NCAA Football

Alabama Spring Game Features 3 Different Marriage Proposals

Alabama Crimson Tide fans can be pretty devoted, and that's why it was no surprise that three different marriage proposals occurred during the team's spring game.

Two of the three marriage proposals during Alabama's A-Day came inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, while the other one came in front of Paul "Bear" Bryant's statue. You can see some pictures of the proposals in the tweets below.

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

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Georgia Football: 5 Things Standing in the Way of an SEC Championship

Now that spring practice is officially over for the Georgia Bulldogs, they can focus their attention on the 2014 regular season.

The expectations will once again be high for the Bulldogs due to the returning starters they have coming back on offense and defense. However, the expectations were just as high in 2013 and the Bulldogs were not able to accomplish their goals for various reasons.

Can this year’s team be different? Can it rise up and win the SEC for the first time in nine years?

Here are five things standing in the way of an SEC title for the Bulldogs.

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USC Football: 6 Lessons Learned in Spring Practice

As USC closes its first set of practices under new head coach Steve Sarkisian, there are plenty of reasons for the Trojans' legions of fans to be excited as the 2014 college football season draws near.

With the arrival of "Sark," USC has been reshaped into a fast-paced team that mirrors its excitable head coach as he installs his hurry-up offense, while the defense finds its way under new coordinator Justin Wilcox.

Along the way, the coaches have learned a lot about their players as they have adapted to a new system that is far removed from the stoic days of the now departed Lane Kiffin.

This slideshow will look at some of the lessons learned from spring practice and how they may translate into the fall and beyond.

Here is what we now know about the Trojans after the first camp of practices.

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USC Football: 6 Lessons Learned in Spring Practice

As USC closes its first set of practices under new head coach Steve Sarkisian , there are plenty of reasons for the Trojans' legions of fans to be excited as the 2014 college football season draws near...

Begin Slideshow

USC Spring Game 2014: New-Look Trojans Finally Getting Used to Uptempo Offense

After a month of practicing behind the walls of Howard Jones Practice Field, the USC Trojans showcased the early stages of their new-look, uptempo offense. While little can truly be gleaned from the spring game because so many returning starters sat out with injury, one thing was clear: The Trojans looked promising in their new scheme, and the team will be quite impressive once they perfect it.

Each of USC's three quarterbacks had his moment to show what the future of USC would look like under his leadership. While Max Browne and Jalen Greene turned heads with their arm strength and agility, respectively, Cody Kessler left no doubt that he should be the Trojans' starter in 2014.

He commanded his reps with poise and made fewer mistakes than did his competitors. As the offense continues to crystallize under him during the fall, we can expect that he will get even more confident operating out of the shotgun and scrambling when tasked with making plays on the fly. 

Because of limitations, we didn't see anything too spectacular from the offense, but the progression that the defense showed promises another dominant performance in the fall.

Halfway through spring ball, defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox expressed concerns to Garry Paskwietz of ESPN.com that the defense was struggling to keep up with the offense as scrimmages wore on:

That’s where we have to continue to emphasize finishing strong because the end of the game is when you get up there in play count. When you get to plays 100 to 120, that’s when you really need to sustain things mentally and that’s something we’ve got to work on. The effort has been good, we just have to get better. I would have thought through nine days that we would have it down pat and look great, but I don’t know if that’s reality.

In the spring game, the defense certainly seemed to have it down pat.

As a whole, the defense had a better performance than did the offense, even keeping all of the Trojans' prolific playmakers out of the red zone entirely. This is a vast improvement for a unit that was getting gassed in practices.

If the Trojans defense can continue to match the intensity and quickness of the offense on the practice field, it suggests that come game day, they will be able to hang with the likes of Oregon and the other spread offense teams in the Pac-12. 

USC still has a lot of work to do before it's ready to compete on Saturdays, but it is clear now that the foundation is there. In August, the Trojans will focus on finding out the best combinations of talent to put on the field to produce the best results. That starts with having a complete roster of healthy bodies, something that has been a pressing issue for Steve Sarkisian while he has been molding the Trojans this spring.

