Wednesday, January 29, 2014

5-star DB Marlon Humphrey gives verbal to 'Bama

While most of central Alabama remains in the firm grip of snow and ice, one of the top defensive back prospects in the nation has given Crimson Tide fans a reason to celebrate.

Marlon Humphrey, son of 'Bama legend Bobby Humphrey, has given his verbal commitment to the University of Alabama for 2014. Humphrey, the pride of Hoover High School in Hoover, AL, used Twitter as his platform to break the news.
Humphrey, who stands just over 6-feet tall and tops the scale at 175-pounds, selected the Crimson Tide over the likes of Florida State and Mississippi State.

Listed as a five-star talent across the board, Humphrey is also the No. 1 defensive back in the nation per several recruiting outlets.
While Humphrey's decision to attend Alabama is not a surprise, his verbal commitment to Alabama, one week prior to national signing day, was not expected. With various reports that Humphrey would not "show his hand" until signing day, many recruiting experts expected Humphrey to reveal his intentions with a signature, not a public statement in advance.
With his pledge to the Tide, Marlon Humphrey becomes the 25th verbal commitment in respect to Alabama's 2014 signing class.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

QB Jacob Coker confirms transfer to Alabama

As initially reported by, former Florida State quarterback Jacob Coker has officially signed with the University of Alabama in the form of a transfer.
Coker, who served as Jameis Winston's backup during the 2013 season, is scheduled to graduate in May. Upon completion of his coursework, Coker will fulfill the transfer to Alabama without penalty. Allowed to play in 2014 per NCAA rules, Coker will have two years of eligibility.
The pride of St. Paul's Episcopal, the same school responsible for former Tide quarterback AJ McCarron, Coker will likely be the favorite to fill the vacancy left by McCarron.

In a statement released by UA, Coker expressed his excitement to begin a new chapter at Alabama, while thanking Florida State for a wonderful experience.

In the world of well kept secrets, this one was a flop. One can only hope that Coker's potential in Tuscaloosa will culminate in better fashion.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Recruiting: 'Bama makes late push for elite prospects

As the 2014 edition of national signing day draws closer by the hour, many programs are searching for the final piece(s) of the puzzle in order to solidify an impressive signing class.

In respect to the Alabama Crimson Tide, Nick Saban and company currently have 24 verbal commitments, but who are the remaining targets as the "midnight hour" approaches?

With limited spots available, here are several prospects Alabama will be vying for in order to cement yet another elite signing class.

*List is subject to change
*Click name for Rivals page

-Primary Targets-

Name: Malachi Dupre
Rating: 5-star prospect - No. 1 wide receiver in the nation (Rivals)
School/City: John Curtis High School - River Ridge, Louisiana
Position: Wide Receiver
Status: Undecided
List: Alabama, Florida State, LSU, UCLA

Name: Matt Elam
Rating: 3-star prospect (Rivals)
School/City: John Hardin High School - Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Position: Defensive Tackle
Status: Undecided
List: Alabama, Kentucky

Name: Rashaan Evans
Rating: 5-star prospect (Rivals)
School/City: Auburn High School - Auburn, Alabama
Position: Linebacker
Status: Undecided
List: Alabama, Auburn, UCLA

Name: Marlon Humphrey
Rating: 5-star prospect - No. 1 prospect in the state of Alabama (Rivals)
School/City: Hoover High School - Hoover, Alabama
Position: Defensive Back
Status: Undecided
List: Alabama, Florida State, Mississippi State

-High Investment-

Per the embedded tweet courtesy of Tide recruiting expert Andrew Bone, Alabama is pursuing the trio listed below in order to fulfill needs at the defensive back position.

Treon Harris - Verbal to Florida State as a quarterback - 4* Prospect
Tavon Ross - Verbal to Missouri - 2* Prospect
Dominick Sanders - Verbal to Central Florida - 3* Prospect
Name: Elisha Shaw
Rating: 3-star prospect (Rivals)
School/City: Tucker High School - Tucker/Atlanta, Georgia
Position: Defensive Tackle
Status: Undecided
List: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss

Name: Chad Thomas
Rating: 5-star prospect - No. 1 weakside defensive end in the nation (Rivals)
School/City: Booker T. Washington High School - Miami, Florida
Position: Defensive End
Status: Verbal to Miami
List: Alabama, Florida State, Louisville, Miami

Sunday, January 19, 2014

'Bama DB Tony Brown arrested at off-campus party

While the glow of the NFL likely kept a large percentage of Alabama fans glued to CBS and FOX during the bulk of Sunday, news hit the wire during the evening that one of Alabama's newest talents had been arrested.

Tony Brown, a five-star defensive back from Beaumont, Texas encountered legal issues Saturday night at a party.

