Joe Mussatto/SEC Country
Collin Sexton, a former 5-star recruit and current Alabama point guard, is already drawing compliments from coach Avery Johnson.

Alabama basketball: Collin Sexton draws early plaudits; football players make watch lists

Welcome to The Rammer Jammer, SEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap. Today, we look at more watch list honors for Alabama players and early good signs from Collin Sexton.

Watch the throne

The latest round of preseason watch lists saluted a pair of Alabama players. Calvin Ridley was named to the 45-man list for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the top wide receiver in the nation. Amari Cooper won the award in 2014. Minkah Fitzpatrick was named to the short list for the Wuerffel Trophy, given annually to a player who “combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.” Fitzpatrick is a regular mentor for Tuscaloosa-area youth, a veteran of mission trips and one of the top defensive backs in the country.

According to SEC Country columnist Andrew Astleford, Jalen Hurts could be on the biggest watch list of them all. A handful of Alabama players made a different kind of list: the best the stars of the SEC have ever faced. 

Countdown to kickoff

The days tick by and the features continue to roll in. Charlie Potter of BamaOnline named a promising linebacker his 13th-most important player of the season and his overview of the entire roster touched on the core of the offensive line. 

While we’re looking ahead, here’s some things to keep an eye on out of Baton Rouge. And if you’re a gambling type, the first odds out of Vegas have Alabama as an overwhelming favorite to win the SEC.

Buckle up

The expectations are high for Sexton. He’s meant to be the savior of one of the most successful basketball programs in SEC history without having played a minute of college basketball. He’s possibly the best recruit in program history and could be the first of many one-and-dones to come. So, there is some measure of relief when coach Avery Johnson talks about his new player as a game changer for his offense.

From Potter’s story:

“We need that energy, we need the communication,” Johnson said Tuesday. “My team last year was one of the quietest teams I’ve ever seen in my life. I often told them, ‘You can’t text on the basketball court; you have to talk.’ So, I love Collin’s energy. He talks a lot on the floor in a positive way. Every drill he takes very seriously. He has a professionalism about him where he’s laser-focused.”

Built by Bama

ArDarius Stewart paid a portion of his first NFL contract forward, donating $15,000 of uniforms and equipment to Fultondale High School, his alma mater. The highlight of his generosity was a state-of-the-art helmet option for the players, designed to minimize the effects of head impacts.

Start spreading the news

Former Alabama pitcher David Robertson is headed to the Yankees after a night of swirling rumors culminated in his trade. Robertson returns to the Yankees, with whom he spent seven years setting up for and succeeding legendary closer Mariano Rivera. What followed was a massive $46 million contract. Robertson has a 2.7o ERA and 40 percent ground ball rate this season.

Tweet through it

Johnson took a pie to the face for charity, following in his athletic director’s footsteps:

And best wishes to this Million Dollar Band couple on their marriage.

Miss a previous edition? Find every installment of SEC Country’s daily Alabama newsletter right here.