It's been a month filled with many new changes for the Trojans, but if Saturday's spring game is any indication, USC is finally forming its new identity under Sarkisian. In the fall, we will really start to understand just what that identity is. 

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USC Spring Game 2014: New-Look Trojans Finally Getting Used to Uptempo Offense

After a month of practicing behind the walls of Howard Jones Practice Field, the USC Trojans showcased the early stages of their new-look, uptempo offense...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Don't Let Tyrone Swoopes' Spring Game Stats Fool You, Texas Needs David Ash

"I wanted our ones to come out with confidence," Texas head coach Charlie Strong said after the spring game. "When you match up ones versus ones and the offense doesn't score, then they will feel like they're a long ways away."

Quarterback Tyrone Swoopes took the first-team reps Saturday against the second-team defense in the annual Orange-White Scrimmage, but his lack of experience was very apparent throughout the entire first half.

Swoopes completed 44 percent of his passes throughout the first half but shook off the slow start and completed nine of 12 passing attempts in the second half. He finished the game with 229 passing yards and three touchdowns. 

Swoopes' second-half performance was a positive step for the young player, but Texas fans should tread carefully before anointing Swoopes as the guy to lead the Longhorns. The reason for that is simple: Swoopes ran the first-team offense against the second-team defense. 

The spring game was the first time many Texas fans were able to witness the changes Strong and his staff have made for the Longhorns. The defense had a nice showing against the Longhorns offense, but that is not the best news for the quarterback position.

When Strong discussed the Longhorns scrimmages during spring practice, he mentioned that the ones went against the ones and twos versus twos, but the coaching staff chose to change it up for the spring game. 

Swoopes is obviously a talented player, but the best bet for the Longhorns at quarterback is David Ash. Before his injury, Strong commended Ash for how well he was practicing and said he had established himself. 

"You would have never known that he had the injury by just how well he has been practicing and the way he has been carrying himself," Strong said. "I wouldn't say that he is the clear No. 1, but he has established himself. He did a great job learning the offense and terminology and wanting to lead the team."

Ash's injury history is not something to overlook. He missed the last game of the 2012 regular season due to a rib injury and was sidelined throughout the majority of the 2013 season with recurring concussion symptoms. His most recent injury, a Jones fracture in his left foot, will require surgery. 

Some fans may be eager for incoming freshman Jerrod Heard to get to Austin; however, expecting Heard to start in 2014 is fairly unrealistic. Heard had a fantastic high school career and is obviously an extremely talented player, but the best-case scenario for Texas fans is for Heard to redshirt his first season and learn the college game with Ash leading the way.

With his injured past and, at times, inconsistent play, Ash is still the best option to lead the Longhorns in 2014.

 

All quotes were obtained firsthand.

Taylor Gaspar is Bleacher Report's featured columnist covering the Texas Longhorns. Follow her on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar.

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Nick Saban's Epic Spring-Game Recruiting Haul Shows Tide Is Alabama's Top Team

Anybody who followed both Auburn and Alabama's spring games on Saturday probably thought that the Tigers had the better day. The Crimson Tide's offense looked sluggish, while Nick Marshall and Co. picked up right where they left off from last season's SEC Championship. 

But Nick Saban and the Tide won the much bigger battle on Saturday, and that's the recruiting battle. 

The Crimson Tide signed four prospects on Saturday, one 5-star and three 4-stars. Meanwhile, Auburn was relegated to just two commitments, one 4-star and one 3-star. 

Three of the signees for Alabama—Fitzpatrick, Burgess-Becker, and Ridley—are all secondary players. After losing Deion Belue and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Saban was in need of some talent in that area. 

Fitzpatrick is the highest-rated recruit signing of the day for the Tide. A 5-star cornerback out of New Jersey, Fitzpatrick stands at 6'0", 185 pounds and runs a 4.45 40-yard dash, per 247Sports.

