Starter among three suspended by Alabama for College Football Playoff over team rules violation

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Alabama announced on Monday that three players — junior offensive lineman Elliot Baker, sophomore offensive lineman Deonte Brown and sophomore tight end Kedrick James — did not make the trip to South Florida for the College Football Playoff semifinal and are suspended for the Orange Bowl due to a violation of team rules and policies.

Brown is the most notable player of the trio. The 6-foot-4, 344-pounder from Decatur, Alabama, earned the starting job at left guard midway through the 2018 season. He started five games for the Crimson Tide, beginning with the Tennessee game on Oct. 20. He missed a contest against The Citadel on Nov. 17 but returned for the Iron Bowl vs. Auburn on Nov. 24.

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A key member of a Tide offensive line that came of age during the last month of the season, Brown helped paved the way for Alabama’s rushers to average 5.62 yards per carry during the final month of the regular season, including 5.41 in the SEC Championship Game win over Georgia. 

Baker is a 6-foot-7, 307-pounder who joined the team prior to the 2017 season from the College of San Francisco. He was the No. 1 junior college offensive tackle in the Class of 2017 and was a four-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite. He did not play in any games for Alabama in 2018. James made his debut for the Crimson Tide last season and has played five games in each of the last two seasons.

No. 1 Alabama will play No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl semifinal on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. ET. The winner will take on either No. 2 Clemson or No. 3 Notre Dame for the CFP National Championship.

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