Originally reported by, Brown, an early enrollee, was arrested on charges of failure to obey police as well as resisting arrest.

Sunday night, the Tuscaloosa Police Department released a statement describing the incident as well as Brown's role in the ordeal.

Per the general story, also embedded in the link above, Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been informed of the situation in question.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Greg Brown out at 'Bama, Smart and Steele promoted

The roller coaster that is the Alabama staff shakedown has entered yet another phase.

Per ESPN, secondary coach Greg Brown, who joined the Alabama staff after the 2012 season, has stepped down.
In the vacancy left by Brown, defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will relinquish his role of coaching the Crimson Tide linebackers and will now turn his attention to the secondary.

Filling the gap as the new linebackers coach will be Kevin Steele. Having served as the director of player personnel, Steele will now take an on-field position. Before returning to UA in 2013, Steele served as the defensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide during Nick Saban's first season at Alabama in 2007.

As for current staff member Lance Thompson, who rejoined the Alabama staff in 2012, Thompson will continue his duties working with the outside linebackers. In 2007 and 2008, Thompson held the same position on the Alabama staff before accepting a job at the University of Tennessee.

As for the big picture, the most recent changes to the Alabama staff are just the latest "transformations" Nick Saban has made in advance of the 2014 season. Within the last week Saban also hired Lane Kiffin as the Tide's new offensive coordinator as well as Bo Davis, Alabama's defensive line coach from 2007-2010.

Luke Del Rio leaves the Alabama football program

The race to replace AJ McCarron is officially down one man.

Walk-on Luke Del Rio, who was redshirted during the 2013 season, has officially left the Alabama football program.

Using Twitter as his platform to break the news, Del Rio, while not making his future plans clear, expressed sincere thanks for the opportunity he was given at Alabama while also praising the fans of the Crimson Tide program.
To many, Del Rio's departure will rightfully come as a shock. Considered by many fans and "inside experts" to be the early favorite to replace AJ McCarron, Del Rio's decision to leave is arguably as significant as the recent arrival of new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.

While the truth behind Del Rio's decision is obviously his personal business and does not have to be shared in a public forum, the human nature aspect, for Tide fans, is to begin the speculation game.

Prior to arriving at Alabama, Del Rio gave his verbal commitment to Oklahoma State. However, once offensive coordinator Todd Monken left the program to become the head coach at Southern Mississippi, Del Rio decommitted and reopened his recruitment. Upon review, Del Rio decided to accept a walk-on role at Alabama.

Could the removal of Doug Nussmeier and the introduction of Lane Kiffin have played a role in Del Rio's recent decision? Once again, while Del Rio's decision is personal and requires no explanation, the speculation on whether or not the OC change was the deciding factor is certainly a warranted discussion.

As for the future of the 'Bama program, if the 2014 quarterback questions weren't "heavy" before, they certainly are now.

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Five Alabama players officially declare for NFL draft

Today is the final day for underclassmen to declare for the 2014 NFL draft. With the draft class being officially sealed for this year, a total of five Crimson Tide players who played a vital role on the 2013 squad, will attempt to take the next step and begin a career in professional football.

Giving formal announcements at a press conference held last week, safety HaHa Clinton-Dix, offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio, linebacker Adrian Hubbard, and defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan, each made public declarations for the NFL while giving thanks to those who had helped them along the way.

Sunday afternoon, in a more informal fashion, reports began to surface, and were later confirmed, that safety Vinnie Sunseri would also be throwing his name into the ring for the 2014 NFL draft. Sunseri, who suffered a season ending knee injury in mid October, had considered the idea of transferring to Florida State if he indeed decided to return to college for his senior season.
In respect to the conventional, "I'm returning for my senior season" category, that honor went to wide receiver DeAndrew White. While rumored that White would join Sunseri as the two "late declarations" to enter the draft, White instead tweeted that he would in fact be returning to Tuscaloosa for his senior season.
Since Nick Saban arrived at the University of Alabama in 2007, the declaration of five underclassmen to the next level is the highest of his Crimson Tide tenure.

Glen Coffee
Andre Smith

Kareem Jackson
Rolando McClain

Marcell Dareus
Mark Ingram
Julio Jones

Dont'a Hightower
Dre Kirkpatrick
Trent Richardson

D.J. Fluker
Eddie Lacy
Dee Milliner

HaHa Clinton-Dix
Adrian Hubbard
Cyrus Kouandjio
Jeoffrey Pagan
Vinnie Sunseri


Monday, January 13, 2014

Defensive line coach Bo Davis returns to Alabama

Alabama's vacancy for a new defensive line coach has been filled courtesy of a familiar name. Bo Davis, who coached the UA defensive line from 2007-2010 has been hired to replace the departed Chris Rumph who recently accepted a position on the Texas staff under new head coach Charlie Strong.
Davis, who left Alabama for Texas during the Mack Brown regime, recently found new employment at USC under new head coach Steve Sarkisian. However, as has been reported Monday afternoon, Davis will not take a position with the Trojans but rather return to Tuscaloosa to fill his prior role with the Crimson Tide.

