Morning Kickoff: Crimson Tide News 12/9

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Get your day started with the Morning Kickoff. All your Crimson Tide news in one place.

Adonis Thomas Commits To Alabama: Crimson Tide Get Athletic 4-Star LB

"Two days after winning the SEC Championship Game and one day after securing a big in the Sugar Bowl as part of the first College Football Playoff, the Alabama Crimson added to their No. 1 recruiting class with the commitment of four-star outside linebacker Adonis Thomas (Lawrenceville, GA Central Gwinnett) who became the 22nd member of Nick Saban’s 2015 class."

We can add one more to the good guys. Things will really start to pick up on the recruiting front from now until National Signing Day. December is always a big month and Coach Nick Saban and the staff are some of the best in the business during this time of the year.

In Tuscaloosa, the sense of a foregone conclusion

"A pair of employees sat at the edge of a bar here at the intersection of University Boulevard and 20th Avenue on Saturday, just around the corner from an empty Bryant-Denny Stadium. It was more than four hours until the SEC championship game in Atlanta, where No. 1 Alabama would face No. 16 Missouri, so they slumped in their chairs and relaxed before the pregame rush hit and coeds would fill every inch of this place, waving credit cards and cash for another round of drinks or a greasy batch of pub fries.Four TV screens framed the bar. Three of them were tuned to Cincinnati-Houston. One, almost lost behind a corner, showed TCU-Iowa State. The then-No. 3-ranked Horned Frogs would win going away 55-3, but the potential playoff opponent for Alabama would go largely unnoticed. The audio was instead set on the Bearcats. Maybe it was that former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville could be heard in Tuscaloosa once again.Or maybe it was that Alabama fans here simply didn’t care.Spending the afternoon and night watching football in Tuscaloosa is an experience. It starts with the obligatory playing of the classic “Dixieland Delight” 20 minutes before kickoff, followed by — you guessed it — “Sweet Home Alabama.” Those opening chords play over the stench of bourbon, and everyone wearing crimson sings, many of them adding profane lyrics about their SEC brethren whenever the moment allows. There are more than a few shouts of “Roll Tide Roll!” And when the game does begin, they’re into every pass, whether it ends in a touchdown or an incompletion. They even cheer the punter, who earns every bit of praise."

Great stuff from ESPN. This is just another day in another season. Going to play for SEC titles and national titles has become something of the norm around Tuscaloosa and with Alabama fans.

Alabama a healthy favorite to win first College Football Playoff championship

"The Vegas handicappers like Alabama’s odds of claiming the first College Football Playoff title.The Crimson Tide is a 10-point favorite to beat Ohio State in the semifinal as well as the consensus pick to win the whole thing.Bovada has Alabama the 11-to-10 favorite to win its fourth national championship in six years. VegasInsider pegged the Tide as the 13-to-10 front-runner with Oregon the second choice in both places."

Those folks out there in the desert sure love some Alabama. The Tide is the front runners for the first College Football Playoff. All is right with the world.

Heisman Trophy finalists include Alabama receiver Amari Cooper

"Alabama famously went 73 years before one of its players won a Heisman Trophy. Now, for the fourth time in six years, the Crimson Tide will send a finalist to New York for the official presentation.Receiver Amari Cooper was one of three finalists named Monday evening live on ESPN2. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon will also attend the ceremony Saturday evening in Times Square.The Heisman will be presented at the Best Buy Theater live on ESPN between 7-8 p.m. CT."

Congratulations to our own Amari Cooper for the invite to New York City. All three guys are great players and they can’t go wrong with either one. I’m pulling for number 9 though.

Gymnastics Hosts Annual Stallings RISE Center Holiday Party

"The Alabama gymnastics team welcomed some very important guests to the Frances Smith Practice Facility Monday afternoon, hosting its annual holiday party for the children of the Stallings RISE Center.“The Tuscaloosa community does so much to support our ladies and this is just a small way that we can give back,” UA head coach Dana Duckworth said. “It also gives us a chance to interact with children that are dealing any number of challenges. To see them smile so big at the chance to come in here and play and have a great time despite those challenges – I think that gives our ladies some perspective as we enter exams and the hectic holiday season.”"

Crimson Tide Places 13 on AP All-SEC Team; Saban Finalist for Eddie Robinson Award

"The Alabama football team had 13 players selected to the Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference team on Monday, while wide receiver Amari Cooper was named the AP Offensive Player of the Year.Alabama head coach Nick Saban was also named one of eight finalist for the 2014 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America in conjunction with the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Saban led the Crimson Tide to a 12-1 record in 2014, an SEC Championship and a berth in the first College Football Playoff."