Thursday, July 31, 2014

Defensive back Rico McGraw gives verbal to Alabama

Committed to the University of Georgia since January, defensive back Rico McGraw has decided to make a change.

As reported this morning by both Rivals and 247Sports, McGraw has decommitted from Georgia and given his verbal to Alabama for 2015, the 21st commitment for the Crimson Tide.

McGraw, a four-star prospect from Ensworth High School in Nashville, Tennessee, stands 6-feet tall and tops the scale at 190-pounds.
Not long after the news broke concerning McGraw's intentions, Rivals produced an interview with Leigh Ann Clark, McGraw's mother, explaining her son's decision.

In respect to the big picture in terms of Tide recruiting, McGraw is not only the second verbal commitment this week, but also the second recruit to seek greener pastures. Safety Ronnie Harrison, originally committed to North Carolina, gave his verbal pledge to Alabama on Tuesday.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Alabama will begin preseason camp with new resolve

In less than 48 hours, the 2014 edition of the Alabama Crimson Tide will hit the field for the start of preseason camp.

While many questions and concerns will be in the air once camp begins, issues that will be addressed in future blog posts, the initial reaction seems to just be that of excitement. Football season has arrived, and that's enough for now.
In typical opening day fashion, two distinct practice sessions will be held on Friday. The first session, set to begin at 9 a.m., will feature the veteran cast, while the second practice, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., will feature the Tide newcomers.

"Fan Day" 2014

Alabama will once again hold court on Saturday in terms of practice, while Sunday will be dedicated to the annual "Fan Day" experience.

The Sunday schedule will feature media obligations for various members of the Alabama coaching staff, followed by a 2:30 p.m. practice session which will be open to the public. At the conclusion of practice, as is customary, fans will be able to get autographs from the 2014 edition of the Crimson Tide football team.

Season preview

The month of August on The Crimson Elephant will be a mixed bag of practice and scrimmage reports as well as unit-by-unit position breakdowns.

As one would obviously expect, the month will culminate with a preview of the West Virginia Mountaineers and postgame commentary of the August 30 contest at the Georgia Dome.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ronnie Harrison gives verbal to Alabama

Originally committed to the University of North Carolina, four-star safety Ronnie Harrison has had a change of heart.

Going public with his new intentions, the pride of Tallahassee, Florida has given his verbal commitment to the University of Alabama for 2015.
Standing 6-foot-3 and topping the scale at 205-pounds, Harrison selected the Crimson Tide over the aforementioned North Carolina as well as LSU. Harrison has visited the Alabama campus on two occasions.
Per various recruiting experts, Harrison's latest verbal commitment should be his final verdict in terms of where he'll sign in February, but as we all know, essentially everything is subject to change when it comes to recruiting. Having said that, today is obviously a significant day for Harrison as well as the Crimson Tide program. - the #1 destination for headwear

'Bama signee Montel McBride fails to qualify, JUCO bound

Offensive lineman Montel McBride, who signed with Alabama in February, has failed to qualify for enrollment.

Due to McBride's academic issues, the three-star prospect from Plant City, Florida is now expected to enroll at Iowa Western Community College. McBride becomes the first Alabama signee since Deion Belue in 2010 to fail to meet enrollment standards.
Now that McBride's fate is clear, Alabama now awaits word on the academic standing of running back Bo Scarbrough. Regarded as a five-star prospect, Scarbrough's status should be known within the coming week(s).
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Friday, July 18, 2014

Brandon Kennedy gives verbal to Alabama

On the heels of SEC Media Days, which is essentially the "kickoff party" for the 2014 season, the Alabama Crimson Tide continue to build for 2015.

Brandon Kennedy, one of the most highly touted offensive lineman in the nation, has decided that he'll call the University of Alabama his home for the next few years.
Making his verbal commitment in the form of a press conference, Kennedy, the product of Wetumpka High School in Wetumpka, Alabama, selected the Crimson Tide over the Auburn Tigers.
Listed as a four-star prospect per the 247Sports composite rating system, Kennedy stands 6-foot-2 and tops the scale at 295-pounds.

Joining Lester Cotton, Richie Petitbon, and Dallas Warmack, as noted in the "numbers game" mentioned in the above tweet, Kennedy is the fourth offensive lineman to give his verbal commitment to the Crimson Tide for 2015.

