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Jumbo Package: Alabama commit Ryan Williams makes state high school history

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser Jake Crandall/ Advertiser / USA TODAY NETWORK

Happy Gump Day, everyone. We now know the dates of probably the most exciting A Day in years, and Homecoming.

The University of Alabama announced Tuesday that the 2024 Golden Flake A-Day Spring Football Game will be played on Saturday, April 13.

UA also revealed that the 2024 Homecoming Game will be played on Saturday, October 26, against Missouri. Alabama is 88-13-1 in Homecoming games and is currently in the middle of a 21-game winning streak on Homecoming.

Mizzou will be a formidable opponent for a Homecoming game.

Tide commit Ryan Williams did something that no other high school player has ever done in Alabama.

“When you look at all the athletes who have come through the state in the last 42 years and no one has won it more than once, it tells you how special Ryan really is,” Saraland head coach Jeff Kelly said. “When it is all said and done, we may all look back and have him at the top of our lists of the best players in state history. This puts a cap on one of the best two-year runs we’ve ever seen, and that really is all we are talking about. Two years. Incredible.”

The state has produced some unreal talent through the years, but nobody has repeated as Mr. Football. And Ryan didn’t even get a senior year, folks. He accomplished that feat as a sophomore and junior. The young man is special.

Tide enrollee Jaylen Mbakwe was also in the running, and he was asked about how long it took him to decide to play for Kalen DeBoer.

Just how quickly did Mbakwe make the decision to stay? What did he have to say about the new staff? Bama247 asked all of those questions and more.

“It was pretty instant, it didn’t take anytime,” Mbakwe talked about making a decision soon after the first team meeting with head coach Kalen DeBoer. “The way he settled himself in and talked with us, there was no waste of time.”

“It’s been great,” Mbakwe continued giving his thoughts on the last two and half weeks or so. “He’s a great guy, family oriented and one that wants to win. He is a winner, so I feel like we got something good coming for the next few years.”

Both of those young men come across as special people in addition to their obvious talents on the field. This class is quite exciting.

Also exciting? Tennessee getting more grief from the NCAA.

Iamaleava initially committed to Tennessee in March 2022. Around the same time, reports surfaced of an an NIL deal worth $8 million. Iamaleava’s involvement with such a deal was never confirmed, nor have any details emerged about any NIL deals he signed before or after enrolling at Tennessee.

In May 2022, the NCAA reminded schools that using NIL as a recruiting tool was a strict violation of its policy. It simultaneously promised to retroactively investigate programs and their associated collectives for any potential violations. The NCAA sent out another notice in October that further clarified the interim policy and aligning it with state laws, allowing schools officials to interact with NIL collectives.

Apparently the main issue was the NIL collective paying for a private jet to bring Nico in for a visit. Tennessee, of course, claims no wrongdoing and Ross Dellenger notes that the NCAA has created its own mess.

The NCAA’s predicament: For more than two years, coaches and administrators have staunchly encouraged the NCAA to punish schools for NIL violations. And, yet, when those punishments are delivered, the targeted schools vehemently decry them unfair and often even file legal challenges.

We could very well see legal action in the case of Tennessee, whose chancellor, Donde Plowman, used harsh language in email exchanges with NCAA officials recently.

“Two and a half years of vague and contradictory NCAA memos, emails and ‘guidance’ about name, image and likeness (NIL) has created extraordinary chaos that student-athletes and institutions are struggling to navigate,” she wrote to NCAA president Charlie Baker. “In short, the NCAA is failing.”

Maybe they are. Still, Tennessee is already under sanctions for the McDonald’s bags. Personally, I’m fine with throwing the book at them.

Justin Eboigbe is practicing for the Senior Bowl currently, and was asked about the moments after Nick Saban spoke to his team for the last time.

“I called one of my former teammates and he told me. (He) Facetimed me in and showed me the locker room,” Eboigbe said Tuesday after the Reese’s Senior Bowl afternoon practice. “It was a lot of guys showing the same emotion that Bama fans and people around the world of sports felt. Shocked, confused, not really understanding where this came from. It felt like it came out of left field, but you can’t do anything but respect his decision.”

That had to be a surreal moment for everyone in the room. Also in Mobile? Will Reichard.

That thing was crushed. Young Conor Talty has some big shoes to fill.

Last, we will have coverage of tonight’s basketball game at Georgia later on, but Nate Oats spoke about his technical fouls.

Perhaps the most impressive stat is the Crimson Tide’s record in games where Oats has received a technical foul: 17 wins to just 4 losses. In fact, Alabama won the first nine games in which Oats was assessed a tech. The first loss didn’t come until Oats’ third season, a loss to Iona in the 2021 ESPN Events Invitational.

“We should probably get more techs then, if we’re 17-4,” Oats said with a laugh. “17-4 is a higher win percentage than our overall winning percentage.”

Considering Nate’s love of data, he may well fire off a few more.

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

Roll Tide.