Jan 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detailed view of Alabama Crimson Tide player helmets on the ground after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 CFP national championship college football game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Five-star QB Ty Simpson commits to Alabama

Five-star quarterback prospect Ty Simpson committed to Alabama.

The 6-foot-2 Simpson, from Martin, Tenn., is ranked as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2022. He had scholarship offers from more than 30 Power Five programs, plus Notre Dame.

He chose Alabama over finalists Tennessee, Ole Miss and Clemson.

“Roll Tide!!,” he posted to Twitter on Friday, along with a short video, in making his announcement.

His father, Jason Simpson, is the head coach at Tennessee-Martin.

At Westview High School last season, the younger Simpson passed for 1,888 yards with 20 touchdowns and four interceptions. He ran for 311 yards and four touchdowns.

The Crimson Tide added four-star quarterback Jalen Milroe of Texas in the 2021 class.

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NFL pro day schedule: Alabama in spotlight March 23

Dec 29, 2019; Denver, Colorado, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams (16) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Scouts can roll into Alabama to check out the sterling Crimson Tide draft class on March 23.

With the NFL Scouting Combine shuttered this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prospects entered in the 2021 NFL Draft expect heightened scrutiny at pro day workouts held on their college campuses.

Presumptive No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence moved up his own workout this month at the suggestion of new Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer. The Clemson quarterback underwent left shoulder surgery and the early pro day cleared his schedule for recovery.

Clemson’s pro day will be held on March 11.

The national champion Crimson Tide could challenge the draft record of six first-round picks that was set by Miami (Fla.) in 2004. Alabama’s list of prized prospects includes wide receive DeVonta Smith, running back Najee Harris, cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood, linebacker Dylan Moses and defensive lineman LaBryan Ray.

Smith won the Heisman Trophy and scorched Ohio State in the first half of the CFP national championship game before exiting in the third quarter with a hand injury.

He attended the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., but did not make himself available for workouts or official measurements.

Smith is widely viewed as an expected top-10 pick.

Quarterback Mac Jones is another draft-eligible option from Alabama and some pundits have the him projected to be selected in the first round.

Jones will be competing for attention with the likes of North Dakota State’s Trey Lance (whose pro day is scheduled for March 12), BYU’s Zach Wilson (March 26) and Ohio State’s Justin Fields (March 30).

Below is a list of known pro days released by the NFL on Wednesday:

March 5

March 9
Kansas State

March 10

March 11

March 12
Arkansas State
North Dakota State

March 15
Kent State
Middle Tennessee State

March 16
Georgia Tech

March 17
San Jose State

March 18
Central Arkansas
Louisiana Tech
West Virginia

March 19

March 22
Air Force
Bowling Green
Colorado State
Florida State

March 23
Central Michigan
Iowa State

March 24
Michigan State
Mississippi State
South Carolina

March 25
Georgia Southern
North Texas
Penn State
San Diego State
Western Michigan

March 26
Boston College
South Dakota State
Virginia Tech

March 29
Arizona State
Miami (Ohio)
North Carolina
Washington State

March 30
East Carolina
Florida Atlantic
North Carolina State
Ohio State
Texas A&M

March 31
Boise State
Notre Dame
Wake Forest

April 1
North Carolina-Charlotte
Oklahoma State
Oregon State
South Florida
Western Kentucky

April 2

April 7
Texas Tech

April 9
Ball State

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detailed view of Alabama Crimson Tide player helmets on the ground after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 CFP national championship college football game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former Alabama DL Lorenzo Washington dies at 34

Former Alabama defensive lineman Lorenzo Washington has died. He was 34.

Alabama announced Washington’s passing on Monday but didn’t release a cause of death.

“We are devastated to hear of the passing of Lorenzo Washington,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Zo’s family, friends and teammates. He was an integral part of our 2009 national championship team, a wonderful son, father, friend and a loved teammate.”

Washington played for the Crimson Tide from 2007-09, including starting every game for the 14-0 team in 2009 that beat Texas to win the national championship.

Washington had 21 tackles and two sacks in 2009, part of a career in which he posted 69 tackles (12 for losses) and six sacks in 40 games while splitting time at tackle and end.

Washington was not selected in the 2010 NFL Draft and never played in an NFL game. He was signed by four different teams over the next three seasons.

He was signed by the Dallas Cowboys after the draft and released three months later. Washington spent time on the New England Patriots’ practice squad later in the 2010 season.

Washington was signed by the New York Jets in January of 2011 and spent the offseason with the club before being released shortly before the start of the season.

He also spent time on the Detroit Lions practice squad in 2012.

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban celebrates after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama closes National Signing Day with record-setting class

National champion Alabama regained the title of No. 1 football recruiting class on National Signing Day on Wednesday, topping Ohio State.

The Crimson Tide have had the top-rated class in the nation in three of the past five years, according to national recruiting service 247Sports. The crown has been in Tuscaloosa in the odd-numbered years, with Georgia taking the title in 2018 and ‘20.

The bulk of the players nationally were signed in the early signing period in late December, with a few top players left to announce their choices on Wednesday.