Auburn's biggest signing of the day was 4-star safety Ben Edwards out of Florida. Edwards, a 6'0" safety, flipped his commitment from Ohio State to Auburn, per Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com. 

Bone also reported that all four Tide signees were recruited by Mario Cristobal, the offensive line coach at Alabama. So certainly it was not a bad day for Cristobal and one that could set the stage for him to move up in the coaching ranks in the near future. 

Cristobal is in just his second season at Alabama, after joining the team in 2013. He was the head coach at FIU from 2007-2012 before being fired after a 3-9 season in 2012.  

What Saturday's overhaul ultimately proved, though, is that, when rubber hits the road, more kids want to play for Saban and Alabama than they do Malzahn and Auburn, despite the Tigers being just one year removed from an SEC title and a national championship appearance. 

While Auburn is fresh off a 2013 campaign that saw them win the SEC title, it was Alabama that had won three of the last four national championships prior to 2013. And had it not been for that one missed extra point that Chris Davis took back in the Iron Bowl, the Crimson Tide could've made it four national titles in five years. 

Alabama also sends plenty more players to the NFL. According to ESPN, the Crimson Tide have 37 of their alumni in the NFL, while Auburn has 20. 

The Tide now rank No. 1 in the country for the 2015 class with 14 signees, with 12 being either 4-star- or 5-star-caliber. Meanwhile, Auburn ranks 10th in the nation with just eight total commitments to its 2015 class. That load includes three 3-stars. 

The Crimson Tide also ranked No. 1 in all its recruiting classes dating back to 2011. Auburn's highest ranking in that time frame was fifth in 2011. The Tigers also ranked sixth in 2014 and 2010. 

Fitzpatrick told Rivals (subscription required) that it was the aurora and reputation of Alabama that enticed him to commit. 

I really liked the environment. People say it's an extremely serious environment, but you get to have time to relax and hang out with everybody. The football experience is one of a kind, there's nothing really like it in the country.

It's one of the best universities ever, one of the best coaches ever to coach the game and I feel like I can learn from him and become one of the best players in the country and the best player I can be.

For Alabama to have made such a statement on the recruiting trail Saturday is huge. Auburn walked away with just two commitments, while Alabama got four huge pieces that will set the stage for them for years to come. 

And Saturday proved that, while Auburn had the better year on the field in 2013, the Crimson Tide are still top dog in the Southland. 

 

Note: All recruit rankings courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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USC Spring Game 2014: Recap, Highlights and Analysis

The Steve Sarkisian era got underway on Saturday afternoon as the Cardinal (offense) and White teams battled to a 15-15 tie in the Coliseum:

After finishing with a 10-win season in 2013, there was no doubt a palpable buzz to see how the squad will look this season under Sarkisian:

If there's one clear takeaway from the spring scrimmage, it's that the defense won't skip a beat next season. Sarkisian put the unit that ranked 16th in scoring defense last season (per CFBstats.com) in a disadvantageous position and they were still highly effective in shutting down the Trojans offense early on:

In fact, it wasn't until the Trojans let a 10-year-old fan throw a pass that the Cardinal side was finally able to find pay dirt:

The touchdown celebration would be short-lived, however. The defense continued to have its way with the offense and sacks from Scott Starr and Charles Burks would advance the defense's lead against the offense:

The scrimmage wasn't all bad for the Trojans offense, though. After all, with all the talent coming back on defense in Los Angeles, it was to be expected that the offense would have a difficult time moving the ball. 

While Cody Kessler and Max Browne made some plays at quarterback, Trojans fans were treated to their first glimpse at quarterback of the future Jalen Greene. The dual-threat freshman showcased his arm strength and accuracy on more than one occasion and impressed analysts, such as former FOX Sports writer Lisa Horne, with his confidence as the third-string freshman:

Even though it wasn't the greatest performance from the Trojans offense, Kessler was pleased with the team's performance. He acknowledged the strong play of the defense while also citing the absence of some important offensive pieces in this post-game interview posted by Inside USC. 