In respect to the coaching search, the rumor mill spun a web of several names, most notably defensive specialist Ed Orgeron. While the Orgeron hire would have been a "blockbuster" move in the eyes of many Crimson Tide fans, the return of Bo Davis marks yet another solid hire for Nick Saban.

While trading Rumph for Davis can be considered an "apples to apples" situation, Saban will find stability with Davis once against coaching a very talented 'Bama defensive front.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Chris Rumph leaves Alabama, joins Strong at Texas

As the hire of Lane Kiffin still floats fresh in the Tuscaloosa air, Nick Saban will now prepare to fill another vacancy on his staff.

Defensive line coach Chris Rumph, who joined the Crimson Tide program in January of 2011, has accepted a position at the University of Texas under new head coach Charlie Strong.
While the rumor mill has already begun to turn, as it did soon after the departure of former offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, no official candidates to replace Rumph have been named at this very early stage in the process.

Declaring it to be quite obviously nothing more than pure speculation at this time, with several "defensive minds" currently on the UA staff, it is quite possible that Nick Saban chooses to hire from within the organization.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Saban taps Kiffin as Alabama's new OC/QB coach

Alabama's search for a new offensive coordinator came to an end Friday afternoon when former Tennessee and USC head coach Lane Kiffin accepted the position to join Nick Saban's staff.

Kiffin, as noted in the tweet below, will be in charge of the offense as well as coaching the UA quarterbacks. Upon making his return to the SEC, Kiffin's primary task in Tuscaloosa will be to maximize the Crimson Tide offense for 2014 and beyond.
Despised by many college football fans around the nation, yet respected by many of his peers in the coaching circle, Kiffin will be greeted at Alabama by an abundance of talent, as well as several confident and determined quarterbacks who will be eager to fill the vacancy left by AJ McCarron.

Noted for his track record as a solid offensive coordinator, especially during the majority of his tenure at USC, Kiffin will become the fourth OC Nick Saban has hired since he arrived in Tuscaloosa in early 2007.
Saban, in a statement released Friday afternoon, described the 38-year-old Kiffin as an "outstanding and creative offensive coach."

While financial figures have yet to be confirmed, Kiffin has agreed to a three-year contract.

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Alabama seeks new OC, Lane Kiffin interviewed

While technical issues derailed The Crimson Elephant for roughly 36 hours, the "dead period" certainly didn't stop the wheels from turning in Tuscaloosa.

As it was first made public late Wednesday night, and has since been one of the major points of conversation amongst Alabama fans, Doug Nussmeier can now be referred to in the "former" status.

Nussmeier, who held the position of offensive coordinator for two seasons at the University of Alabama, will now be calling plays for Brady Hoke at the University of Michigan.
While Nussmeier's departure is far from shocking, the candidates to fulfill the OC role at 'Bama have created quite the story.

Lane Kiffin? Freddie Kitchens? Mike Groh? Billy Napier? Rick Neuheisel? It would certainly appear that a motley crew have formed in the way of legitimacy and rumor mill.

In respect to the interview process, Kiffin, who is without question one of the most polarizing faces in all of football, was in Tuscaloosa earlier today (Thursday) to interview for the job. Just the mere interview made news across the national wire.
In respect to the actual product on the gridiron, in this age of the no huddle track meet, it will very interesting to see if Alabama maintains the same philosophy that Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeier shared, or if Nick Saban will decide to "start over" and bring in some new blood...with a new attitude.

Alabama is obviously an elite program, and by the same hand, holding a position on Nick Saban's staff is certainly a "positive shot" to any resume.

While 'Bama fans take in the "coaching carousel" from afar, one of the most decorated head coaches in the modern era will be searching for his fourth offensive coordinator since 2007.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Crimson Commentary: Sugarless in Alabama...again

Jan. 1, 1993 is a rather important date in the history of Alabama football. On that night, the Crimson Tide defeated the Miami Hurricanes to capture the 12th national championship in program history. Living in a pre-BCS world, 'Bama not only claimed the national title that night, but also the Sugar Bowl.

Alabama hasn't won the Sugar Bowl since...

In this current Alabama age of "national title or bust," the Crimson Tide, for a plethora of reasons, have managed to get the "bust" part down to a science.

