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Nearly three-fourths of 2017 first-round NFL draft picks were 4- or 5-star recruits

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For those who completely dismiss recruiting rankings, the NFL draft showed again last night that they do mean something.

The 2017 version of the annual player selection meeting kicked off Thursday night in Philadelphia, with a total of 32 players selected in the opening round.  Of those 32, nearly 75 percent — 22 to be exact — were either four- or five-star recruits.  Nine were the latter, 13 the former.

Four of the first six selections, and three of the first four, were five-star recruits.  Myles Garrett of Texas A&M, the No. 1 overall pick, was the No. 2 player in the 2014 recruiting class; LSU’s Leonard Fournette, drafted fourth by the Jacksonville Jaguars, was the top recruit in that same class.

Just two of the 32 selections came from non-Power Five conferences, Western Michigan’s Corey Davis and Temple’s Haason Reddick.  Davis was one of two two-star recruits, Missouri’s Charles Harris being the other, while Reddick began his career with the Owls as a walk-on.

There were also six three-star recruits drafted, the highest being Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes at No. 10 overall.  He was also the second quarterback taken, behind only Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina (four-star).

Add all of those up, and you get 31 of the players selected last night.  The 32nd?  Wisconsin offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk, who had an interesting, to say the least, route to major college football.  From Ramczyk’s NFL.com draft profile:

Ramczyk (pronounced RAM-check) is a rare case of a Division III student-athlete making the jump to major college football. Even though he was an all-state pick from Wisconsin, he chose to turn down offers from FBS and FCS schools (one from Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst, who was at Pitt at the time) to attend a local technical college. After a year off, he decided to play at his hometown school, the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. Ramczyk was a two-time all-conference pick there at left tackle before deciding to transfer to play for Chryst at Wisconsin.

Appropriately, Ramczyk was the last player selected in the first round, taken at No. 32 by the New Orleans Saints.

1.) Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M, 2014 5-star (Cleveland Browns)
2.) Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina, 2013 4-star (Chicago Bears)
3.) Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford, 2014 5-star (San Francisco 49ers)
4.) Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU, 2014 5-star (Jacksonville Jaguars)
5.) Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan, 2013 2-star (Tennessee Titans)
6.) Jamal Adams, DB, LSU, 2014 5-star (New York Jets)
7.) Mike Williams, WR, Clemson, 2013 4-star (Los Angeles Chargers)
8.) Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford, 2014 4-star (Carolina Panthers)
9.) John Ross, WR, Washington, 2013 4-star (Cincinnati Bengals)
10.) Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech, 2013 3-star (Kansas City Chiefs)
11.) Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State, 2014 4-star (New Orleans Saints)
12.) Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson, 2014 4-star (Houston Texans)
13.) Haason Reddick, LB, Temple, walk-on (Arizona Cardinals)
14.) Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee, 2014 4-star (Philadelphia Eagles)
15.) Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State, 2014 4-star (Indianapolis Colts)
16.) Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama, 2015 4-star (Baltimore Ravens)
17.) Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama, 2013 5-star (Washington Redskins)
18.) Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC, 2014 5-star (Tennessee Titans)
19.) O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama, 2013 5-star (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
20.) Garett Bolles, OL, Utah, 2016 4-star (Denver Broncos)
21.) Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida, 2013 3-star (Detroit Lions)
22.) Charles Harris, DE, Missouri, 2013 2-star (Miami Dolphins)
23.) Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss, 2013 3-star (New York Giants)
24.) Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State, 2013 4-star (Oakland Raiders)
25.) Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan, 2014 5-star (Cleveland Browns)
26.) Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA, 2013 3-star (Atlanta Falcons)
27.) Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU, 2013 4-star (Buffalo Bills)
28.) Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan, 2013 4-star (Dallas Cowboys)
29.) David Njoku, TE, Miami, 2014 3-star (Cleveland Browns)
30.) T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin, 2013 3-star (Pittsburgh Steelers)
31.) Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama, 2013 5-star (San Francisco 49ers)
32.) Ryan Ramczyk, OL, Wisconsin, no rating (New Orleans Saints)

Alabama adds former UAB QB as graduate assistant

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Alabama has added one more member to its coaching staff. Former UAB quarterback Mike Miller has joined the staff as a graduate assistant, according to a report from Football Scoop. Miller updated his private Twitter account bio to say he will be working with the quarterbacks and wide receivers at Alabama.