While there are still plenty of question marks surrounding the offense, especially along the offensive line, there's no doubt that the upbeat attitude surrounding the program and suffocating defense are strong positives to take away from the scrimmage. 

Overall, Trojans fans have to like what they've seen from spring practices this season. Not only did the Trojans figure out their starting quarterback (Cody Kessler) but also saw first hand that the defense will return to its 2013 form. 

With an elite defense coming back and the offense presumably getting better with a consistent leader at quarterback like Kessler, there's no reason to believe that the Trojans won't be among the top teams  in the Pac-12 South.

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USC Spring Game 2014: Recap, Highlights and Analysis

The Steve Sarkisian era got underway on Saturday afternoon as the Cardinal (offense) and White teams battled to a 15-15 tie in the Coliseum: After finishing with a 10-win ...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Jovon Durante to Alabama: Crimson Tide Land 4-Star WR Prospect

The Alabama Crimson Tide may have added yet another big-time prospect in 4-star wide receiver Jovon Durante. 

Andrew Bone of TideSports originally reported that Durante's commitment was official:

However, Bone later corrected the original story and announced that Durante's commitment is not official quite yet. He does consider the news to be inevitable though:

 

As Bone notes, the 6'0" 183-pound receiver was the Tide's fifth commitment of the day. The fact that all of those recruits are rated as either four- or five-star recruits makes it all the more impressive.

One school that isn't having as good a day as Bama is West Virginia. The Mountaineers, who are currently ranked 17th in 247Sports' composite class rankings for 2015, lost their only 4-star recruit in Durante. 

The Tide, however, now sit in the driver's seat of those very rankings. Their class now includes an astounding 11 4-star recruits committed to Tuscaloosa and another 5-star to put the proverbial cherry on the sundae. 

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports chimed in on the impressiveness of the day for the Tide before it even included Durante's new pledge:

While it's usually Nick Saban who gets the credit for being the master recruiter at Alabama, Tide fans can thank assistant and former FIU head coach Mario Cristobal for this catch:

Durante figures to fit right in at Alabama. Boasting a time of 10.8 in the 100-meter dash, a 21.6 time in the 200 and a high jump of 6'3" in track, he's the kind of athlete who should have no problem stretching the field and finding the holes in the zone at the next level. 

With the Tide looking to build a new passing game sans AJ McCarron in 2014 and beyond, Durante could be a name to watch out for as the program moves forward.

 

All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Alabama Crimson Tide Land Multiple Blue-Chip 2015 Recruits on Saturday

Most schools are happy to add just one blue-chip recruit during a 24-hour period. On Saturday, Alabama landed five.

Calvin Ridley, a 4-star receiver, and Shawn Burgess-Becker, a 4-star receiver/safety, both tweeted out that they had committed to the Crimson Tide:

Then came 5-star cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, per Rivals' Adam Friedman:

Four-star linebacker Leo Lewis was No. 4, per Alabama Commit Alert:

Jovon Durante was the fifth recruit and second 4-star wideout to announce that he was headed to Tuscaloosa, per TideSports.com's Andrew Bone:

Bone has since reported that Durante hasn't "officially" committed to Alabama, but his arrival is imminent:

Many will look at Alabama head coach Nick Saban as the biggest reason for so many high-profile signings. However, offensive line coach Mario Cristobal, who recruited Burgess-Becker, Fitzpatrick and Ridley, deserves some serious credit:

Fitzpatrick is the cream of the crop. He ranks 30th overall and is the fourth-best cornerback in 247Sports' composite rankings. The product of St. Peter's Prep in New Jersey can be the next great corner at Alabama, following in the footsteps of stars like Dre Kirkpatrick, Javier Arenas and Dee Milliner.

That's to say nothing of his four future teammates, all of whom rank in the top 150 on 247Sports.

