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Jumbo Package: Abnormal youth makes for an interesting spring

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Alabama Practice John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. The softball team walked off their first game vs. South Carolina last night while baseball dropped a 12-8 decision to Mississippi State.

There isn’a a ton of news out there around spring practice, but we will give you what we have. Chase Goodbread notes that the influx of early enrollees has made this a very different spring camp.

So how did an April version of Alabama football get so young? Start with a record influx of early-enrolling signees.

Twenty-two players who were still in high school six months ago are getting a jumpstart on their college careers. That’s a Saban-era high, topping the 2017 recruiting class that saw 17 players enroll early. It’s of great benefit to freshmen to do so, and significantly enhances the chance of getting on the field in the fall. But for now, the learning curve is a steep one.

Saban spoke about the difficulty of running the practices with so many new faces a couple of weeks back. About a quarter of the scholarship players who are participating were in high school four months ago.

The biggest drama is, of course, around the quarterback battle. Ja’Corey Brooks is being a good poltician about it all.

“I’ve always seen Jalen develop ever since we got here together,” Brooks said of his relationship with Milroe. “He’s trying to become a leader — he’s become a leader more on the team. He’s just stepping up big-time for us making some good reads out there in practice and always competing.”

Brooks also talked about what he’s seen from Simpson so far this spring.

“I’ve seen a lot of improvement from him,” Brooks said. “Also, both quarterbacks — they both competing, hard-working and they’re getting the job done.”

All indications are that both players have been working with the first team. It will be interesting to see whether Saban has Simpson run the second team in the spring game, or if he will put both he and Milroe on the same side. Either way, with the competition still ongoing you can bet that the more experienced Milroe will get the first snaps.

Nate Oats may be replacing all three of his top assistants, and this one would hurt Alabama fans the most.

Antoine Pettway, a longtime Crimson Tide assistant, is interviewing with Kennesaw State for its head-coaching opening, sources confirmed to The Tuscaloosa News.

If he were to get the job, that would mean Oats has to fill three spots before next season. Assistant coach Bryan Hodgson went to Arkansas State to be the coach, and Charlie Henry took the Georgia Southern job.

Pettway deserves it and we’d all be happy for him, but damn. That would sting.

Most of the “insiders” seem to have CJ Stroud going to Carolina, allowing Bryce Young to play for DeMeco Ryans in Houston.

CBS: Houston Texans (No. 2 overall)

Pete Prisco projected the Panthers will select Stroud in the No. 1 overall spot. Then Prisco had Young behind him at No. 2, calling his size a “major concern” but that the Texans want him.

Then Prisco had Richardson going to the Colts at No. 3 and Levis to the Raiders at No. 7.

ESPN: Houston Texans (No. 2 overall)

Mel Kiper wrote that there isn’t a consensus top quarterback and that different teams have different quarterbacks in the No. 1 spot. Still, Kiper projected Stroud to the Panthers and Young to the Texans.

If that happens, Alabama fans will have a new AFC squad to adopt.

Last, this is unrelated to Alabama but those who enjoy MLB and longtime Braves fans in particular, check out this grab by Andruw Jones’ kid in his second pro ballgame.

Andruw had incredible ability to go for going back on the baseball, which famously allowed him to play very shallow in center field and take away a significant number of singles. It was announced this week that Atlanta will retire Andruw’s number at the end of the season, and genetics remain undefeated.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.