Name Calling


football-threeSome of the best started here in Alabama

By Luke Robinson

If you read this article regularly (and I am quite certain you don’t), you should know that I am a recruit-nik. I was following football recruiting before it was cool, man.

Okay…maybe it’s still not cool, but I have followed it a long time.

One thing I have always believed is that our state’s high schools have been pretty good to Alabama and Auburn over the years. Many—if not most—of those schools’ greatest players were home grown. First name or nickname-only guys like Bo and Biscuit and Caddy and Deuce, etc.

Alabama isn’t the largest producer of quality college football talent in the country, but per capita it’s up there. (Writer’s note: I refuse to do actual homework and find out the exact statistic due to my incapacitating chronic laziness.)

However, the Tide and Tigers do let some great players get away. Sometimes on purpose.Sometimes they just lose him to another school.

As I watched HBO’s Hard Knocks the other night, I was reminded of two of those guys: Kwon Alexander from Oxford High School (LSU) and Jameis Winston of Hueytown (Florida State). Not to mention others like Zach Cunningham (Vandy), Phillip Rivers (NC State) and Captain Munnerlyn (South Carolina).

So who did UA and UA miss out on recently? I am glad you asked…

•Kadarius Toney, Lamical Perine and Jeremiah Moon—University of Florida: Perine was very strong last year as a true freshman and I suspect his carries will increase this season. He is the tough runner SEC teams need to win titles. Meanwhile, Toney and Moon have been making a lot of waves in The Swamp during fall practice. I was a little shocked ’Bama and Auburn didn’t pursue these two harder. Toney in particular, who is like a talented Swiss Army knife; he can do so many things well.

•Bradrick Shaw–University of Wisconsin: Get your laundry pen out and write this down: Bradrick Shaw will be first team  All Big Ten in 2017.  The former Hoover star is the PERFECT fit for the Badgers, and now that he is the official starter he will prove it. Maybe I am crazy.… Maybe I just want the ’Bama boy to do well….  Maybe I “accidentally” mixed my various medications with cheap Vodka…. Whatever the case, I see Shaw gaining 1,300 yards or more this season. Time to get your party on at Camp Randall Stadium! Of course, they are going to party there anyway because they party a lot at Wisconsin.

•Keith Mixon–Mississippi State: I waxed poetic about this kid a couple of years ago so I won’t repeat all of my effusive praise. I will just let you know that Mixon may be the breakout star in the league for 2017. Read me now and believe me later.

•Troy Young–University of Arizona: While he was a running back for Mobile Christian (and helped guide them to the state championship game last season), Young will be a safety at Arizona. And Young will play. Quickly. He is too good not to be an early contributor. As a side note, I highly recommend your checking out an article by al.com’s  Ben Thomas on Young that was written several months ago. Young’s story will have you pulling for him so hard he will be able to hear you in Tuscon.

•Jaylond Adams–Southern Miss: This kid is fast. Real fast. Like, he should be in The Justice League fighting crime and stuff. Adams will play early and often for the Eagles and you may want to check out the USM/UAB game later this year when Adams comes back to Birmingham (he is a Minor High grad).

There are certainly other guys to watch out for from Alabama like Nico Collins at Michigan, Will Ignont at Tennessee and Neil Farrell at LSU (this guy is going to be a terror), but I can only highlight so many. Here’s hoping they all get their share of the limelight.•

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