It should come as no surprise that on Saturday, Alabama supplanted Penn State atop the Class of 2015 rankings.

The way that the Crimson Tide continue to reload each and every year is astounding. Their success on the recruiting trail is a testament to Saban and his coaching staff's ability.

So many college football fans wonder when the Tide's dominance will cease. Every college football dynasty reaches its end sooner or later.

With Alabama, it's hard to fathom that time will come, as Saban is once again ensuring that his team's future is in good hands.

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USC Spring Game 2014: Live Game Grades and Analysis

USC's offense took on the Trojans defense in Saturday's spring game, and in doing so, we got our first glimpse at how this team looks under head coach Steve Sarkisian.

It was a slightly different spring game than usual in Troy, as injuries and depth concerns limited contact and the amount of plays that the Trojans could run. Still, Sark promised around 100 plays and some live tackling during the scrimmage, and that's what he delivered. 

The Trojans defense (in white) edged out the Trojans offense (in cardinal), 19-15.

It was a significant victory for this unit, as just a few weeks ago, defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox mentioned that the defense needed to be more consistent during the tail end of live sessions.

Before we get to grades, here's a look at the point system in place during the spring game:

 

Offense

Field goal: 3 points
Touchdown: 6 points
Extra Point: 1 point
Two-Point Conversion: 2 points

 

Defense

Defensive Stop: 1 point
Three-and-Out: 3 points
Fourth-Down Stop: 3 points
Turnover: 5 points
Touchdown: 7 points

Check out the analysis and final grades here.

 

First-Half Analysis for the USC Trojans

Pass Offense: We got to see a little of Cody Kessler, a little of Max Browne and even a little of Jalen Greene in the spring game. Though Browne undoubtedly has a cannon and will be a stud one day, Kessler showed he is clearly the more comfortable of the two and the more composed while running the offense. 

As far as targets are concerned, offensive coordinator Clay Helton said that the new offense would utilize the tight ends more, and the looks that Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick received backed that up. 

Run Offense: The offensive line showed some improvement from last season, though it did give up a few sacks and leave the quarterbacks high and dry at times. It's worth remembering, however, that this position group is still largely in flux, and key members like Aundrey Walker and Zach Banner haven't gotten into the mix yet. We didn't get to see too much from the running backs, but in the few glimpses we had, Buck Allen clearly retains his spot as the front-runner in the Trojans' stable. 

It was a fairly good day for the running backs, but the Trojans did not get away without injury:

Pass Defense: USC's secondary looks good, with Kevon Seymour flying around to disrupt plays and Chris Hawkins locking down his receiver in coverage. Both had an impressive showing, and that's particularly important for Hawkins, who is fighting for a spot in the starting lineup. Josh Shaw was in attendance and addressed the cornerback battle:

Run Defense: USC's run defense continues to be its strength, as was expected. It dominated the line of scrimmage, stifled the ground attack of Allen and found ways to get a hand on the quarterback. The Trojans offense led early on the back of Andre Heidari field goals, but as the scrimmage wore on, the white jerseys took command in the second and third periods, largely thanks to the efforts of the defensive line. The defense kept the Trojans offense from scoring anything other than field goals on the day, a fairly impressive feat. 

Special Teams: Heidari neither impressed nor disappointed in the spring game, but if the Trojans have another option, they might want to consider it in the fall. Heidari nailed four of five on the day, but the one he missed was a short, 34-yard attempt.

Coaching: Other than lining up in the shotgun formation, we didn't see any particularly new and exciting plays from the Trojans. Sark seems to be keeping his new playbook a secret, at least until the fall when more healthy bodies rejoin the ranks. 

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USC Spring Game 2014: Live Game Grades and Analysis

USC's offense took on the Trojans defense in Saturday's spring game, and in doing so, we got our first glimpse at how this team looks under head coach Steve Sarkisian ...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Calvin Ridley to Alabama: Crimson Tide Land 4-Star WR Prospect

A big day of recruiting for Alabama got even bigger on Saturday afternoon, when Calvin Ridley announced his commitment to head to Tuscaloosa and join the Crimson Tide.