Miller will step into a good spot on the Alabama coaching staff as he will get to work with Jalen Hurts, Alabama’s rising star quarterback from the 2016 season, and a healthy crop of wide receivers including Calvin Ridley. Helping Hurts to take the next steps in his development will be a major task for Miller and is one that could ensure Alabama is right back in the thick of the national title conversation again next fall. Ridley could be one of the top receivers in the SEC.

Miller spent the 2016 season coaching Charlotte Christian School in North Carolina and spent a brief time with Clemson as a coach after UAB suspended its football program following the 2014 season.

Miller will fill the void briefly filled by former Florida State and West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett. Alabama added Trickett as a graduate assistant earlier in the offseason, but he followed Lane Kiffin to FAU to take a job as a tight ends coach.

Alabama fan launches campaign to have new offensive coordinator’s name changed to “Run” Daboll

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Forget about pass-heavy offensive systems. One Alabama fan is making it pretty clear all he wants new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to do is run the ball. He’s even going so far as to launch an online campaign to have the new Tide coordinator’s name changed to “Run Daboll.”

Alabama fan Bobby Wesson has opened up a petition on Change.org to collect digital signatures. As of this posting, the petition had just 92 supporters, but it was just hoping to reach 100 supporters.

“Imagine what the Alabama offense would look like on Saturdays if Brian Daboll heard “RUN DABOLL” 7 days a week,” Wesson says in his petition. “Imagine a world with Nick Saban yelling “RUN DABOLL” at Brian on the field instead of you yelling it at him through the television. Imagine 3rd and 3 and a stadium screaming as [Bo Scarbrough] breaks down the field for it all because “Run Daboll” called RUN DA BALL.”

The imagery here is dazzling.

If there is one thing Alabama is generally good at doing, it is running the football. With a healthy stable of running backs that would have options capable of starting at almost any other program in the country and one of the best offensive line sin the sport, why wouldn’t Alabama want to run the ball?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t exactly work like that, but this is humorous enough. It can be his nickname, however, and we suspect that may have a chance to catch on if things go according to plan for this Alabama fan.

Alabama trio officially rolls early from Crimson Tide to NFL draft

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Not surprisingly, Alabama is losing handful of underclassmen to the NFL — albeit a smaller handful than some had projected.

At the schools annual press conference for junior NFL announcements, a trio of Crimson Tide football players — cornerback Marlon Humphrey, offensive tackle Cam Robinson, wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (pictured) — confirmed that they will be leaving Tuscaloosa and make themselves available for the April NFL draft.

Robinson has been an All-American the past two seasons after earning Freshman All-American as a true freshman in 2014.  He was a consensus All-American this season.  Humphrey was also a Freshman All-American his redshirt season in 2015 before joining Robinson this season as an All-American.

This season, Stewart led the Tide in receiving yards (864), receiving touchdowns (eight) and yards per catch (16).  His 54 receptions were second on the national title runners-up.  The 6-1, 204-pound receiver finishes his ‘Bama career with 129 catches, 1,713 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Both Robinson and Humphrey were given first-round grades from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee.  Stewart received an “other” grade.

There was some good news on the early-entry front as defensive backs Anthony Averett and Tony Brown, who both had considered leaving early, ultimately decided to return to Tuscaloosa for another season.

Former five-star Alabama DB moving on to Ohio State

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After beginning his collegiate playing career at one FBS juggernaut, Kendall Sheffield will continue the next phase of it at another.

In a commitment shared with ESPN.com Tuesday, Sheffield confirmed that he will be transferring to Ohio State to play for the Buckeyes.  The cornerback chose over Texas A&M.

“After a great season at Blinn College, and an exciting recruiting process, I have decided to finish my collegiate career at The Ohio State University,” Sheffield said. “I am excited to join Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes, and look forward to helping Buckeye Nation return to the College Football Playoff.”

Sheffield was a five-star member of Alabama’s 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 3 player in the state of Texas and the No. 20 player on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Just one signee in the Crimson Tide’s top-ranked class that year was rated higher — wide receiver Calvin Ridley.

Even as he was working as a second-team corner during summer camp, Sheffield opted to transfer from ‘Bama last August after redshirting as a true freshman.  He spent the 2016 season at Blinn Junior College, and is rated as the No. 4 JUCO recruit in the country.

Sheffield will have three years of eligibility remaining.