Nick Saban has announced that senior right guard Alphonse ‘Shank’ Taylor has been indefinitely suspended from the football team. Taylor was arrested on Sunday morning for driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident.

“We are very disappointed any time a player makes a choice that leads to this kind of behavior,” Saban said in a statement released today. “We are still in the process of gathering all of the details on the situation, but from a football standpoint, Alphonse Taylor has been indefinitely suspended from the team.”

Taylor started all 15 games in Alabama’s national title run last season. Partly due to being overweight, Taylor spent spring drills trying to hold onto to his job at right guard. Redshirt freshman Brandon Kennedy ran with the first unit at the position most of the spring.



Tide staff made the difference


Recruiting is all about relationships. And the relationship that the Alabama staff built with Akial Byers and his family paid off with a big commitment from the standout defensive lineman from Fayetteville, AR.

The 6-2, 280-pound Byers was in Tuscaloosa this past weekend meeting with UA academic advisers and visiting with the Tide coaching staff. The visit concluded with Byers’ casting his lot with the Tide over FSU, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Ole Miss.

“What he’s told me is that the relationships that Coach Karl Dunbar and Coach Billy Napier built with him, his mother and his brother, were the difference between Alabama and the other schools,” says Fayetteville assistant Benji Mahan.

“Obviously, Alabama has a program that speaks for itself. Everybody knows that. But it’s the time and effort they invested in him that made a big difference.”

As a junior, Byers had 69 tackles and three sacks.

“They’re getting a guy who fits into their system,” Mahan says. “He’s the type of guy they’ve had in the past that’s made them so successful. He fits the mold with his size, hips and his speed. He’s got everything they look for.

“The sky is the limit for Akial, and Alabama sees that. They think the sky is limit for him. And he’s a kid who has barely touched the weights. It’s hard to imagine what he can become once he gets on a good nutrition program and gets in their weight program.”

Byers gives Alabama 15 commitments in the 2017 class.



Courtesy UA Media Relations


Alabama football seniors Ryan Anderson, Reuben Foster and Tim Williams have been named to the 2016 Butkus Award watch list announced by the Butkus Foundation.

The trio is among 51 linebackers from around the country named to the preseason list recognizing the nation’s top linebacker and the Tide’s three watch list selections are the most of any team in the country. Three Crimson Tide players have won the award previously – C.J. Mosley (2013), Rolando McClain (2009) and Derrick Thomas (1988).

Dangerous off the edge, Anderson enters his senior campaign as one of the nation’s top pass rushers and one of the most reliable linebackers for the Crimson Tide defense. He notched 37 tackles a season ago, with 11.5 of those going for a loss (-50), and added six sacks (-41 yards), two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and nine quarterback hurries. Anderson got stronger as the season wore on, recording 9.5 of his tackles for loss in his last 10 games, including a career-high two tackles for loss at then-No. 20 Mississippi State, against Florida in the SEC Championship and finally against Michigan State in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. He played a key role in the Tide’s late-game, regular-season win over Tennessee, forcing a fumble on the Volunteers’ final offensive drive with less than two minutes to play, sealing the 19-14 win and keeping the Crimson Tide’s title hopes intact.

Foster returns for his senior season to anchor the Alabama defense after learning under unanimous first team All-American and current Buffalo Bills linebacker Reggie Ragland during his junior campaign. An instinctive backer who earned the starting job at inside linebacker a season ago, Foster finished second on the team with 73 total tackles, eight for a loss (-24 yards), with two sacks (-7 yards), three quarterback hurries and nine pass breakups in 2015.

One of the nation’s top pass rushers on the outside, Williams returns for his senior season with the Tide. He played in all 15 games as a junior and ranked second on the team with 10.5 sacks (-78 yards) to go with 12.5 tackles for loss (-92 yards), four quarterback hurries and one pass breakup. Heating up as the season progressed, Williams used his last five SEC games and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic to record at least half a sack and added 2.0 sacks apiece at Auburn and versus Florida. Williams notched 11.0 of his 12.5 tackles for loss (-61 yards) during that time, and added 7.0 of his 10.5 sacks (-60 yards).

The Butkus Award has been presented annually since 1985 by the Butkus Foundation to recognize the top linebacker in college football. The award is named in honor of college and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus. The 2016 winner will be announced at the conclusion of the regular season.




Two Tiders make watch list


Alabama Senior Gehrig Dieter and Crimson Tide sophomore Calvin Ridley have been named to the prestigious Biletnikoff Award list for the nation’s top receiver. Dieter caught 94 passes for 1,033 yards and 10 touchdowns last season at Bowling Green. As a true freshman last season, Ridley was Alabama’s leading receiver with 89 receptions for 1,045 yards and seven touchdowns.

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