Ridley tweeted a picture of himself in an Alabama jersey to make his announcement:

The 6'2", 170-pound prospect is one of the top wideouts in this year's class. He ranks as the No. 41 prospect in the class nationally, per the 247Sports composite

Those rankings also have him as the third-best receiver in the nation and the 10th-best prospect in Florida.

Ridley joined Monarch High School (Pompano Beach, Fla.) teammate Shawn Burgess-Becker on the Tuscaloosa train Saturday, per AL.com's Wesley Sinor. Both committed within an hour of each other, shortly after Alabama's A-Day concluded. 

Both Alabama and Miami lauded Monarch's duo of stud receivers—Ridley and Burgess-Becker—above anyone else. In fact, the Tide seemed to have ground to make up with the 247Sports Crystal Ball predicting both Ridley and Burgess-Becker to go to Miami with more than 60 percent chances, and each had more than 20 writers chipping in. 

But Alabama was able to make a big statement in the 2015 cycle on Saturday by landing both—even with a geographic disadvantage as compared to Miami.

These two Monarch High School standouts haven't been the only ones being talked about by Crimson Tide fans on Saturday.

At the time of Ridley's announcement, Alabama had already landed five commits on Saturday alone, per Sinor's reporting. Five-star cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, 4-star linebacker Leo Lewis and 4-star wide receiver Jovon Durante all announced their commitments to the Tide. 

247Sports' Marc Torrence summed it up best:

It's far from surprising at this point, considering Alabama's recent success, that it has been able to maintain such domination over the recruiting cycle. But even as it becomes more and more normal, it's nonetheless impressive. 

The Tide ended the season on a poor note by losing their last two games—the last-second Iron Bowl loss to Auburn and the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma.

But with every commitment, it becomes more and more apparent that the Tide's days on top are far from over.

 

All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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Leo Lewis to Alabama: Crimson Tide Land 4-Star LB Prospect

Alabama continues to rack up topflight 2015 recruits as 4-star linebacker prospect Leo Lewis has committed to the SEC powerhouse, according to 247 Sports.

Lewis joins a sizable list of top-tier recruits who announced their commitment to Alabama on Saturday, as pointed out by Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel:

The 6'3", 225-pound defender is a junior at Brookhaven High School in Brookhaven, Miss., and he's rated as the third-best 2015 recruit from the state of Mississippi and the fifth-best linebacker in the class, according to 247 Sports' composite rankings

According to his 247Sports profile, Lewis had received a handful of offers from other top programs, including Ole Miss, Florida, Georgia and LSU, among others. 

Lewis paid a visit to Tuscaloosa back in February and had only positive things to say about the trip. Via AL.com's Wesley Sinor, Lewis said, "It was fun. They showed me a great time. I built a great relationship with coach Kirby Smart. The facilities were great. They showed me an all-around great time."

Smart, Alabama's defensive coordinator, will be thrilled with Lewis' announcement. The instinctive defender has very few weaknesses in his game and boasts the physical tools to come in and play right away.

He'll obviously have to adjust to the college game before he can be relied on down after down, but the potential is certainly there, as noted by ESPN Insider (subscription required):

Lewis is a fast pursuing, run and hit linebacker without many physical flaws and we still see upside. Should develop into three-down linebacker early in his college career and add a playmaking dimension. Could get recruited to play inside or out.

Like with the rest of Alabama's coveted 2015 recruits, the Crimson Tide faithful will have to be patient. But there's no doubt the future is bright in Tuscaloosa as one of the sport's most brilliant defensive minds, Nick Saban has ensured the Tide will remain stout on that side of the ball for years to come.

And if Lewis can add to his skill set and make an impact at Alabama, he'll have a great chance to achieve the ultimate dream of competing in the NFL someday.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.