In respect to his overall status, Kennedy is the 20th commitment of said class.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

SEC Media Days 2014: Trio of 'Bama players faced the media

Once Nick Saban concluded his portion of SEC Media Days at the main podium, most all of the attention shifted to Alabama player representatives Landon Collins, Amari Cooper, and Christion Jones.

While none of the trio captured the media's attention like AJ McCarron did last July, all three men still garnered plenty of adoration from the Crimson Tide fans in attendance.

As is standard protocol, each player met the media (various outlets) during Alabama's session and responded to an assortment of questions concerning the upcoming season and the current squad.
Collins, Cooper, and senior leader Christion Jones, provided a great deal of content in respect to various issues and expectations regarding the 2014 Crimson Tide.

Individual quotes from each young man will be posted throughout the day at @BamaFootballTCE via Twitter.

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SEC Media Days 2014: Saban takes center stage on final day

University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban addressed the media Thursday afternoon during the final session of SEC Media Days 2014.

As per the usual order of business at the annual media (circus) gathering, Saban began the proceedings with a general statement which touched on several notable issues. Those issues included, but were not limited to, the current "culture" within young people, proper discipline of said young people/players, and the importance of student-athlete development in all aspects of life.

Saban also spoke, just briefly, on life as a grandfather.
Following his opening statement, Saban fielded a plethora of questions from various media members. The questions, as usual, were wide-ranging. While a few questions directly involved the state of the 2014 Alabama football team and program, many covered a broader spectrum relative to SEC and national issues in college football, his interest (or lack thereof) in the Texas job, and topics concerning the NFL.

In respect to disciplinary actions regarding current Tide roster players, Saban noted that running back Kenyan Drake and defensive lineman Jarran Reed have been suspended from team activities, but will be able to return to action once they meet the required (undisclosed) terms.

--Click HERE to read the full transcript--

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SEC Media Days 2014: Alabama crowned king of the SEC

Sportswriters packed the Wynfrey Hotel this week for the 2014 edition of SEC Media Days, and this morning, on the final day of the annual media circus, the SEC “Prom King” and his runners-up were selected.

Below is the projected order of finish for each division, as well as the projected conference champion.

As per usual, using last year as the ideal example, these prognostications could very well provide great fodder come early December.

South Carolina 1,895
Georgia 1,777
Florida 1,362
Missouri 1,263
Tennessee 893
Vanderbilt 619
Kentucky 395


Alabama 1,915
Auburn 1,735
LSU 1,453
Ole Miss 1,069
Miss. State 890
Texas A&M 791
Arkansas 351


Alabama 154
Auburn 75
South Carolina 32
Georgia 19
Ole Miss 2
Arkansas 1
Mississippi State 1

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Alabama/USC should have been a home-and-home series

As documented earlier today per various news outlets, Alabama and USC will clash in Arlington, Texas at the Cowboys Classic to begin the 2016 season.
While Alabama is no stranger to "kickoff" type games, in both Arlington and Atlanta, Georgia, under the cover of the Georgia Dome, I'd love to see a rare moment where the money walks, rather than the logic.

Last month, the Georgia Bulldogs and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish agreed to an on-campus home-and-home series in 2017 and 2019. Upon this news hitting the wire, college football fans all over the nation applauded the move, while commending both schools. Why? Because true college football fans, and college football traditionalists, understand that collegiate games were never meant to be played inside an NFL stadium, a baseball stadium, on the moon, etc.

The almighty dollar has thrown a monkey wrench into tradition. Period.
Alabama/USC is amazing, and I'm certainly looking forward to the game, but I'm not looking forward to the neutral site in Arlington, Texas.

How cool would it have been to see USC come to Tuscaloosa, and then watch the Crimson Tide return the favor and head to Los Angeles to conclude a home-and-home series? Well, you know how cool it would have been. We all know how cool it would have been.

I'm a fan of major non-conference powers going head-to-head, but I'm also a fan of the campus scene.

I'm well aware that "money talks and logic walks," but as mentioned above, I'd love for logic to hang around more often...for the sake of tradition.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Recruiting and legal issues highlight UA's month in review

Before Alabama head coach Nick Saban takes the podium at SEC Media Days, here is a quick "month in review" in terms of the Crimson Tide program.


