Calvin Ridley

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Calvin Ridley said stats disparity led to some awkwardness in Alabama WR room


It’s NFL Scouting Combine weekend in Indianapolis and, freed from the shackles of controlling coaches and sports information directors, recent college football players are a lot more honest about their seasons than they would otherwise be if they were back on campus.

Case in point? Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley was asked about the gap between his statistics in the passing game and those of his teammates like Robert Foster and why there was such a notable chasm.

“Sometimes (it got awkward), yeah because some of the guys made comments, throw up the charts,” Ridley said Friday, per “Everybody would have like five catches and I had like 50. It’s just kinda weird. I wish we all had the same amount but we won the championship. And everybody was happy.”

Championship rings do have a way of smoothing things over but the numbers are still hard to fathom. notes Ridley had 30.1 percent of Crimson Tide receptions in 2017 and the drop off between his team-leading 63 catches to No. 2 Bo Scarbrough’s 17 was… stark. In fact, running backs finished second and third last year for Alabama in terms of catches before a wideout even enters the picture and no member of the receiver group averaged more than a catch per game in 2017.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts only threw it 254 times last year (Tua Tagovailoa added another 77, nearly a third of which came in the second half of the title game) so it’s not like there were a ton of receptions to go around but it’s probably not all that surprising to hear from Ridley that the rest of the Alabama receivers wanted the ball a bit more and that led to at least a little friction in Tuscaloosa. Either way, it certainly seems like the disparity will be something that Nick Saban and new offensive coordinator Mike Locksley will be addressing when they start spring practice later this month.

Record number of players on NFL’s official early-entry list for 2018 draft

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If it seemed to you like there were an inordinate number of early cannonballers jumping into the draft pool, you were correct.

Four days after the Jan. 15 deadline, the NFL Friday announced that 106 players have been granted special eligibility for the April draft.  That sets a new record for early entrants, breaking the mark of 98 set in 2014.  The past two seasons, there were 95 and 96 in 2017 and 2016, respectively.  In 2015, there were just 74.

The SEC was hit hardest by attrition with 26 players leaving early, although the ACC wasn’t far behind at 24.  The Pac-12 was next among the Power Five conferences with 17, followed by the Big 12’s 13 and the Big Ten’s 11.

Among Group of Five leagues, Conference USA lost the most with four.  The Mountain West saw three go early, with the AAC (two), MAC (one) and Sun Belt (one) coming next in line.  There were also two non-FBS players who left early, as well as two from Notre Dame.

As far as individual schools go, there were three that lost six apiece — Florida State, LSU and Texas.  Alabama lost five, while Auburn, Miami, Oklahoma, UCLA, and USC all lost four apiece.  Clemson, Florida, Louisville, Stanford and Tennessee were on the losing end of three players each.

In addition to the 106 granted special eligibility — they’ll be listed at the end — the NFL also granted eligibility to 13 players who the league writes “have in timely fashion under NFL rules officially notified the league office that they have fulfilled their degree requirements.” Those players are listed below:

» Jordan Akins, TE, UCF
» Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
» Kyle Allen, QB, Houston
» Will Clapp, C, LSU
» Terrell Edmunds, DB, Virginia Tech
» Taylor Hearn, G, Clemson
» Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
» Sam Jones, G, Arizona State
» Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
» Brian O’Neill, T, Pittsburgh
» Christian Sam, LB, Arizona State
» Tre'Quan Smith, WR, UCF
» Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Courtesy of the NFL, below is the complete list of 106 players who have been granted special eligibility for the 2018 NFL Draft:

» Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
» Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, DE, Toledo
» Jaire Alexander, DB, Louisville
» Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
» Dorance Armstrong, DE, Kansas
» Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State
» Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
» Jessie Bates, DB, Wake Forest
» Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma
» Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
» Deontay Burnett, WR, USC
» Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
» Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida
» Geron Christian, T, Louisville
» Simmie Cobbs, WR, Indiana
» Keke Coutee, WR, Texas Tech
» Vosean Crumbie, DB, Nevada
» J.J. Dallas, DB, Louisiana-Monroe
» James Daniels, C, Iowa
» Sam Darnold, QB, USC
» Carlton Davis, DB, Auburn
» Michael Dickson, P, Texas
» Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
» DeShon Elliott, DB, Texas
» Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
» Matt Fleming, WR, Benedictine
» Nick Gates, T, Nebraska
» Rashaan Gaulden, DB, Tennessee
» Frank Ginda, LB, San Jose State
» Rasheem Green, DT, USC
» Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
» Ronnie Harrison, DB, Alabama
» Quadree Henderson, WR, Pittsburgh
» Holton Hill, DB, Texas
» Nyheim Hines, RB, NC State
» Jeff Holland, LB, Auburn
» Mike Hughes, DB UCF
» Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
» Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB, Western Kentucky
» Ryan Izzo, TE, FSU
» Donte Jackson, DB, LSU
» J.C. Jackson, DB, Maryland
» Josh Jackson, DB, Iowa
» Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
» Derwin James, DB, FSU
» Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee
» Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
» Courtel Jenkins, DT, Miami
» Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
» Ronald Jones, RB, USC
» John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
» Arden Key, LB, LSU
» Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
» Du’Vonta Lampkin, DT, Oklahoma
» Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA
» Chase Litton, QB, Marshall
» Tavares Martin, WR, Washington State
» Hercules Mata’afa, DE, Washington State
» Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Clemson
» Tarvarus McFadden, DB, Florida State
» R.J. McIntosh, DT, Miami
» Reginald McKenzie, DT, Tennessee
» Quenton Meeks, DB, Stanford
» Kolton Miller, T, UCLA
» D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
» Ryan Nall, RB, Oregon State
» Nick Nelson, DB, Wisconsin
» Kendrick Norton, DT, Miami
» Isaiah Oliver, DB, Colorado
» Dwayne Orso-Bacchus, T, Oklahoma
» Da’Ron Payne, NT, Alabama
» Kamryn Pettway, RB, Auburn
» Eddy Pineiro, K, Florida
» Trey Quinn, WR, SMU
» D.J. Reed, DB, Kansas State
» Justin Reid, DB, Stanford
» Will Richardson, T, NC State
» Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
» Austin Roberts, TE, UCLA
» Korey Robertson, WR, Southern Miss
» Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
» Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama
» Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford
» Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech
» Andre Smith, LB, UNC
» Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
» Van Smith, DB, Clemson
» Breeland Speaks, DE, Ole Miss
» Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
» Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
» Auden Tate, WR, Florida State
» Maea Teuhema, T, Southeastern Louisiana
» Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia
» Kevin Toliver, DB, LSU
» Travonte Valentine, NT, LSU
» Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
» Vita Vea, NT, Washington
» Mark Walton, RB, Miami
» Denzel Ward, DB, Ohio State
» Chris Warren, RB, Texas
» Toby Weathersby, T, LSU
» Jordan Whitehead, DB, Pittsburgh
» JoJo Wicker, DT, Arizona State
» Jalen Wilkerson, DE, Florida State
» Connor Williams, T, Texas
» Eddy Wilson, DT, Purdue

