Clemson had a bit of an injury scare in the firsts quarter when wide receiver Mike Williams was knocked out of the game following a helmet-to-helmet hit, but a sideline report from ESPN’s broadcast says he has been cleared to return to the game.
Williams was on the receiving end of a helmet-to-helmet hit with Alabama’s Tony Brown, who came in late on a tackle effort. There was no foul called on the play for the hit, which was arguably a missed targeting call.
The hit occurred in the first quarter of the game, and was the second questionable targeting incident of the quarter by Alabama. Reuben Foster was flagged for a late hit on Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson on an earlier Tigers possession, but was not called for targeting. No review was called from the booth for targeting either.
When Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC, getting out of the shadows of the Texas Longhorns was just part of the reason. Since moving to the SEC the Aggies have been establishing a renewed identity as a potential football power and head coach Kevin Sumlin is running with it. Fans of the Aggies know when Texas A&M has received a verbal commitment from a recruit if they follow Sumlin on Twitter, as he will tweet a “YESSIR!” after receiving the good word. Just in the past few days there were three consecutive tweets with the same message, each coinciding with a new recruit on the board for Texas A&M’s latest recruiting class.
The other hashtag making the rounds through the Texas A&M social networks now is #WRTS, which supposedly stands for “We run this state.” Sumlin has not used the hashtag but others have been using it to help support the idea that Texas A&M is dominating the state of Texas when it comes to recruiting compared to both in-state and SEC rivals. So, where is the top talent in Texas heading?
Rivals.com ranks the recruits in each state for the Class of 2014. In Texas, the number one recruit, defensive end Myles Garrett, committed to Texas A&M. So did No. 9 defensive back Nick Harvey. Out of the top 50 players ranked in Texas, 11 are heading to Texas A&M. Essentially, one out of every five of the top players in the talent-rich state of Texas is heading to College Station to play college football. It continues with the Class of 2015 as well. According to the same Rivals ranking for 2015, 12 of the top 50 players in the state of Texas are committed to Texas A&M.
Seven of the top 50 players in 2014 from Texas will be Texas Longhorns. Four will join Baylor, fresh off a Big 12 championship. Two are heading to Texas Tech.
Alabama had a recruiting class widely regarded as the runaway winner, but just one of the top 100 players in the state of Texas will join the Crimson Tide. Of course, that would be the state’s number two recruit, defensive back Tony Brown. Four of the top 50 players in Texas are heading to LSU.
Is Texas A&M running the state of Texas? When it comes to recruiting, it sure seems like it. The question is for how long will that continue to be the case? Texas with a new head coach (Charlie Strong) should start getting back on track in short order, and when the Longhorns are back to battling for Big 12 championships the momentum could balance out a little bit. What Texas A&M will really benefit from would be a division title in the SEC West, and perhaps an SEC conference championship. Accomplish that and running the state could come with even greater ease.
An emerging defensive back option at Alabama will undergo an MRI today after injuring his knee in a scrimmage Saturday. Eddie Jackson, one of the top performers this spring for the Crimson Tide, was hurt after landing awkwardly when leaping for a ball in a practice Saturday.
According to Al.com, Alabama head coach Nick Saban said Jackson is “probably our best corner,” so obviously the Alabama coaching staff is hoping for the best. Until the results of the MRI come back, it is impossible to predict just when Jackson will be able to return or if he will eventually miss any playing time this fall. Jackson had seen some starting time last fall for the Crimson Tide, including in the Sugar Bowl. Though he was competing for a starting job this spring, the outlook seemed promising.
Saban also confirmed another injury from Saturday. Linebacker Reuben Foster suffered a neck stinger but is expected to return relatively quickly. Cornerback Tony Brown also had a shoulder injury during a track practice.