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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama’s Bryce Young looks to sweep some ESPYs to go along with his All-American hardware

With July 4th coming up this weekend, we are really getting into the deadest part of the football offseason. The Tide secured a couple of commitments from Tony Mitchell and Brayson Hubbard last weekend after Alabama wrapped up all of their June camps, and then got the pledge from JUCO LB Justin Jefferson last night. After this, though, the coaching staff enters into a mandated dead period in recruiting. We may still get some commits throughout July, but don’t expect any official visitors making their way to Tuscaloosa.

Speaking of Mitchell, here’s an article featuring an interview with former Alabama safety Justin Woodall, who’s been training Mitchell for a while now:

Mitchell’s tried to get lighter on his feet and break quicker on routes. Woodall has also tried to go over collegiate gameplans, dating back to his time with the Tide. It’s a similar training he’s done with Alabama junior and former Hewitt-Trussville standout Malachi Moore. Many officials and trainers have also lauded Thompson’s coaching and playbook for preparing players for the next level and Mitchell is no different. He’s able to bounce around a formation and showcase his versatility.

“We’ve been working a lot of press, kick-slide stuff. At Bama and everywhere the kick-slide is very popular. It’s hard to learn as a freshman and try to get that rhythm at full speed. That and a scooch technique if he needs to play in the slot,” Woodall said.

The 5-star has spent time at cornerback, the slot, and safety and is known for being a college-ready player, schematically with a whole lot of tackling power in a 6’2” frame. Might he be viewed as the heir apparent to Brian Branch at Star?

Bryce Young’s full 2021 season, as well as his come-from-behind performance in the Iron Bowl, are among the nominees for a pair of 2022 ESPYs, ESPN announced on Tuesday morning.

The Alabama quarterback is one of four players nominated for the best college athlete in men’s sports, along with Georgetown’s Dante Polvara (soccer), Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren (basketball) and Maryland’s Logan Wisnauskas (lacrosse). Young’s rally against Auburn to win the Iron Bowl in quadruple overtime is also nominated for best game of the year for 2021-22.

Bryce has been nominated for the best college athlete in men’s sports as well as his comeback over Auburn being nominated for the best game.

In case you needed a reminder, here’s your homework video to watch on this Gump Day:

This one will never get old.

Walter Camp has released their Preseason All-America team, and Alabama made some appearances:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Three Alabama football players were named to the 2022 Walter Camp Preseason All-America Team, the Walter Camp Football Foundation announced on Monday.

Will Anderson Jr. (linebacker) and Eli Ricks (defensive back) earned first-team honors on defense with Bryce Young (quarterback) getting first-team recognition on the offensive side. The three student-athletes are part of 50 total named to the Walter Camp Preseason All-America Team which is comprised of 25 players apiece on the first and second teams.

I’ve really found it funny how much national love Eli Ricks has been getting this offseason, and, as of yet, hasn’t even won a starting job in Alabama’s secondary. I expect he will win the job, but it’s just kind of funny.

Next, here’s a fun piece to take you down memory lane:

— Javier Arenas holds the SEC record for career punt return touchdowns with seven from 2006-09.

— Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa are No. 1 and No. 2 in SEC history in a few categories:

Season yards per play. Jones is No. 1 with 10.33 in 2020 followed by Tagovailoa at 10.09 in 2018. Rex Grossman is No. 3 with 9.10 in 2001.

Career completion percentage. Jones topped it at 74.3% while Tagovailoa was No. 2 at 69.3%. Johnny Manziel was third at 68.9%.

Career passing efficiency: Tagovailoa is No. 1 with 199.5%. Jones is next at 197.6 while Joe Burrow is No. 3 at 173.2.

— Derrick Henry and Najee Harris are No. 1 and No. 2 in SEC season rushing touchdowns. Henry had 28 in 2015 and Harris had 26 in 2020.

Shaun Alexander’s 14.6 yards per attempt vs LSU back in 1996 still really stands out to me. It even dwarves Najee Harris’s 11.3 yards per attempt vs Ole Miss in 2020 when the Rebels and Tide mutually agreed to not play defense for a night.

In gymnastics news, Alabama has added former Olympian Justin Spring as an assistant coach:

A member of the United States’ bronze-medal winning Olympic squad, Spring joins the Crimson Tide staff following his 12th season as the head coach of the Illinois men’s team and 16th season overall with the Illinois coaching staff. He was named National Coach of the Year in 2012 after guiding Illinois to its 10th NCAA Championship. At 28, he was the youngest coach in NCAA history to earn National Coach of the Year honors. He led Illinois to 11 top-six finishes at the NCAA Championships, including the 2012 title, as well as four Big Ten titles with the latest coming in 2018.

Spring comes with a massive pedigree as both a gymnast and a coach… Though his experience has been all with men’s gym so far. It’s going to be a bit of an experiment if his expertise translates over to the women’s game, but it’s definitely a hire with a lot of upside.

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