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ronnie Harrison join Alabama teammates in NFL draft pool

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We already knew that wide receiver Calvin Ridley, running back Bo Scarbrough and defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne would be leaving Alabama early, while running back Damien Harris had opted to stay.  Thursday, we learned the fate of other draft-eligible Crimson Tide football players.

At what’s become an annual press conference, head coach Nick Saban confirmed that defensive backs Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison will be leaving the Crimson Tide as well and declaring for the NFL draft.  Fitzpatrick is a first-round lock and could be one of the first five taken in the April draft, while Harrison was given a second-round grade.

Fitzpatrick was one of 14 unanimous All-Americans for the 2017 season, and won both the Jim Thorpe and Chuck Bednarik Awards.  The multi-talented junior became the third player to claim both awards in the same season, joining Michigan’s Charles Woodson and LSU’s Patrick Peterson.

He also missed the game-winning play in the national championship game because he was using the bathroom.

Harrison was a second-team All-SEC selection in his second season as a starter for the Crimson Tide.

Isaiah Buggs was not at the postseason press conference and Saban did not mention that the defensive lineman was part of the group exiting early.  That seemingly means that Buggs will join Harris as draft-eligible players who will return to Tuscaloosa.

It’s not expected that the Tide will lose any additional players, although the official deadline for declaring their intentions to the NFL is Jan. 15.

Damien Harris reportedly eschewing NFL, returning to Alabama

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Just when it looked like it’d be two, it appears as though Alabama may lose just one running back to early-entry this year.

Wednesday afternoon, it was reported that running back Bo Scarbrough, along with teammate and wide receiver Calvin Ridley, had decided to leave Alabama for the NFL draft.  Now, is reporting that Damien Harris has decided to bypass the NFL draft and instead return to the Crimson Tide for his senior season.

Harris’ decision to return comes as somewhat of a surprise, especially given the amount of returning and incoming talent in what’s a loaded backfield.  Najee Harris, who ran for 370 yards as a true freshman, is expected to grab a larger share of the running-game load in 2018.

The past two seasons, Harris has led the Tide in rushing, an even 1,000 during the run to the 2017 national championship and 1,040 in 2016.  His 11 rushing touchdowns were tops om the team this year as well.

Report: Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, Bo Scarbrough rolling into NFL

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As it turns out, the gang won’t all be back together when Alabama shoots for back-to-back championships.

While neither the football program nor the players have confirmed it,, citing unnamed sources, is reporting that wide receiver Calvin Ridley and running back Bo Scarbrough are leaving for the April NFL draft.  Alabama’s policy has been to hold a press conference to announce the NFL decisions of its draft-eligible players; that event is expected to happen at some point this week as the deadline for early entry is Monday, Jan. 15.

Ridley is expected to be one of the first, if not the first, receivers taken in the upcoming draft and is viewed as a first-round lock.  Scarbrough is part of a deep stable of four- and five-star backs, so his apparent decision to move on is far from surprising.

Ridley led the Crimson Tide in receiving each of the past two seasons.  In UA’s run to the 2017 national title, he was easily the Tide’s leading receiver with 63 catches and 967 yards; Scarbrough was next-closest in receptions with 17, Jerry Jeudy in yards with 264.  Ridley’s five touchdown catches were second to Henry Ruggs‘ six.

In three seasons, Ridley totaled 2,781 yards and 19 touchdowns on 224 catches in what was a run-heavy offense.

Scarbrough was third on the Tide in rushing each of the past two seasons, including 596 this past year.  All told, he’ll finish his collegiate career with 1,512 yards and 20 touchdowns.

UPDATED 1:24 p.m. ET: So, of course, almost as soon as I hit “PUBLISH” on this post, Ridley confirmed via Twitter that he is leaving Tuscaloosa early.