Alabama Crimson Tide: Georgia football

DBs from SEC blanket combine

February, 22, 2013
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Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites took a look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins today in Indianapolis, and other predraft camps. Click here to read the entire predraft series. Today: Defensive backs and special teams.

Alabama Crimson Tide


It's hard to imagine that the Alabama secondary in 2011 yielded five NFL prospects. Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and De'Quan Menzie were all drafted a year ago. Dee Milliner and Robert Lester stuck around and won one more ring before hanging it up in 2013.

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SEC's DLs, LBs strong at combine

February, 21, 2013
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Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites will look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins Friday in Indianapolis, and other predraft camps. Today: Defensive linemen and linebackers.

Alabama Crimson Tide


Alabama's front seven was rock solid and had a distinctive rock-n-roll flair in nose guard Jesse Williams. Though the Crimson Tide defense lacked a true superstar, Williams' Mohawk haircut, countless tattoos and colorful face paint made the unit stand out.
  • DT Jesse Williams (Position rank: No. 8)
    Strengths: Like his counterpart on the middle of the Alabama offensive line, Barrett Jones, Williams is nothing if not versatile. He played both defensive end and nose guard at UA and possesses the type of strength and quickness that would allow him to do the same at the next level.
    Weaknesses: While Williams is above average in defending the run and the pass, he's not superb at either. His production at Alabama was less than ideal, which can be attributed to the scheme on defense, but a lack of sacks and tackles for loss highlight an inability to consistently rush the passer.
    Comparable: In terms of versatility and athleticism, he is similar to Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams.
  • ILB Nico Johnson (Position rank: No. 8)
    Strengths: Johnson -- who no longer is scheduled to attend the combine -- has the look of an NFL linebacker at 6-foot-2 and 249 pounds. He is a solid wrap-up tackler with good instincts. The fact that he has had no off-field trouble or injury concerns will only help his draft stock.
    Weaknesses: The emergence of C.J. Mosley hurt Johnson in 2012. When Alabama had to defend multiple-receiver looks, Johnson often came off the field in favor of Mosley. Johnson is built for run support, but his lack of athleticism hurts in terms of being an every-down linebacker.
    Comparable: Johnson looks and plays like New Orleans Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton. Both are sure tacklers with good instincts getting between the tackles and getting to the ball carrier.
  • DE Quinton Dial (Position rank: No. 27)
    Strengths: Every so often an Alabama player doesn't hit his potential until he has left college. Dial might be one of those guys. The big, thick defensive end has the raw size (6-foot-5, 307 pounds) and skill to play at the next level and will likely do well in team workouts leading up to the draft.
    Weaknesses: A lack of production at Alabama will create a glass ceiling for Dial. While scouts can fall in love with measurables, they still want to see the talent on tape.
    Comparable: Dial could learn a thing or two from Baltimore Ravens defensive end DeAngelo Tyson, who didn't blow away anyone at Georgia, but after being selected late in the seventh round has become a solid contributor. In terms of size, the two compare favorably, as Tyson comes in at 6-foot-2, 315 pounds.
  • Damion Square (Position rank: No. 29)
    Strengths: Square isn't going to light up the scoreboard with sacks or tackles for loss, but he's consistent. Under coach Nick Saban's watchful eye, Square developed into a solid defender against the run and pass, and understands the idea of gap-assignment football.
    Weaknesses: Simply put, Square doesn't possess the necessary athleticism to get drafted. If there is a player hurt most by missing out on the Senior Bowl, it's him.
    Comparable: N/A

Florida Gators


The heart of the Gators’ 2012 defense will participate in the combine today. DT Sharrif Floyd, whose stock is rising rapidly as he is projected to be taken as high as No. 3, had a fantastic season and anchored UF’s front. He dominated Florida State’s front, and his mixture of size, strength and quickness has scouts drooling. ILB Jon Bostic started every game the past two seasons and was UF’s leader on defense. Nobody was more dependable than Bostic. OLB Jelani Jenkins was limited in 2012 because of a broken finger, a strained hamstring and a broken foot, but when healthy he’s a solid player. OLB Lerentee McCray was forced into action at the buck position (hybrid end/linebacker) because of the injury to Ronald Powell. He didn’t produce big numbers but was a high-effort, high-motor guy.