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Alabama Spring Game 2014: Tony Brown Looking Like Savior of the Secondary

With the loss of Deion Belue and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from Alabama's secondary last year, Nick Saban was in desperate search of a playmaker for his 2014 secondary. 

In Alabama's A-Day game, he may have found one in freshman cornerback Tony Brown. 

According to 247Sports, the electrifying Brown was a 5-star prospect and the second-best cornerback of the 2014 class.

Last season, although the Crimson Tide ranked 11th in the FBS in pass yards allowed per game, Alabama's secondary still looked like a liability at times. Too often the Crimson Tide gave up big plays, especially after losing top safety Vinnie Sunseri to injury in late October. 

The secondary was particularly exposed in the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma. Trevor Knight, the Sooners quarterback, had only reached 100 or more passing yards in a game twice in seven appearances. 

Against Alabama, Knight racked up 348 yards and four touchdowns—he had only thrown five touchdowns all year up to that point—en route to 45-31 victory for the Sooners. 

Brown may be the answer to last year's woes in the secondary. With great speed, Brown has the ability to bait quarterbacks into making bad decisions. In the A-Day game, he blanketed receivers all day and even got himself an interception. 

He also showed in the spring game that he's hard-nosed. Despite wearing a black "no contact" jersey, he recorded four tackles, per Tide 99.1 FM. 

Nobody is surprised by Brown's speed or his freakish athleticism. An Olympic-level hurdler, Brown recently recorded the fourth-fastest 60-meter hurdle time in the university's history, per Michael Casagrande of AL.com. 

In the spring, Brown was able to move up the spring depth chart after rising sophomore defensive back Eddie Jackson, who started four games as a true freshman last year, tore his ACL in early April, according to Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com. 

Saban's secondaries are his specialty. According to Team Rankings, the Crimson Tide have been ranked in the top 15 in the FBS in pass defense every year since 2011.

Guys like Mark Barron, Javier Arenas and Dre Kirkpatrick have all gone on to the NFL after going through Saban's tutelage. 

It's now becoming more and more apparent that Brown will soon be added to that list. And since he's just a freshman, it looks like he'll be a playmaker for Saban and Co. for years to come.

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Alabama Edges Auburn in Spring Game Attendance, Draws 73,506 Fans

When it comes to spring football, there's only one phrase that can sum up which school has the most support for its team: 

Roll Tide. 

The Alabama Crimson Tide held its 2014 A-Day game on Saturday and announced an attendance of 73,506 fans to Bryant-Denny Stadium. 

According to Andrew Holleran of College Spun, Alabama's attendance mark is the highest in the nation this spring, with Penn State ranking second at 72,000 and Alabama's archrival Auburn ranking third at 70,645. 

One thing that stood out is that, although the Crimson Tide now lead the nation in spring game attendance this year, the showing was the lowest in Nick Saban's tenure with Alabama, according to Duane Rankin of The Montgomery Advertiser. 

This spring is also the first spring in three years that the Crimson Tide aren't the defending national champions, so that may have played a part in there being a dip in attendance to this year's A-Day game. 

You also can't discount the fact that this weekend is a holiday weekend, and some fans may have elected to stay home and spend Easter with their families. 

However, that still hasn't stopped the fans arriving in droves. According to BamaOnline, since 2007 the Crimson Tide have a higher average attendance at A-Day than the top NFL team during the regular season. 

According to Michael Casagrande of AL.com, crowds at Alabama's A-Day game have steadily dropped since 2010 when a record-setting 92,312 people showed up. 

Nevertheless, Alabama still got more fans than anybody else in the country to show up to its spring game, and the Crimson Tide are bound to be contenders for the College Football Playoff this season. 

 

 

 

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Shawn Burgess-Becker to Alabama: Crimson Tide Land 4-Star Safety Prospect

Alabama landed yet another big-time prospect in the class of 2015 during Saturday's A-Day spring game when Shawn Burgess-Becker announced his commitment to the Crimson Tide. 

