The second and final high school camp of the summer is still taking place in Tuscaloosa as we speak, but things are now beginning to wind down. The four-day camp began on Sunday and will end Wednesday afternoon, but by all accounts the camp has been highly successful. Countless highly-touted prospects came to visit, including many current Alabama commitments, and many more high school stars made their way to Tuscaloosa in search of improving their game and earning an Alabama offer. Under Nick Saban the Tide's camps have gained a reputation for being extraordinarily intense ordeals that impresses almost everyone in attendance, and the second summer camp of 2009 proved to be no exception to the general rule.
The biggest news to date coming out the camp is in regard to Brian Vogler, the highly-touted tight end prospect ouf of Columbus, Georgia. In the last installment of the Meat Market, I openly speculated that we may be able to wrap up his services with an impressive showing, and it certainly seems like we did just that. The 6'7 and 250 pound Vogler spent a couple of days in Tuscaloosa, and came away with glowing reviews. In the aftermath of the camp, Vogler says he will announce his collegiate decision on Wednesday at noon, and he is unanimously expected to choose the Tide. Expect Alabama to officially add the gargantuan four-star tight end into the mix then.
Corey Grant is also making a decision this week. Grant did not attend either Alabama or Auburn camps this weekend -- despite some reports that he was in Auburn, those were later retracted and Grant expressly refuted such claims -- but he will be having a press conference at Opelika High School this coming Thursday at noon to announce his decision. I wrote that last week that the smart money was probably on Grant committing to Alabama, and that opinion has only been strengthened in the past week (the Auburn Rivals publisher explicitly said that Alabama leads for Grant, and the Auburn Scout publisher has backed off his claims of it being an Auburn v. Florida battle). Most do expect Grant to commit to Alabama this upcoming Thursday, but in all fairness I do think it would be a stretch to call an Alabama lock at this point. We should get him, and the smart money is clearly on the Tide, but I do not think anyone should be overly shocked if he ends up committing to Auburn. Fingers crossed on this one.
Also making big news this weekend was Demarco Cobbs, the wide receiver prospect out of Tulsa. Whether or not he could make it to Tuscaloosa quickly became an on-again off-again story, but he finally caught a flight to Birmingham, and had a great visit to Tuscaloosa. Some thought he might even commit before he left, and while he did not do that, it is clear that the Tide is in great shape here. Moreover, Cobbs even laid out how his recruiting process would go... he would probably be a silent commit to someone, take three or four official visits, and then announce his decision on National Signing Day. At the very least, the Tide has assured itself a spot at the table, and it would not be unrealistic to say that right now the smart money is on Cobbs signing with the Tide. To be sure, it's obviously a long way until National Signing Day, but by the same token its hard not to be bullish about Alabama's chances with this young man.
Harrison Jones, the tight end prospect out of Nashville, was also in Tuscaloosa this weekend, and his visit went about like expected. He says he is down to Alabama, Oklahoma, and North Carolina, but there's no doubt whatsoever as to where the Tide legacy will ultimately end up. Previously he had planned on announcing his decision before the start of his senior season, but he is now talking of possibly delaying it further. Truth be told, I imagine that Jones is a silent commitment to 'Bama and that he's just waiting to go public some time during the season, if that is indeed what our coaching staff wants. With the number of remaining slots being very limited as it is, with hopefully two more commitments coming this week, I imagine the TIde coaching staff may try to stretch out the remaining commitments as we hit the final stretch run. That's not to say, of course, that Jones won't commit in the very near future, it is merely to say that no one should take it as a bad indicator if Jones delays his decision a bit longer.
Keenan Allen was also in attendance at the 'Bama camp, and by all accounts he performed very well. This one was probably much needed for Allen to ensure that he did not get caught in the dreaded numbers crunch, and the general feeling is that the visit helped solidify the Tide's lead for the versatile athlete. Allen did previously say that regardless of what happened in Tuscaloosa, he was going to make sure that he went home and talked things over with his family before making a commitment, so while we shouldn't necessarily expect anything any time soon, the Tide nevertheless seems to be in good shape for Allen's services.
The news with John Fulton, however, is a bit more disturbing. He has delayed his decision until December -- though there keeps being frequent hints that it could be moved up -- and this past week his teammate, defensive end Dexter Morant, committed to Georgia. The Dawgs were coming on strong for Fulton regardless, and he recently said he had them second overall. That, of course, came before news of Morant to UGA broke, and now I'm afraid we are going to have Morant in Fulton's ear for the next four months lobbying for his teammate to join him in Athens. To be sure, Morant himself said that he doesn't necessarily expect that they will end up at the same school, and Fulton has said that Alabama still leads for him even after Morant's commitment to Georgia, but at the very least it is not news that you want to hear. We'll just have to see how this one develops in the coming weeks and months.
And speaking of concerns regarding Fulton, the consensus opinion is that we will take one more commitment at cornerback. If we miss on Fulton, who will it be? For now I say do not count out Garry Peters. If you recall, Peters' chance with the Tide largely went out the window with the commitment of Deion Belue, but don't necessarily call this one a done deal just yet. Peters is about to commit to Clemson, but even so he has made it clear that he still plans to take an official visit to Alabama, and the feeling that I get is that the Tide could turn him late if we really want him.
Here's a name that you probably haven't heard before... Arie Kouandijo. The Maryland product is a four-star offensive tackle, and he came to visit Tuscaloosa this weekend. He seems to be pretty interested in the Tide, and right now I imagine that he is only behind Damien Robinson and James Stone on our board at tackle. It's probably a bit of a longshot that he ends up in Tuscaloosa, but he is a name to keep your eye on nevertheless.
Several other big-time surprise visitors also made their way to Tuscaloosa as well. The biggest of the group was Florida linebacker Jeff Luc, who many feel to be the best lineback prospect to come out of the prep level in the last few years. Luc is widely expected to stay somewhere in Florida, and he will likely sign with the Gators, but it is nevertheless nice to see a prospect like himself take legitimate interest in Alabama. We have almost reached a point in recruiting success to which almost any legitimate high caliber prospect has to take a serious look at the Tide.
Camps notwithstanding, Eddie Lacy and Darrington Sentimore still remain on the fence academically from the 2009 class, and the end is drawing ever closer. There has be no good news as of late on Sentimore, but we do have some solid news on Lacy. According to the Geismar product himself, he currently has a B in an Algebra II course and he needs an A to qualify. His final in the course is this Friday, and there he will have the opportunity to bump his grade up to an A, and if he can do that then he should qualify. All we can do is hope for the best on that front.
Finally, as always, we'll finish off with a few quick hitters...
LaCraig Brown, a 6'4 and 270 pound defensive end out of Louisiana, claims a 'Bama offer, and says one from LSU should be coming shortly. Aubrey Phillips claimed a 'Bama offer after being sent packing from FSU, but I'd highly doubt it... we didn't want him last year, I don't see why we would after he washed out of Tallahassee. Garrison Smith committed to Georgia. Jordan Allen committed to LSU. Eric Mack committed to South Carolina. Dequan Menzie, a JUCO DB, claims an offer from Alabama, but I highly doubt it is commitable. No word yet on whether or not Carlos Grey earned a 'Bama offer at this camp. Dale Trimble was in Tuscaloosa and played pretty well, but the Tide will take a pass on him. Keiwone Malone was in Tuscaloosa and wowed everyone yet again, his stock is clearly on the rise. Kyle Prater says he will visit Tuscaloosa before the start of the football season.