Morning Kickoff: Crimson Tide News 2/9


Meet Alabama’s next star in the making: Freshman quarterback Blake Barnett

"Alabama head coach Nick Saban has never started a true freshman at quarterback in his tenure at the school, but he’s not opposed to the idea.“I wouldn’t rule that out at all,” Saban said. “If the guy’s the best player, we’re going to play him. Just like Julio Jones was the best player when he was a wide receiver as a freshman and we played him, or Amari Cooper was or Trent Richardson was. If the guy’s ready to play and he’s the best player that means he’s done something to deserve the right to play.”"

Alabama fans are already excited about the prospects of seeing Blake Barnett on the field. But as last year showed, the fan favorite going into A-Day isn’t automatically guaranteed the job.

Softball Completes Undefeated Weekend With 4-0 Win Over McNeese

"Alabama (6-0) earned its second shutout of the season, blanking McNeese (3-2) thanks in large part to a strong start by Sydney Littlejohn (2-0), who threw 5.0 shutout innings before Leslie Jury closed it out in relief. Offensively, freshman Demi Turner led the way with a 3-3 performance with two RBI while seniors Danielle Richard and Dane Hays drove in the Tide’s remaining two runs."

The Tide softball team is making serious noise, and if you’re in the Birmingham-Tuscaloosa area, you need to get down there to see a game.

Thompson looking to learn, earn playing time

"“Spring practice will be my first college practice and I probably won’t get adjusted to the speed the first day. But I want to learn as much as I can learn and if my number is called to play this year, I want to contribute.”Thompson also said he’s willing to contribute on special teams, if his new coaching staff asks him. He’ll do whatever it takes to have an opportunity to step onto the field as a true freshman.“It’s going to take hard work and dedication,” he said. “I just know that playing time isn’t given, you have to earn it. If I really want it, I have to dig deep and grind hard every day to get a chance for playing time.”"

It’s a cliche to say that Alabama reloads instead of rebuilding, but under Nick Saban, that’s exactly the case. It’s likely that more and more freshmen will contribute once the season rolls around.

Three-star recruits help win national titles, too

"Five-star recruits are great, but three-star guys like Cody, Fairley, Maze and Warmack played just as big a role in Alabama and Auburn winning national titles. ESPN gave Marshall and Sims 78 grades, but without them, Auburn doesn’t play for a national title in 2013 and Alabama falls short of the playoff in 2014."

It’s not always the high school superstars that are the keys to a championship season. Alabama has been a mix of highly-touted stars and overachievers in its most recent run.

5 spots where Alabama’s signees face crowded path to immediate playing time

"Alabama signed the nation’s top recruiting class, per the 247Sports composite rankings, but several of the Crimson Tide’s top signees have a lot of competition for playing time in 2015."

It’s a good problem to have, isn’t it Tide fans?