Let me start off by saying I'm not going to be addressing the Marcel Dareus issue directly right now. I have a lot to say about it, but I'm going to hold off until after Nick Saban takes the podium at SEC Media Days this afternoon. I've come across some good information on the subject in the past 12 hours or so, but the best source is going to be the school, and I imagine this just became Topic #1 that Saban will be grilled about today. So, sorry to disappoint. Hang in there, I may be back with that later today or tomorrow.
Instead, I'm going to take a moment to wrap up all the stuff I had intended to write about today before this story broke. After that, we'll be free to talk about Dareus and What Happened In Miami till our hearts are content. No doubt that's going to dominate the headlines at least until fall camp starts.
--Good news first! The coaches' All-SEC team came out yesterday, and Alabama led the way with 6 first team selections. They were:
RB Mark Ingram
WR Julio Jones
OL Barrett Jones
DL Marcell Dareus (It was a really great day for him until about 5pm central...)
LB Dont'a Hightower
S Mark Barron
I'm guessing there's a lot of whining out there among rival fans about Julio's inclusion on the first team after an underwhelming 09 season, but too bad. Regardless of what his individual statistical production was last year, the fact that he made the list tells you all you need to know: other coaches fear him.
Perhaps the most significant thing to take from that list is that all 6 were members of the heralded 2008 recruiting class, which continues to live up to the hype. All will be eligible to enter the NFL Draft after this season, and I may have a blog on the Class of 08 as they look ahead to the Draft as the season gets closer.
Bama also added 3 more players to the Second Team with QB Greg McElroy, RB Trent Richardson, and OL James Carpenter. With 6 players finding themselves ranked in the SEC two-deep on offense by the coaches, you can understand why there's so much enthusiasm about the Bama offense this year.
--Last time I did a Bric-A-Brac, I said I expected recruiting to slow down a bit, with the qualifier that something big would probably happen just because I said that. And it did.
On Monday, Alabama picked up a commitment from Ohio offensive lineman Ryan Kelly. He's listed as a 3* prospect by Rivals, but he holds a top-notch offer list, including Florida, Florida State, Michigan, and Tennessee. Kelly is listed as a Center by the recruiting services (ranked #6 at that position by Rivals), but he has played all 3 OL positions in high school and likely projects as a guard at Alabama. However, Kelly stands 6'5" and weighs 290 pounds, which leads me to believe he has a lot of upside in terms of his ability to put on some additional weight and possibly play at RT, as well.
Kelly has been described as a great "value" scholarship due to his versatility, and Bama OL coach Joe Pendry loves to cross-train his lineman at multiple positions, so it seems like a great match of player and system.
And Alabama may not be finished with the state of Ohio this summer. Bama is considered the leader for LB Trey DePriest and there's a growing belief that he will announce his commitment before the season starts. So look out for that.
--In a somewhat surprising development, Bama AD Mal Moore is apparently getting a contract extension. With his current contract set to expire next summer, the general assumption was that Moore was winding down his career following the Tide's national championship and the completion of his latest project, the expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium which will take capacity over 100,000. But now it seems Moore is in negotiations to take his leadership past the end of the Mayan calendar.
Its really pretty amazing that the man even got to this point. I mean, yeah, he was a prolific fund raiser, somehow drumming up financial support for two major football expansions in the past 5 years in the midst of a recession (as well as numerous facility upgrades for other sports). But you also have to consider that, since taking the job in November of 2009, this guy presided over, not one, but TWO sets of major NCAA sanctions (one of which is ongoing) and made a string of disastrous football hires (Franchione, Price, and Shula, for the record) and bungled the Rich Rodriguez negotiations in 2006 (not so bad in retrospect, but still) before finally throwing enough money at the best coach in the game to bring him to Tuscaloosa and save his legacy.
Geez, what a decade.
--Finally, in News for the Distant Future, Penn State has already slated its 2011 game against Alabama as its next "White House" game. For those not in the know, the "White House" is when everyone in attendance is expected to wear white. There have only been 3 of these games to date, and there won't be one in 2010. I guess they didn't compare notes with Georgia on the efficacy of fan gimmicks on the Crimson Tide...
Thanks to Kevin for helping me figuring out the Youtube embed. And my sincerest apologies for making this my first use of that knowledge. It just sorta happened.
The ESPN crew was ON FIRE with the crowd reaction shots that night.
Anyway, that's all for now. I'll be back sooner than later with more on Dareus.