The high school standout, who doubles as a wide receiver and safety, announced the news on Twitter shortly after the spring game concluded:

Burgess-Becker is a 6'1", 185-pound prospect that is a four-star prospect in the 247Sports composite, which also has him as the No. 88 prospect nationally and No. 18 in the great recruiting state of Florida.

He lines up both as a wide receiver and safety for Monarch High School (Pompano Beach, Fla.) and has made waves as one of the most talented and versatile players in the class, with both speed and vision that translate well to the next level. 

The Tide had to hold off Miami more than anyone else to land Burgess-Becker. The nearby Hurricanes had Burgess-Becker visit three times in 2014 alone and were in the thick of things all along—Miami and Alabama were the first two to offer the standout. 

Fox Sports' Amy Campbell reported on what made the difference between Alabama and Miami:

Alabama also had to hold off a late surge from its in-state rivals. Burgess-Becker visited Auburn for the first time just before A-Day, per 247Sports' Keith Niebuhr (subscription required). But it seems as if the Tigers got in the game a bit too late. 

Burgess-Becker became the 12th commit in the Crimson Tide's 2015 class, adding the second of the day after Minkah Fitzpatrick added his name as well on Saturday.

In the midst of the hype and excitement surrounding Alabama's A-Day, it was no surprise that the Tide were able to notch another commit. Events like this tend to pump energy into recruiting and result in successful weekends if a program is able to sell itself enough during the process.

Sure enough, Alabama was able to do this with Burgess-Becker and prove to the ninth-ranked athlete in the nation, according to the 247Sports' composite rankings, that Tuscaloosa was the place for him.

Alabama has loaded up on top recruits enough to where it's hard to put a lot of stock into one commit. But at least on the surface, Burgess-Becker looks to have serious skills.

Plus, his ability to line up on either side of the ball will be lauded for Saban's coaching staff as they will have more flexibility in assembling their rosters moving forward. 

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Minkah Fitzpatrick to Alabama: Crimson Tide Land 5-Star CB Prospect

No program in college football retools quite like Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide, who are set to welcome yet another talented face to Tuscaloosa in 2015. 

According to 247 Sports, 5-star cornerback recruit Minkah Fitzpatrick has committed to Alabama.

Fitzpatrick, a junior at St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, N.J. is rated as the top class of 2015 prospect from the state of New Jersey and the fourth-best cornerback available in 2015, according to 247 Sports' composite rankings

Fitzpatrick had also received offers from rival Auburn and defending national champion Florida State.

Prior to announcing his decision, Fitzpatrick talked about why Alabama ranked toward the top of his list, via Rivals' Mike Farrell (paid subscription required):

I've got a lot of family in Alabama – my father's side is from there – so that's a big plus...Coach (Nick) Saban is one of the greatest defensive back coaches and one of the greatest coaches of all time. Getting to learn from him for three or four years would be a great experience and I felt like I'd become the best player I could be there.

It's not surprising that Alabama caught Fitzpatrick's eye, but it's also no shock why the Crimson Tide sent the high school star an offer.

The 6-foot, 185-pound Fitzpatrick is an intelligent cornerback with prototypical size, strength and speed who can thrive in either zone or man-to-man coverage schemes. Fitzpatrick is also a natural playmaker in the secondary, as evidenced by his six interceptions over the past two seasons in high school, per 247 Sports.

ESPN Insider (paid subscription required) breaks down Fitzpatrick as he prepares for his senior season at St. Peter's Prep:

"There may be corners a bit faster and more fluid in this class but few who are as well-rounded and technically sound. Fitzpatrick is also scheme versatile as we see the ability to produce in both zone and man coverages at the next level. Very good college prospect with a high probability of success."

Although Crimson Tide fans will have to be patient, it's only a matter of time before Fitzpatrick becomes an impact player at the next level.

He's got all the physical tools to succeed, and if he can continue to improve his footwork and add some muscle in college, he'll have every chance to excel in the SEC.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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