2014 National Signing Day: Alabama's Final Pieces

5-Star DE Chad Thomas. - Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We are coming down the stretch run to 2014 National Signing Day on Wednesday, February 5. The day officially starts when the first fax comes streaming through (Side note: I wonder when they are going to start accepting texted or tweeted LOIs. Or maybe post a Vine of a guy signing and then tweet an Instagram of the LOI).


This past weekend the Crimson Tide hosted a significant number of 2015 recruits as well as a few 2016's and 2017's for their Junior Day. It was highlighted by 5-star DT Daron Payne of Shades Valley School in Birmingham and 5-star CB Minkah Fitzpatrick from Jersey City, NJ. Also on campus were 2015 Bama commits OL Dallas Warmack (Chance's brother), DL Jonathan Ledbetter, and RB Desherrius Flowers among others. These are all unofficial visits.

Two guests, Lester Cotton and Daylon Charlot, committed to the 2015 class on Saturday.


As the only official 2014 visitor, 5-star Chad Thomas garnered most of the attention from Nick Saban & Company this weekend. Thomas is a 6-5/240 defensive end from Booker T. Washington HS in Miami, FL. Coach Mario Cristobal has been tearing up the recruiting trail in south Florida. Just getting this Miami commit to visit is a victory.

Christian Miller volunteered to return to T-town for an unofficial visit to help with recruiting. Miami native Amari Cooper was in the mix as well. However, I get the feeling that Thomas is just too in love with his hometown. I sincerely doubt he flips to Alabama.


You may have detected a puzzled tone from my last recruiting post regarding the impending visit of barely-a-3-star Miami commit Terry McCray who had planned a visit to Tuscaloosa as well. He ended up cancelling the visit. I have a strong feeling that an annoyed Hurricanes staff had some influence over that decision which may or may not have involved pulling an offer if he stepped on that plane.


Another head-scratcher was the late plus-one of 3-star safety/wide receiver Donovan Wilson from Shreveport. A couple of weeks ago, he only had offers from the likes of Memphis and all the schools that start with "Louisiana" but do not end in "State". Then in mid to late January, he gets offers from Utah and TCU, accepting the Utes offer. This was followed by both Saban and Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin paying him visits this past week. He was supposed to visit T-town this weekend but cancelled after Sumlin offers him a full ride which he accepted. He was never offered a full scholarship by Bama but I have a feeling Saban may have offered a greyshirt. Wilson was bird-dogged by coach Billy Napier - the same guy who nabbed Cameron Robinson, Cameron Sims, Laurence "Hootie" Jones, Josh Frazier, O.J. Smith, and Derek Kief from out of state.


There has been some speculation regarding Smith's ability to qualify to enter the University of Alabama. This past weekend, he took an official visit to Mississippi State after an in-home visit with Coach Dan Mullen. He is a question mark for now.

Along those lines, another Bama commit safety Chris Williams is a question mark as well. He appears to have made a good score on his ACT but it may be his core grades that are the problem. He took an official visit to Central Florida this weekend and it is looking more and more like that will be his final landing spot.

(Side note: The haters out there are going to whine "if he can't get into Bama, he can't get into ___, PAAWWWWL!" This is simply not the case. Since Nick Saban arrived on campus, applications, enrollment, revenues, and the endowment have exploded. Thanks to these factors, U of A has been able to raise their entry standards. Acceptance rate is at 53.1% compared to 69.34% at MSU and 77.23% at Auburn. US News & World Report grades The University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa as "More Selective" while MSU and Auburn are "Selective".)


Okay. So, enough about who is NOT going to be coming to Alabama. Let's focus on a few that are still on the big board:

(Twitter: @SeeMyAmbition80)

Tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith (6-3/230) was one of the two unexpected visitors to Tuscaloosa January 24. He originally signed with Georgia in 2012 out of Moultrie, GA and played in eight games as a freshman, mostly on special teams. You may recall that he and starting Georgia safety Josh Harvey-Clemons were caught by UGA campus police smoking left-handed cigarettes back in May 2013. Harvey-Clemons was suspended one game and Flournoy-Smith transferred to Georgia Military College. It sounds to me that after a certain head coach at a certain school lost control of his program, mom and dad yanked their son out of that program and sent him to military school.

New Louisville and former UGA Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham convinced Flournoy-Smith to make an official visit to Bobby Petrino's newest country club but I can't see him landing there.

There is a good chance Flournoy-Smith joins this class. The Tide was considering adding a true tight end but there really did not seem to be too many viable candidates. By true tight end, I mean a guy who lines up next to a tackle on the line of scrimmage - unlike an H-back, a position which Bama has covered for now. This is probably the reason why the Tide laid off H-back Tyler Luatua who looked like a Crimson Tide lock a year ago.


The 3-star East Coweta (Sharpsburg, GA) safety Markell Boston has picked up some last-minute interest. After a year of crickets, East Carolina finally noticed him and he committed a few weeks ago. Soon after he landed in Tuscaloosa on January 24. Since then he picked up offers from UCF and Indiana. Nebraska offered him and then hosted him this weekend. I like his size (6-1.5/200) and he has a good highlight reel but I don't know if Bama will offer unless everyone else says "no".


A lot of reports are going to say that Alabama has a chance with Auburn High School's Rashaan Evans but I don't want to waste your time. I just don't see it happening. He is a 5-star OLB.


(Twitter: @MalachiDupre)

The Tide staff is still recruiting 5-star WR Malachi Dupre but if you know anything about body language, it looks like these two photos tell the story.


I don't want to count out 3-star OG Jordan Sims just yet because he hasn't committed anywhere and he is a big Tide fan. It is looking like he'll land at Ole Miss but he better not wait too long because their class in filling up. If not there, then expect him to sign with Mississippi State. He appears to be holding out hope that everyone else will turn down Alabama including Markell Boston.


Nick Saban always seems to have a trick up his sleeve. Don't be surprised if he pulls an ace out this week.

Alabama currently has 25 commitments with D.J. Pettway not counting against the class limit of 25. Eight of the commitments are already enrolled at the Capstone.

(Remember that all verbal commitments are non-binding and any recruit is free to change his mind at any time up until he signs his name on the the dotted line. And even then...)

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