As we predicted immediately after signing day and before spring practice, Saban is going to have to cut players, again, for the third year in a row, in order to get down to NCAA limit of 85. If you are new here go read this, then read this, and lastly read this.
For those of you too lazy to read all that, just read this: Alabama returned 66 scholarship players after last season, signed 29 new recruits to letters of intent, and now must shed 10 players between signing day and the first day of fall camp in order to stay under the mandated 85 scholarship limit. Terry Grant and Travis Spikes have already left the team.
To help track the 10 bodies that need to go we have created a table for them.
2010 The March to 85 - Alabama
|Player||Position||Reason for leaving after NSD|
|Terry Grant||Running Back||Scholarship not renewed|
|Travis Sikes||Wide Receiver||Scholarship not renewed|
|Rod Woodson||Safety||Scholarship not renewed|
|Star Jackson||Quarterback||Transfer, Georgia State Div 1AA.|
|Deion Belue||Defensive Back||Academically Ineligible; headed to JUCO|
|Alfy Hill||Linebacker||Academically Ineligible; future unknown|
|Taylor Pharr||Offensive Lineman||Medical Hardship|
|Milton Talbert||Linebacker||Medical Hardship|
|Darius McKeller||Offensive Lineman||Medical Hardship|
|Ronnie Carswell||Wide Receiver||Greyshirt|
|Wilson Love||Defensive End||Greyshirt|
The latest addition is Darius McKeller. Here is Saban's comment on Darius:
"Our medical staff thought that he would be at severe risk of injuring it again if he continued to play."
Click the link to continue reading >>>
Darius' story is interesting, he signed in 2009 and delayed his enrollment. But what is really interesting and it's something we are really going to start paying attention to, and that is the use of a medical scholarship.
"Per terms of a medical, McKeller can continue to stay in school at UA on scholarship and not count toward Alabama's 85-man total, so long as he does not continue his playing career."
So if we have this right, he signed in 2009, has been deemed eligible for a medical hardship scholarship and will be released from his football scholarship but will still get his tuition paid for. In the eyes of Alabama fans this is a win win for everyone!
"You hate to hear the news for McKellar, but I cannot say it is much of a surprise. I speculated about his future several days ago, and when no mention was made of him when spring practice opened, you had to know something was up. You hate to hear the news on a personal level for McKellar, and I also hate to hear it on a football level. A few scratched their heads when we took him a year ago, but he looked good in his senior year and I, for one, was looking forward to seeing what he could do. Fortunately, though, we're not hurting for depth at tackle, and for Mr. McKellar he gets a full paid ride probably worth $35,000+ to attend The University of Alabama. We should all be so lucky. Best wishes to him."
But wait, there is more to the story...McKeller was one of 14 offensive linemen to fill two open positions.
"Alabama football signed four offensive linemen in this recruiting class, including the re-signing of one from 2009. Of those four, three are enrolled and taking part in spring practice. Additionally, some 10 offensive linemen return from back-up and scout team duty from last year. Those 14 are among the candidates to fill two open positions and find playing time at all five O-Line spots."
So this reads like a bedtime story. Kid signs with Alabama, gets injured, Alabama moves him to a medical scholarship (something we still don't understand whatsoever) and he gets $35,000 to attend school and Alabama gets to free up a football scholarship. All's well that ends well, right.
Wrong. First of all, what the hell is a medical scholarship, how many do you get, and who is in charge of policing this??? We've heard of a player being granted an extra year of eligibility so that a player can come back and play-to fill out their 4 years of eligibility, but we have never heard of a player being given a medical scholarship to get his education paid for and his football scholarship freed up to be given to someone else.
Not to sound cynical here, but if not for Saban's oversigning and the fact that he HAS TO DROP PLAYERS TO GET DOWN TO 85, would all of this sound suspicious? What coach wouldn't want to move injured players that his medical staff deems unable to continue without further risk of injury to some other kind of scholarship so that he can fill that spot with a fresh body??? And what injured player, with little hope of seeing the field, wouldn't want his schooling paid for without having to practice or "earn" it???
Secondly, why do we get the impression that this has something to do with the APR. If Alabama just cuts McKeller and he doesn't transfer or graduate, they face APR penalties. Why is McKeller not required to stay on football scholarship until he graduates?
Lastly, how lucky is Nick Saban to have an extra 10 guys over the 85 limit that he can slide into the roster instead of having to wait until next year to fill the spot vacated by Mr. McKeller's unforeseen and unfortunate injury??? He's either lucky or damn sneaky. You decide.
For now the March continues and the new magic number is 7.