-8 high jump. At 6-foot, 160-pounds, Williams will need to continue adding mass and strength to his frame, but there are few if any who can rival his resume as a football player and verfied athlete to this point. He committed to Alabama on October 8, 2022.

December of 2024 is a long time off, but hopefully Ryan’s commitment is strong being an in-state prospect. Those numbers are absurd, particularly for a sophomore.

Thanks to the stellar recruiting, Alabama historian Kirk McNair doesn’t see Alabama slowing down anytime soon.

Unlike some of those chalking up an end to the Bama reign, however, I’ve noticed that Tide recruiting continues at an elite level – best in the nation and among the best all-time in the rankings era in the most recent class. Additionally, I’m one of those who believes good coaches don’t forget what they know, and it’s more than what their assistants have learned from them.

Briefly to the past, five SEC teams have combined to win 14 national championships in the so-called Poll Era – LSU 4, Georgia 3, Florida 3, Tennessee 2, Auburn 2.

Alabama has won 13.

Bama has won 29 SEC championships, more than the next two (Georgia 14, Tennessee 13) combined.

Let it be written.

Last, big Landon got hitched over the weekend.

Congrats to the happy couple. Alabama fans love Landon only slightly less than Brooke does.

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

Roll Tide.