The 247Sports Composite Team Rankings give a score to each team’s class, and Alabama set a record with a 327.91 score, besting the record of 324.67, set in 2010 by Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators.

Alabama cemented the record with the signing of a pair of blue-chip prospects on Wednesday: Camar Wheaton of Garland, Texas, a five-star signee who is ranked as the No. 2 running back in the nation, and four-star safety Terrion Arnold of Tallahassee, Fla. Arnold is the No. 3-ranked player at his position, per the 247Sports composite.

“We’re obviously very excited to have two additional guys to add to the class of people who signed in December,” Saban said.

In all, his class consists of 27 commits, including seven five-star prospects. Arnold and cornerback Ga’Quincy McKinstry, who signed in December, both are expected to play basketball for Alabama, too.

“We don’t have an issue with guys playing other sports,” Saban said, adding he and basketball coach Nate Oats “have a good idea of how we’re going to do it.”

Following Alabama in the ranking were perennial powers Ohio State (309.49 points), Georgia (294.55), LSU (291.37) and Clemson (291.20).

Ohio State’s class didn’t add any signees on Wednesday, but coach Ryan Day undoubtedly will be satisfied with the 21 commits — including five, five-star prospects — already signed.

The biggest signings of the day, other than from Alabama, came in the next group of five teams.

No. 6 Oregon inked Avante Dickerson of Omaha, Neb., the No. 8-ranked cornerback in the nation. He’s one of 19 four-star recruits for the Ducks, who finished No. 11 in the team rankings in 2020.

No. 7 Texas A&M added the nation’s No. 4 running back, LJ Johnson of Cypress, Texas. No. 8 Southern California picked up Raesjon Davis, the fourth-ranked outside linebacker in the country from area powerhouse Mater Dei.

Notre Dame finished in the No. 9 spot after falling to No. 18 in the Class of 2020.

Michigan, which signed coach Jim Harbaugh to a contract extension last month, closed out signing day with the No. 10 class after flipping a pair of players previously committed to other programs.

The Wolverines convinced Rayshaun Benny, a four-star in-state defensive tackle, to decommit from Michigan State. They also signed defensive tackle Ikechukwu Iwunnah from Garland, Texas, who initially committed to Colorado.

The other significant signing of the day belonged to Ole Miss, which inked Tywone Malone of New Jersey, the nation’s sixth-ranked defensive tackle. Coach Lane Kiffin’s Rebels finished with the No. 18 class in the country, up from No. 34 in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Heisman-winning WR DeVonta Smith skips Senior Bowl measurements

A scale and measuring tape became the big story at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday in Mobile, Ala.

Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith of Alabama, participating in the draft prospect event along with multiple Crimson Tide players, opted not to have official height and weight measurements taken on Tuesday.

Smith, listed at 6-1, 175 pounds on the Alabama roster, said he will wait until the Alabama pro day in March to have those measurements recorded.

Size is the critical question for evaluators attempting to make an appraisal of Smith’s NFL value. He is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2021 draft and is Field Level Media’s top-rated wide receiver.

Smith is not participating in on-field workouts after injuring his pointer finger in the national championship game earlier this month.

Entering the NFL at 170-175 pounds is not unprecedented, and recent examples include Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs. But Smith also was clocked at 4.21 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the South Alabama pro day.

Smith caught 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns as a senior at Alabama. Smith also led the team in receptions last season, when he opted not to enter the 2020 NFL Draft but watched teammates Henry Ruggs (12th overall, Las Vegas Raiders) and Jerry Jeudy (15th, Denver Broncos) be selected in the first round.

One of the NFL’s all-time great wide receivers, Marvin Harrison of the Indianapolis Colts, measured at 6-0, 181 pounds at the Scouting Combine. The 13-year pro was drafted 19th overall in 1996 and elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone on the bench during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Alabama to hire Doug Marrone to coach OL

Former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone is joining Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama, AL.com reported Wednesday.

Marrone will serve as offensive line coach, becoming the second former NFL head coach on the offensive staff. The Crimson Tide’s new offensive coordinator reportedly is former Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien, although his hiring has not been announced officially.

Marrone was fired in Jacksonville on Jan. 4 after the Jaguars finished the 2020 season with a 1-15 record.

The Jaguars went 23-43 in four-plus seasons under Marrone.

Marrone previously coached the Buffalo Bills (2013-14) and was head coach at Syracuse (2009-12). He had a 25-25 record with the Orange.

The openings on Alabama’s staff came about when Texas hired Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian as its head coach. He took offensive line coach Kyle Flood with him.

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama QB Mac Jones wins Manning Award

Alabama’s Mac Jones on Tuesday was named the winner of the 2020 Manning Award, presented to the nation’s top quarterback.

The redshirt junior guided the No. 1 Crimson Tide (13-0) to the College Football Playoff national championship, completing 77.4 percent of his passes for 4,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Jones, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting (won by teammate DeVonta Smith), declared for the 2021 NFL Draft last week.

The Manning Award, presented annually since 2004 by the Sugar Bowl committee, was created to honor the college football accomplishments of Archie Manning and his sons, Peyton and Eli.