Verbal commitment Blake Barnett, a dual-threat quarterback from California, stole the show at the high school showcase known as The Opening.

Winning Elite11 quarterback competition MVP honors, Barnett displayed his impressive skill set against the most highly touted high school players in the nation.
UA verbals Lester Cotton and Calvin Ridley were also quite impressive at The Opening.

Click HERE for an article on both Barnett and Ridley.

In respect to the 2016 signing class, the Crimson Tide have received a total of three verbal commitments. All listed as four-star prospects per 247Sports, defensive back Shyheim Carter, defensive tackle Benito Jones, and athlete Demetris Robertson have all pledged to the Tide within the span of five days. Carter and Robertson both committed on the morning of July 15.

Legal issues

Running back Kenyan Drake and defensive lineman Jarran Reed were both arrested earlier this month.

Involved in separate incidents within roughly one week of time, Drake was arrested in the early hours of July 5 and charged with obstructing governmental operations after he crossed police tape in an attempt to retrieve his vehicle.

Reed, a highly touted junior college transfer who signed with the Crimson Tide in February, was arrested July 13 and charged with DUI.

Jersey numbers

If "who's wearing what" is important to you, Alabama has released a jersey numbers listing for all newcomers and any player who changed numbers from last season.

Trophy time

While not directly related to Alabama at this time, here's hoping the piece of hardware pictured below will be of major importance to the Crimson Tide in a matter of months.

Under the new playoff format, the College Football Playoff trophy was officially unveiled earlier this week. Personally, I think it looks like an Olympic torch...
Player representatives

As a quick reminder, the Crimson Tide football team will be represented by Landon Collins, Amari Cooper, and Christion Jones at SEC Media Days this Thursday.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Alabama freshmen who will make an impact in 2014

When it comes to recruiting, Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide have the market cornered.

Signing the No. 1 class in the nation for 2014, 'Bama will rely on several true freshmen to play integral roles this fall.

Whether it be due to lack of depth at certain positions, no proven starter, or simply an individual skill set that can't be held back, here are five notable players who will likely see substantial playing time as true freshmen.

Tony Brown - Defensive Back

As one of the most decorated high school players in the nation, Tony Brown is a five-star talent with a five-star future. After enrolling in January, Brown participated in spring practice in Tuscaloosa and made a major impact. Noted for his athletic ability, size, and great cover skills, Brown has the opportunity to compete for a starting position at defensive back, a position that could use an immediate playmaker.
Da'Shawn Hand - Defensive End

Giving his verbal commitment to the University of Alabama in the fall of 2013, Da'Shawn Hand is one of the Crimson Tide's most coveted players from the 2014 signing class. With his ability to rush the passer, a much needed attribute, Hand has the body type and skill set to play defensive end as well as linebacker. Quite fast for his size, Hand has exhibited similar traits to that of Jadeveon Clowney, the former University of South Carolina defensive monster, and No. 1 selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Barring something unforeseen, expect Da'Shawn Hand to see the field in various capacities as a true freshman.
Marlon Humphrey - Defensive Back

As noted ad nauseam since the day he inked with the Crimson Tide, Marlon Humphrey will arrive in Tuscaloosa with very high expectations. Much like Tony Brown, Humphrey is expected to fill a vital need within the Alabama secondary. With great size, speed, and cover skills, Humphrey has all the physical attributes and intangibles to be a star. The son of Alabama legend Bobby Humphrey, the pride of Hoover, Alabama has the opportunity to make some serious waves this fall.
Cameron Robinson - Offensive Lineman

Every team needs talented "beef" up front, and Cam Robinson has all the makings of a stalwart within the Alabama offensive line. Regarded as one of the top prospects in the nation, Robinson, an early enrollee, impressed the masses with his work in spring practice. With Robinson's size and agility, the five-star talent could very well earn a starting role across the front line once preseason camp comes to a close.
JK Scott - Kicker/Punter

While certainly not the most glamorous position on the field, JK Scott will be an early contributor this season simply because Alabama does not return a proven punter from the 2013 team. With the departure of veteran Cody Mandell due to graduation, the starting job will essentially be Scott's to lose.
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