All good vibes today. Rejoice, for it is Gump Day!
Let’s start with the 2024 class, where Alabama is kicking ass like a one-legged man in a sack race — just take a look at the front page of Roll ‘Bama Roll if you don’t believe me:
2026 blue-chip O-Lineman from Kirby’s backyard
The Tide made the cut for high priority 4-star WR Amari Jefferson yesterday. Hailing out of Tennessee, the competition is very stiff: ‘Bama, Dawgs, and the home state Vawls.
Jefferson, listed at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds has been committed to the Volunteers’ baseball program for two years. Yet, as he’s developed into a prospect on the football field, Jefferson appears set to be a difference-maker on SEC Saturdays.
247Sports Composite ranked Jefferson as the No. 3 player in Tennessee and the 16th overall athlete. After 72 catches and 17 touchdowns as a junior, Jefferson attended Alabama’s junior day and received an offer. He took an official visit to each of his finalists in June, starting with a stop in Tuscaloosa.
The Tide’s efforts are only heating up. Here’s Wiltfong’s survey of where ‘Bama stands with several key recruits:
The Crimson Tide are up to 12 commits in the 2024 cycle after landing pledges from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei Top247 cornerback Zabien Brown and European linebacker Justin Okoronkwo who hails from Germany this past Sunday. We break down what they’re bringing to the SEC powerhouse program.
Nick Saban and company could be in line for more good news later this week. Lindale (Texas) High Top247 offensive lineman Casey Poe and Carrollton (Ga.) High Top247 tight end Caleb Odom will announce their commitments on July 12 and July 15 respectively. Alabama is the 247Sports Crystal Ball favorite for both but there is competition. We handicap those announcements.
Alabama is also working to flip Clanton (Ala.) Chilton County Top247 linebacker Demarcus Riddick from rival Georgia.
And, as 2024 has reached the halfway point, and football season beginning a lot quicker than you’d imagine, this year’s NSD targets are poised to start making decisions very soon. And Alabama will be on the receiving end of some good news, I’d wager, particularly with pass catchers.
It earned three on Sunday and could land offensive lineman Casey Poe and wideout Keylen Adams by the weekend.
The Tide currently has two wide receiver commits: Pennsylvania’s Rico Scott and Foley’s Perry Thompson. Thompson, the fourth-best receiver in the class, has received heavy interest from Auburn as Alabama looks to fend off the in-state flip.
#Blessed to be ‘Bama, y’all.
And, as a cautionary note, Alabama really needs these guys to pan out. Over a period of about two-three years, crootin’ and hirin’ were iffy prospects, with ‘Bama landing on fewer than 50% of its targets being difference-makers or starter-ready at any point.
Last week, I went off on a bit of a tangent complaining about how the 2019 recruiting class had too many busts in critical spots, and it crippled Alabama in 2021 and 2022.
Alabama fans have, of course, lamented the Early Signing Period, followed by more lamenting over the NIL no-rules as factors affecting the success of Alabama’s recruiting, which led to the Tide falling short of their goals in 2021 and 2022.
For my own part, I felt like the busts along the defensive line in 2018-2020 played a major part in things, and the WR classes of 2020 and 2021 were the other biggest whiffs that have impacted Alabama’s roster.
The good news doesn’t end there: the ‘Bama Baseball program sent several players to the pros this week, with perhaps the best prospect-to-situation being ‘Bama’s star Andrew Pinckney. Pinckney landed in the 4th round with the Nats, and that’s a very good spot for him.
Roger’s complete roundup is here:
The Alabama baseball team had their largest number of players picked in the MLB Draft since 2016. Both years, six current players were selected. This year three incoming freshmen were also picked.
Day 3 saw three players connected to the Tide program drafted. Jim Jarvis, 11th round-pick 320; Garrett McMillian, 14th round-407th pick; and incoming freshman Jeremy Pilon-18th round-543rd. They joined Bryce Eldridge, Andrew Pinckney, Grayson Hitt, AJ Ewing, Hunter Furtado, Caden Rose in hearing their names called over the last three days.
From untouchable to unacceptable. In one short year, the tiny fuse on Jimbo’s firecracker was lit, and the demand to win. big. now. was heard across College Station — as well it should be. They have infinite resources, some of the country’s best facilities, are the most brazen bagman, and are in one of the nation’s talent hotspots.
And, what do they have to show for it after half a decade? One T-2nd place finish in the West, with every other season being 3rd or lower. That’s it...and he’s making 10 mill a year.
Win big this year, or it’s never happening.
Look, we’re not predicting that Texas A&M is going to pony up $70 million-plus for the buyout after this season if things continue to go sideways. However, hot seat is the topic, and Jimbo is certainly on one. A major bounce back is needed from the Aggies after their first losing season (5-7) since 2009. Jimbo hired Bobby Petrino as the new offensive coordinator and will (maybe? hopefully?) give him 100% play calling duties. Talented QB Conner Weigman and a deep receiving corps give the Aggies a chance offensively (101st in scoring last season). The usual slog through the SEC West looms. TAMU travels to Tennessee, LSU and Ole Miss. Is eight wins enough for Jimbo to keep his job? Stay tuned. 2022 rating: 0
Full hot seat analysis is below. And to answer CBS’s question: no, eight wins won’t be enough. That team needs to win 10 and at least vie for the division or he’s gone. There’s honestly no reason why Aggie can’t win the division outright. A very kind schedule, tons of returning talent, and perhaps the best coordinator tandem in the SEC.
Speaking of hot seat: The ‘Barn may be happy they got their (bag)man, but now that everyone can pay players, Hugh Freeze has to win with substandard in-game coaching and a sub-par transfer roster — this dude is like Megachurch Deion Sanders:
Hugh Freeze is getting a second chance in the SEC, and it’s a pressure cooker of a job.
Freeze, who famously flamed out at Ole Miss amid a slew of controversies, is Auburn’s third head coach in a four-season span. Gus Malzahn coached the Tigers to eight consecutive winning seasons but he could never quite replicate the success he had in his first season — a magical run all the way to the national title game.
He’s done a nice job bolstering a seriously flawed roster via the transfer portal, but the Tigers aren’t expected to seriously compete for an SEC West title. There is a realistic path to a bowl game, however, especially if Freeze can bring some positive changes to the offense as anticipated.
Will that be enough to appease an extremely demanding fan base? And will Freeze be able to avoid the off-field controversies that have plagued him his entire career?
Billboard is aiming to be the first guy fired in two countries for being a malcontent with Twitter fingers.
The Stampeders saw the same things we all saw. When Billboard puts in the work and remains engaged, he is a very effective tight end...he could even be a weapon with more polish, more motivation, and in the right situation.
But one gets the feeling that Jahleel will just never find that discipline he needs...even when he’s drawing a paycheck. He’s still young, so let’s hope he can turn his life around. But, as we’ve seen with so many Saban non-depth chart departures, usually that’s just the first stop on their road to irrelevance and career oblivion.
Finally, if you’ve lost track of what teams are playing who, and where, and in what conference, TSN was kind enough to provide us a handy all-in-one.
Have a great one, and Roll Tide