Alabama football: The rich stay rich

Welcome to The Rammer Jammer, SEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap. Today, we look at the future of Alabama’s defensive line. 

It’s often said that Alabama doesn’t rebuild, it reloads.

That reputation is built on the seemingly unending stable of former 5-star recruits, the battalion of future NFL running backs and a next-man-up philosophy that has even some third-string players among the most talented in the country.

Nick Saban’s success is built on that talent accumulation — it’s why he famously told the late Mal Moore that he wasn’t much of a football coach but was “a helluva recruiter.” Ten years later, that boast is still proving true with the signing of players such as LaBryan Ray, the next great Alabama defensive end in a long line of them. As SEC Country’s Marq Burnett noted in that well-reported, in-depth profile, Alabama’s mere interest in Ray was enough to make him one of the most recruited players in the country. He’s now in a position where he could see significant playing time with one of the top-rated units in the country.


  • USA Today released its annual study of athletic department finances on Thursday. While the numbers involved in such studies aren’t the most accurate, the broad strokes are enough to indicate that Alabama ranks fourth nationally in revenue. 
  • Jalen Hurts is lucky he’s not going to SEC Media Days because if he did, he would lose to Auburn and Auburn would go to the national championship instead of Alabama — reported Kevin Scarbinsky, basically.
  • Michael Casagrande went behind the scenes of the Quad tailgating contracts.
  • Five Tennessee players to keep your eye on, from BamaOnline.
  • Travis Reier has five questions for Alabama’s linebackers. 
  • Charlie Potter’s 17th-most important player is a hometown offensive lineman.
  • For the second time, Burnett has put more than one player into one spot on his most important players ranking. I don’t know what I’m going to do with him. Read about the second*-most important player(s) on Alabama’s team Friday morning, and check back later to see him name Hurts No. 1. Surprise!
  • RollBamaRoll has a neat hypothetical EA Sports NCAA 18 roster for Alabama.
  • And its 58-day countdown commemorates one of the most underrated quarterbacks in recent Alabama memory: teen heartthrob John Parker Wilson, who created one of the most iconic moments in the early Saban era with the “call me” celebration.

Built by Bama

• Former basketball walk-on and manager Willie Watson landed a coaching position with University of Northern Alabama. Watson played on Alabama’s 2006 team after graduating from a position as a manger, and was a fan favorite at the time — a mid-2000s Lawson Schaffer, if you will.

• Alex Avila went 0 for 2 with 2 walks as his Tigers beat San Francisco, 6-2. That performance came one night after Avila took a ball off his catcher’s mask and was screened for a concussion. Avila reportedly passed when he was asked to describe his relationship with the Tigers’ GM – his father. 

Around the Capstone

• Several Alabama athletes are headed to the SEC’s annual Student Athlete Advisory Committee and Student Athlete Leadership Council meetings in Birmingham. The two initiatives started by SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey enable student-athletes to have greater input in the conference office, even if sponsors still rule the day.

• Four golfers made the women’s golf coaches’ All-American scholar list.

A programming note

I hope that, over the last year, SEC Country has proven to be an authoritative, creative and rewarding source of news for you as an Alabama fan. Judging by our readership’s response to our initiatives here and at our Big Ten counterpart, Land of 10, that appears to be the case. In an effort to bring that same fresh, well-reported, boots-on-the-ground perspective to all football fans, we’ve launched Diehards, an SEC Country-like vertical that expands our network to cover all of the Power 5. It’ll improve our coverage here, especially when it comes to nonconference matchups, and we’re excited to see where it goes. Tell your friends.

Football in 57 days.

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