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Jimbo Fisher Fires Back At Nick Saban: ‘Some People Think They’re God’

Even in the offseason, college football rivalries never disappoint. Jimbo Fisher shot some fiery comments back at Nick Saban after the Alabama coach stated that Texas A&M “bought every player” in its top-ranked 2022 recruiting class.

“We never bought anybody,” Fisher angrily said in a press conference Wednesday night. “No rules are broken. Nothing was done wrong. It’s a shame that you’ve got to sit here and defend 17-year-old kids and families and Texas A&M. Because we do things right. We’re always going to do things right. We’re always going to be here. We’re doing a heck of a job.”

Among Texas A&M’s class of 30 commitments and two transfers includes eight five-star prospects — including defensive linemen Walter Nolen, the second-ranked player nationally — and 20 four-star prospects. As ESPN notes, the class is regarded as the top class in the era of recruiting rankings.

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The 56-year-old head coach didn’t name the seven-time National Champion Saban personally, but wasn’t coy about who he was referring to either. “It’s despicable that a reputable head coach can come out and say this when he doesn’t get his way,” Fisher said.

“The narcissist in him doesn’t allow those things to happen. It’s ridiculous when he’s not on top.” Fisher also signaled that Saban — whose own 2022 recruiting class is ranked second by 247Sports with three five-star players — has his own skeletons in the closet.

“Some people think they’re God. Go dig into how God did his deal. You may find out a lot of things you don’t want to know. We build him up to be the czar of football. Go dig into his past, or anybody’s that’s ever coached with him. You can find out anything you want to find out, what he does and how he does it. It’s despicable.”

Fisher, who was the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach on Saban’s staff at LSU from 2000 to 2004, negatively compared that time to his time spent learning under Florida State’s Bobby Bowden. “There’s a reason people I ain’t back and worked for [Saban]. Don’t wanna be associated with him.”

Saban’s comments first arose during a meeting with business leaders Wednesday night. “I mean, we were second in recruiting last year. A&M was first,” Saban said. “A&M bought every player on their team — made a deal for name, image, likeness. We didn’t buy one player, all right? But I don’t know if we’re gonna be able to sustain that in the future because more and more people are doing it. It’s tough.”

Saban stated that Alabama players made $3 million doing it the “right way” and that only 25 players were able to leverage NIL (“name, image, and likeness”) deals. Saban also claimed the problem with the NIL deals — which were established in 2021 after a long fight over college players’ entitlements to financial compensation — is that coaches are “trying to create an advantage for themselves.”

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Saban isn’t a stranger to controversy. He previously rebutted claims that Alabama used NIL deals to entice prospects to the school. “We never cheated to get a player. We never paid players to come to our school,” he said.

It’s not the first time Fisher has blasted NIL claims, either. In February, he defended the school after Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin took a dig at them, saying Texas A&M would incur a luxury tax on the 2022 class. Nick Saban made comments similar to the ones said Wednesday at that time as well, though he later said he “wasn’t accusing anybody.”

Suffice to say, the off-field drama will certainly contribute to the SEC schools’ bitterness against each other. While Alabama holds an 11-3 all-time record versus Texas A&M, the Aggies broke an eight-year losing streak in 2021, winning 41-38. The teams will face off this year in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 8.

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Football on Field

Alabama’s DeVonta Smith Wins Heisman Trophy 

DeVonta Smith had a killer season playing as wide receiver for Alabama’s Crimson Tide, so much so that he has been rewarded with this year’s Heisman Trophy. Up against fellow teammate Mac Jones, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, and Florida’s Kyle Trask – all phenomenal players who had amazing seasons even though they had to endure playing a season in the middle of a global pandemic – Smith’s win of the trophy was thought to be a relatively unanimous, and unexpected,  decision. 

Smith received a total of 1,856 points, giving him a comfortable lead over Lawrence, who won second place with 1,187 points; Jones received 1,130 points and Trask 737. After Smith was announced the winner he spoke with some press to thank his teammates and praise them for helping him have such a successful season. He also wanted to offer some inspiration for any young football fans who may be watching at home:

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“To all the young kids out there that’s not the biggest, not the strongest: just keep pushing because I’m not the biggest. I’ve been doubted a lot just because of my size. And really it just comes down to if you put your mind to it then you can do it.”

Smith’s win is actually quite unexpected in the realm of college football. Before this season Smith was always a good player, but never one that really stood out when compared to his fellow teammates. The last time he made college football headlines was his freshman year when he caught a pass from Tua Tagovailoa during overtime, securing Alabama with a national title win against Georgia for the 2017 season. 

Even at the beginning of his senior year season, Smith was initially overshadowed by teammates Jones, running back Najee Harris and fellow receiver Jaylen Waddle. However, when Waddle was injured back in October during a game, Smith had to take on the role of being the go-to receiver for his team. Within the three games that followed Waddle’s injury Smith caught 27 passes for 518 yards and eight touchdowns. 

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However it was the way that Smith carried this success streak into the end of the season that secured him with the Heisman Trophy. In the game against LSU Smith carried out 231 yards and three touchdowns, and when he gave his team two touchdowns in the SEC title game against Florida, securing their unbeaten streak, voters knew that Smith was the one who should receive the trophy this year. 

In total, Smith had 1,511 receiving yards by the end of the season and 17 touchdown catches in the regular season. He’s only the seventh player in history to receive the award without primarily playing the season as the quarterback or running back; he’s the first receiver this century to receive the trophy as well. 

Overall, Smith played an amazing season as Alabama’s wide receiver, but he remained humble when accepting the trophy and praised his teammates for remaining so strong within his four years at Alabama: “I thank my teammates, with team success comes individual success so without you all, I wouldn’t be where I am today, winning this award.”