While many Tide fans, myself included, laughed at the notion that Alabama would take part in a repeat of the 2009 Sugar Bowl debacle, now that all is said and done, the 2014 Sugar Bowl was as "Utah-esque" as one could have ever feared.
From a personal standpoint, I've only "laughed" following an Alabama loss on two occasions. The aforementioned 2009 Sugar Bowl...and last night. While I was certainly not laughing at the effort, I did laugh at the final outcome. An outcome, perhaps in the dark pit of my subconscious, I knew would happen.

In respect to the 2014 Crimson Tide football season, UA's trip to Starkville, Mississippi was a turning point...a turning point for the worst. Something happened that night, and while most Tide fans viewed it as simply an "off night," history now records that whatever Alabama lost or left in Starkville, they were never able to regain in time to even win a bowl game.

The dream of a three-peat, concluded with embarrassment on the floor of the Superdome. Alabama's "consolation prize" known as the Sugar Bowl, was declined in favor of nothing.

We all remember the LSU game. Those final seconds where senior quarterback AJ McCarron, with arms wide open, embraced a jovial Nick Saban after the Crimson Tide had seemingly "passed the final test" of the 2014 regular season.

For whatever was taken or lost the following weekend at Mississippi State, the emotion, precision, and supreme confidence Alabama used to defeat LSU, was left on the Bryant-Denny turf that night.

Little did the nation know, McCarron's embrace of Nick Saban following Alabama's victory over LSU, would be the final moment of pure triumph this season. In what, at the time, appeared to be a monumental feat, and proof that Alabama would three-peat, was essentially the crowning moment of the season, a season that would soon dissolve.

As for the 2014 Sugar Bowl, credit the Oklahoma Sooners for defeating Alabama. No goofy missed field goal returned for a touchdown, just high stakes performance in a high stakes game.

Alabama settled for New Orleans, Oklahoma earned New Orleans. When the clock hit zero, the Sooners took what they wanted, while the Crimson Tide, and arguably the greatest senior class in the history of college football, left the field with memories of prior glory...and what could have been.
On the surface, the idea of "national title or bust" is a "fired up" way of thinking. It means you want the ultimate prize, and won't settle for a thing less than perfection. Well, what happens when you have to settle for less than your goals? Do you take the only prize remaining, or do you simply fall flat on your face because the disappointment of not achieving the ultimate prize is too much to overcome?

Alabama has three national titles under Nick Saban, Utah and Oklahoma also have Sugar Bowl victories over the Crimson the expense of Nick Saban. Sour taste, yes? It should be...

The "all or nothing" mantra is a wonderful rally cry, but when it actually comes to pass, and you've settled for absolutely nothing, the price of national embarrassment can really carve a deep wound. Today, Alabama is in need of critical medical treatment.

The bar at Alabama is high, but the price of not winning it all should never include not winning a thing. A successful Capital One Bowl covered in two embarrassing Sugar Bowl defeats does not a hearty meal make.

Jan. 1, 1993 is an important date in Alabama football history. However, the significance of that date is beginning to take a dark and haunting turn. The importance of what happened that night will always be monumental, but the gap between Sugar Bowl victories has now become of equal importance and concern.

Alabama is far too proud to settle for less than the best, but the Sugar Bowl was "built by Bama"...and embarrassment has never been in season.

Quite obviously, the Sugar Bowl trophy is not a crystal football, but the piece of hardware Oklahoma took home last night certainly beats a pair of empty hands. - the #1 destination for headwear

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hootie Jones gives verbal to Alabama...again

Neville High School (Monroe, LA) safety Laurence "Hootie" Jones has given his verbal commitment to the University of Alabama for the second time in a month.

Jones, who originally verbalized to Alabama Dec. 2, decommitted from the Tide Dec. 18 in order to reevaluate his situation.

Following tonight's Under Armour All-America Game, Jones once again declared his decision to play for the University of Alabama, selecting the Tide over the likes of LSU and Ole Miss.

Standing 6-foot-2 and 210-pounds, Jones is a four-star recruit per, as well as the No. 4 safety prospect in the nation and the No. 5 overall prospect in the state of Louisiana.

With his pledge to the Crimson Tide, Hootie Jones becomes the 25th verbal commitment in respect to Alabama's 2014 signing class.

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Tony Brown gives verbal to Alabama

Ozen High School (Beaumont, TX) defensive back Tony Brown has given his verbal commitment to the University of Alabama for 2014.

Using the annual Under Armour All-America Game as his national stage, Brown selected the Crimson Tide over the likes of LSU and Ohio State.
Standing 6-feet tall and 182-pounds, Brown is listed as a five-star prospect per and the No. 1 overall prospect in the state of Texas.

With his verbal pledge to the Crimson Tide, Tony Brown becomes the 24th commitment in respect to Alabama's 2014 signing class.