We are now exactly two weeks away from National Signing Day, and I figured it was time for another update for everyone on the recruiting front.
At this point, not a whole lot has changed to be brutally honest. We still only have about four spots left open, and the board remains largely unchanged. The Major Applewhite Saga came and went, but it had no impact whatsoever on recruiting. Star Jackson reconfirmed his commitment for the umpteenth time, as did Melvin Ray and others. It is just a complete non-issue in terms of recruiting impact.
At this point, the twenty-six commitments that we have all seem very firm in their commitment to Alabama... all except one: Terrance Cody, the junior college defensive tackle recruit. Cody is still committed to the Tide, to be sure, but Miami is now showing interest, and Cody gives the impression that if Miami were to give him a firm offer that he would bolt for the Canes. The real question mark at this point seems to be whether or not Cody will get that offer from Miami or not. You never know to be sure, but it does certainly seem like he is bound for Coral Gables if the Hurricanes will take him.
Cody aside, let's move on to the prospects still on the board:
Julio Jones: The biggest fish in a big pond is still seemingly headed to Alabama. He is quite as usual, but all signs still point to him coming to Alabama. He recently cut short a visit to Florida. At this point, it would really shock nearly everyone if Jones did not commit to Alabama, and not just Alabama fans, mind you. Even nearly all of the recruiting experts expect him to don crimson and white. He will officially announce his decision on National Signing Day.
Jerrell Harris: For whatever reason, most still think Auburn is currently in the lead for Harris. The departure of Will Muschamp certainly didn't help, but it apparently did not hurt the Tigers in their effort to sign Mr. Harris. He recently visited Auburn, though interestingly enough he did leave that visit a bit before scheduled. Hopefully we will be able to land Harris, but it seems a bit unlikely at the time. Harris will announce his decision on National Signing Day.
Alonzo Lawrence: The Mississippi native recently came on a visit to Alabama and left with rave reviews. He was obviously impressed with Saban's expertise of defensive backs, and he was extremely excited about the ability to start as a true freshman. He took a visit to Ole Miss this past weekend, who many feel is our main competition, and did not seem to be as impressed. He was planning on taking a visit to LSU this weekend, but changed that and is now going to Miami instead. We are seemingly the leader for Lawrence, and the odds of us signing him seem very good. He is not yet qualified, and he needs to improve his ACT score. He currently has a 15, and needs a 17. He will take the ACT on February 2nd, and he will also have an opportunity to take it two more times (April 12th and June 14th) if needed. At the very least, he has a very good chance of making it, and even if not he could probably be set to go with a year at Hargrave. Lawrence will announce his decision on National Signing Day.
Robert Quinn: The talented young defensive end from South Carolina has finished with his official visits after going to Chapel Hill this past weekend. He is down to three finalists at the moment: Alabama, Auburn, and North Carolina. Most think Alabama is the leader, and he will likely announce his decision in the coming days. He projects as a full qualifier.
Marcel Dareus: After finally getting his academics in order, Dareus still has a couple of visits left to take. He recently came back from North Carolina -- where he is big on their defensive line coach -- but admitted that the distance would likely hurt the Tarheel's chances in getting him. At this point, Alabama is still the leader, and I think we are in good shape for his signature. Dareus will announce his decision on National Signing Day.
T.J. Bryant: The Lincoln High product spurned the Tide a few weeks ago to visit LSU instead of Alabama, and then suddenly this past weekend he showed up on an official visit in Tuscaloosa. Even more interesting, Bryant was literally the only prospect that visited that entire weekend. In other words, he drove up to T'town and spent a couple of nights in Hotel Saban, so that certainly didn't hurt. Melvin Ray has promised we would get a couple of NSD surprises, so maybe he knows something we don't. Bryant is still on the board, but the smart money probably has him staying at home and going to FSU. Bryant will announce his decision on National Signing Day.
Omoregie Uzzi: After official visits to Alabama and Georgia Tech, Virginia has suddenly entered into the mix for Mr. Uzzi. I think the coaching staff would take a commitment from him, but I don't think it will matter. Uzzi is likely headed to Georgia Tech.
Mark Ingram: The Michigan product is currently getting a lot of attention from the Tide coaching staff. If you track N1UA, it is in that area all of the time, and we really want his signature, and rightfully so. He's only a three-star prospect, but his speed is simply unreal. He literally has the type of speed needed to run track in the SEC, and at over 200 pounds he is a physical back as well. Unfortunately, he is a Michigan State legacy -- his father is former NFL wide receiver -- and he will be a tough pull. No date as been set as to when he will announce his decision.
William Green: I'm not really sure what to say on Green that hasn't already been said. I think we could probably have him if we want him, but from the looks of things we aren't pursuing him all of that hard. We seemingly have several guys on the board in front of him. I look for him to either go to Florida or Auburn. There is a better chance that we get Green than Harbin, but the odds are still pretty low. There is no word yet on his announcement date, though it is likely National Signing Day.
Glenn Harbin: The McGill-Toolen product is still uncommitted, and still unlikely to be in the Tide's future. Most likely, Harbin is the prototypical example of the player whose commitment we would have accepted several months ago, but after waiting we really just do not have room for him. And we are apparently not the only one, either. He was very high on Florida, but they probably do not have room for him. He was going to visit LSU this weekend, and then reneged a bit, but they probably do not have room for him anyway. And his stock has been dropping like a rock lately, for whatever reason. Scout.com used to have him as a four star player and one of the top fifteen defensive ends in the country, and how he is a three star player and rated as the #72 defensive end prospect in the country. He recently said Alabama and South Carolina as his leaders, and he will probably end up in Columbia. Unless Robert Quinn bails on us, I just don't see any way how Harbin ends up here. As the Mr. Mackey on South Park would likely say, "Procrastination is bad, m'kay."
So that about wraps up the prospect summaries.
At this point, we will likely sign four more players, and that will go up to five if Cody heads to Miami. I hate to sound this way about Cody, mind you, but from a recruiting rankings perspective it is pretty irrelevant as to whether or not he leaves because we will bring in just as highly touted of a player to replace him. Moreover, it will help us in the long-run if that happens because we will sign a player with four years of eligibility and not just two, though it would be nice to have him in running situations in the short-term.
So how do we close? At this point the safe bet seems to be Julio Jones, Alonzo Lawrence, Robert Quinn, and Marcel Dareus. That could change a bit of course, but that seems to be the most likely result at the moment.
Either way, expect us to finish on National Signing Day with a very big bang.