“It was quite a year for Mac Jones and the Alabama football team,” Archie Manning said in a release. “We had a lot of outstanding quarterbacks around the country, but I don’t think any player directed his offense as efficiently and as effectively as Mac.”

The other finalists this year included Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Notre Dame’s Ian Book and Florida’s Kyle Trask.

Jones is the first Alabama quarterback to win the award, which went to LSU’s Joe Burrow in 2019.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; The Marshall Thundering Herd logo is seen on a pylon in the end zone before a game against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Marshall to hire Alabama assistant Charles Huff as coach

Marshall is in the process of hiring Alabama running backs coach Charles Huff as its new head coach, according to multiple reports.

Huff’s hiring is expected to be discussed and approved by the university’s board of governors on Monday. Huff also had the associate head coach label at Alabama and would become the 12th current Black head coach at the FBS level.

The 37-year-old Huff will replace Doc Holliday, who was let go after 11 seasons with the Thundering Herd.

Huff is the second Alabama assistant to land a head job in recent weeks. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is the new coach at Texas.

The Crimson Tide averaged 48.5 points while going 13-0 this season. Alabama rolled to a 52-24 victory over Ohio State in the College Football Playoff title game earlier this week.

Huff just finished his second season with the Crimson Tide. Among his college assistant stops was Penn State (2014-17), where he was the position coach of All-American back Saquon Barkley. He also was the assistant running backs coach for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills in 2012.

Huff has drawn rave reviews for his recruiting throughout a college coaching career that began in 2006. He played college football at Hampton and was the team’s starting center in 2005.

Holliday compiled an 85-54 record after taking over the Huntington, W.Va., program in 2010, including a 6-2 record in bowl games and three straight 10-win seasons from 2013-15.

This season, the Thundering Herd went 7-3 and were ranked as high as No. 15. Holliday was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year for the second time.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) and Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrate a touchdown pass from Jones to Smith at Bryant-Denny Stadium during the second half of Alabama's 41-0 win over Mississippi State. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Mac Jones leads Alabama foursome entering NFL draft

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones joined fellow teammates wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, cornerback Patrick Surtain II and defensive lineman Christian Barmore in declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday.

Barmore played as a redshirt sophomore while the other three are juniors, all announcing during a press conference their intent to forego their senior seasons to enter the NFL.

All are expected to be taken in the first round. Along with senior running back Najee Harris and Heisman Trophy winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith, the Tide could have six players selected in the first round on April 29 in Cleveland.

Jones completed his first full season as Alabama’s starting quarterback as a redshirt junior and threw for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns. Jones won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Davey O’Brian Award.

“I played every role you can imagine from scout team to starter to national champion,” Jones said Thursday. “… I’m really looking forward to this next opportunity.”

Surtain, whose father, Patrick, played 11 seasons in the NFL, was a unanimous All-American and the Defensive MVP in Alabama’s win over Notre Dame in the CFP semifinals.

“Since I was a kid, my life-long dream was to play in the NFL and with much thought and consideration with my family and prayer I am announcing that I am declaring for the 2021 NFL draft,” Surtain said Thursday.

Barmore recorded 37 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks – good for second in the SEC — six quarterback hurries, three pass breakups and three forced fumbles this season.

Waddle missed most of the season with a fractured ankle but caught 28 passes for 591 yards and four touchdowns and averaged 21.11 yards per reception in six games.

The Tide defeated Ohio State to win another national championship earlier this week.

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA;  Alabama offensive lineman Chris Owens (79), Alabama offensive lineman Seth McLaughlin (56), Alabama offensive lineman Landon Dickerson (69) and Alabama offensive lineman Darrian Dalcourt (71) wait in the tunnel with Alabama offensive line coach Kyle Flood before the College Football Playoff National Championship in Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Texas will hire Alabama’s Kyle Flood as OC

Kyle Flood reportedly is following Steve Sarkisian from Alabama to Texas.

Flood, the offensive line coach for the national champion Crimson Tide, will join Sarkisian’s staff in Austin as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, ESPN reported Wednesday night.

Sarkisian was hired by Texas to be its new head coach earlier this month, but he didn’t leave his job as Alabama’s offensive coordinator until after the Crimson Tide routed Ohio State 52-24 on Monday in the College Football Playoff national championship game at Miami Garden, Fla.

Per ESPN, Sarkisian is expected to call the plays for the Longhorns.

Flood has worked under Sarkisian in each of the past four years. In 2017 and ’18, Sarkisian was the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator and Flood was the club’s assistant offensive line coach. The past two years, Flood handled offensive line duties for Sarkisian and head coach Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa.

Flood, 49, was the head coach at Rutgers from 2012-15. He produced a 27-24 record and three bowl appearances in his four seasons.

Before leading the Scarlet Knights, Flood was a Rutgers assistant coach from 2005-11 following assistant-coaching stints at C.W. Post, Hofstra and Delaware.

The Longhorns went 7-3 in the just-concluded season, including a 55-23 rout of Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. Tom Herman, who went 32-18 as Texas’ head coach, including a 4-0 bowl record in his four seasons on the job, was fired Jan. 2.

–Field Level Media