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OLs from SEC can thrive at combine

February, 20, 2013
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Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites will look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins Friday in Indianapolis, and other predraft camps. Today: Offensive linemen.

Alabama Crimson Tide


It's only fitting that the best offensive line in college football would produce some of the most intriguing prospects in the NFL draft. Alabama will likely have three offensive linemen taken in the first few rounds in April, further proof of the talent that resided in Tuscaloosa this past season.

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SEC sends several RBs to NFL combine

February, 19, 2013
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Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites will look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins Friday in Indianapolis. Today: Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.

LSU Tigers


Perhaps it says something about LSU's offense in 2012 that among a record 13 players invited to the NFL combine from the Tigers, only two are offensive skill players who are generally considered, at this point, marginal talents. Running backs Spencer Ware and Michael Ford are the only skill players invited to Indianapolis, which is understandable when one considers LSU was 10th in the SEC in total offense. It's also a sign of youth. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger, fullback J.C. Copeland, running back Jeremy Hill and all of LSU's primary threats at wide receiver will return in 2013.

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Title in hand, LB Thomas sets visits 

January, 2, 2013
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Five-star linebacker Matthew Thomas (Miami, Fla./Booker T. Washington) said he wanted to win a state championship before he would deal with his recruitment.

Four-star Conner plans decision, visits 

December, 30, 2012
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- ESPN 150 safety Antonio Conner (Batesville, Miss./South Panola) is set to make his decision at the Under Armour All-America Game on Friday. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound athlete will choose between Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU and Georgia.

Despite making a decision, Conner plans to take all five official visits.


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2014 QB Tyler Harris close to first offer 

December, 29, 2012
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ATLANTA -- Although 2014 quarterback Tyler Harris (Blackshear, Ga./Pierce County) doesn’t have any scholarship offers yet, he’s hoping his performance this week at the Georgia Junior Bowl will turn some heads and possibly even earn him his first offer.

“I think as far as media goes, there’s not a greater place to come than here because you’ve got all of these great companies working to get your name out there,” Harris said.

“For me, one thing I need to work on as far as getting recruiting is being under center, so coming here and learning to take a snap from under center and doing my drops, it’s really going to help me out in the future.”

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3 Up, 3 Down: Alabama 32, Georgia 28 

December, 2, 2012
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ATLANTA -- A look at the good and bad from Alabama's four-point win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

THREE UP
1. Downhill running: When Alabama wanted to run the ball, there was nothing Georgia could do about it. The offensive line was punishing, pushing the line of scrimmage 3, 4 and 5 yards at a time. All Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon had to do then was find a hole and run through it. Alabama set an SEC title game record with 350 yards rushing with Lacy accounting for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Yeldon's 154 yards was just enough to get the freshman to 1,000 for the season.

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DawgNation's David Ching and TideNation's Alex Scarborough take a look at Alabama and Georgia position-by-position as Saturday's SEC championship game between the second-ranked Crimson Tide (11-1) and third-ranked Bulldogs (11-1) approaches.

QUARTERBACK
Alabama: It's hard to believe AJ McCarron is only a junior starting in his first SEC Championship. It seems like so long ago that he took over the reins from Greg McElroy and became the first underclassman to start and win the BCS National Championship Game. He learned how to treat big games like any other. The let-it-rip attitude has paid off this season as he ranks No. 2 in the country in passing efficiency while setting a school record for touchdown passes in a season.
Georgia: Junior Aaron Murray has already put together one of the best seasons in school history. Last week he became the first player in SEC history to pass for 3,000-plus yards in three straight seasons and tied Peyton Manning for second in career touchdown passes with 89. The national leader in passing efficiency (177.15), he has thrown 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The big question against Alabama, however, is whether Murray can play loose enough to be effective. He struggled against South Carolina and Florida, with one touchdown and four interceptions.

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Five storylines: Alabama vs. Georgia 

November, 29, 2012
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- In advance of Saturday's SEC Championship Game played between No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia, let's look at five key storylines for the Crimson Tide.

1. A return to the Georgia Dome with everything on the line: It's hard to believe it's been three years since Alabama was last in the Georgia Dome competing for the SEC title. It went well in 2009, and the hope around Tuscaloosa is history repeats itself. "It's a real opportunity, I think, for our players," UA coach Nick Saban said on Monday. "The SEC championship game is a great competitive venue." How Alabama handles the environment will be important. The Tide have played in big games like this before, but not one that so directly affects the rest of the season. Win and they're off to Miami for the BCS National Championship Game. Lose and kiss any BCS bowl goodbye.

2. Getting to Murray: Give Aaron Murray time to pass and he'll pick you apart. "If we let him sit back in the pocket, he can hurt you," UA linebacker Nico Johnson explained. "It has shown all year." The senior has struggled in big games (see Florida and South Carolina this year, LSU in 2011) but his career numbers are undeniable. He's never thrown for fewer than 3,000 yards and has averaged more than 30 touchdowns a season. Getting in his face and disrupting his timing will be a monumental task for Alabama's front seven, something it has struggled to do consistently this season.

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Uptempo passers find success vs. Bama 

November, 27, 2012
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Every piece of analysis builds the fortress that is the Alabama defense. Brick by brick, it grows.

You can't run through it. The rush defense trails only Stanford for the best in the country. Nose guard Jesse Williams is not a man you want to meet in a dark alley. There's no getting by his 6-foot-4, 320-pound frame.

You can't throw around it, either. The pass defense is good enough for third overall. Cornerback Dee Milliner knocks down passes like a game of Whac-a-Mole. The ball-hawking junior is poised to become a first-round pick in next year's NFL Draft.

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ESPN 150 RB Greg Bryant talks favorites 

September, 9, 2012
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SEFFNER, Fla. -- Four-star running back Greg Bryant (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage) led his team Friday night to a 36-28 upset win over Seffner (Fla.) Armwood, the top-ranked school in class 6A.

The 5-foot-11, 197-pound totaled 44 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and added an acrobatic 52-yard reception. Bryant, whose two touchdowns went for 25 and 3 yards, also played defensive back for the Stallions in the second half.

As for recruiting, Bryant says South Carolina, Auburn and Georgia stand out, and now there is a new team in the mix for the talented running back.

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Haney: Potential breakout players in 2012 

August, 29, 2012
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Every season the stars of college football change. The crop is turned over and we meet the new faces of the sport. Sometimes those players jump out and surprise us, rising from part-time role players to the feature of an offense or defense. Who will those players be in 2012? Travis Haney looks at 30 potential breakout players this season.

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5-star OT Laremy Tunsil names officials 

August, 8, 2012
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Schools are fighting to get in with five-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia), but only five programs will be lucky enough to host the No. 3 prospect in the country for an official visit this fall.

“I will be taking official visits to Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss and USC,” Tunsil said.

Three of the programs made the cut because of their history.

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Top LB Matthew Thomas steady with FSU 

July, 27, 2012
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Matthew Thomas (Miami/Booker T. Washington) recently named Florida State his leader, and as he arrived Friday at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the Champion Gridiron Kings event, his recruitment remains unchanged.

"I am still open, but Florida State is still my leader," Thomas said. "They told me I could come in and compete for a starting job my freshman year. After them it is Alabama, Georgia, USC and Miami."


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SEC SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
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Friday, 12/26
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