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2008 Recruiting Class: Academics Update

As we all know, the end of May brings about times of graduation for the nation's high school seniors, and it is a time of added importance for football recruits. Graduation brings about the end of recruits' high school careers, and with their core GPAs and number of core credit hours becoming concrete, the process of becoming academically eligible for participation in Division 1-A athletics goes into full swing. Players who have completed the appropriate number of core credit hours, and cut the mustard on the NCAA Sliding Scale, start getting deemed academically eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse, and we finally get some substantive news regarding their eligibility. We've gotten a lot of news recently on the eligibility front, and I figured it was time for an update here on RBR. So, here goes for some of the ones we've heard of so far:

Julio Jones: As was mentioned earlier in one of the fanposts, Foley High School head football coach Todd Watson publicly stated that Julio Jones was qualified, and would report to Tuscaloosa later this month in preparation for the start of the first summer term at the beginning of June. According to Watson, Jones' eligibility was never a question mark, with him easily completing the core courses and scoring well on the ACT. This was fully expected, mind you, but for months and months Auburn people kept saying that Jones would never make it, and -- big shock -- those rumors were completely false and contained no validity whatsoever.

Robert Lester: Jones' high school teammate, safety prospect Robert Lester, is also academically qualified according to Watson. This was generally expected, but we now have official confirmation on the matter.

Marcel Dareus: One of the borderline guys, Marcel Dareus stated recently on a talk show that he was academically qualified and planned to report for the first summer session. For those who do not remember, Dareus went under the recruiting radar until late in the game -- precisely because no one felt he could qualify -- but after scoring high on the ACT, college recruiters went crazy, and ultimately Nick Saban won the battle over several other top programs. There was still a question mark, however, to the specifics of his eligibility. Some thought that he would be qualified, while others merely thought that he had put himself in the position of possibly qualifying. Either way, this week has brought the good news that Dareus did make it, and the highly-touted defensive lineman will be on campus in a couple of weeks.

Terrance Cody: One of the Tide's other big lineman signees, the gargantuan JUCO transfer Terrance Cody, also qualified as well. To be frank, Cody was a bit of a concern because you always worry about JUCO players -- considering most have failed to qualify once, and because they have to get their associate's degree -- but nevertheless he pulled through and made it. He stated that, thankfully, an academic advisor saw a problem on his transcripts where he would be two courses short of graduating, but once the problem was recognized he was able to get it done in the classroom. Cody stated that he had been officially cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse, and that he would report to Tuscaloosa at the end of May.

Jermaine Preyear: By far the biggest surprise of the class thus far has come from Mr. Preyear. He was an early commitment in the 2008 class, and in all honesty most people expected from the start that he would be an academic casualty. I don't know exactly why people seemingly felt that way, but it was the general consensus. However, Preyear stated in a recent interview with 'Bama Online that he was qualified and that he would be reporting this summer. It's a surprise, to be sure, but I'm not complaining.

Alonzo Lawrence: There was some bad news recently, and it is in regard to the highly-touted cornerback Alonzo Lawrence. It seems that he had a relatively big jump in his ACT score -- and no, I do not believe the NCAA Clearinghouse has ever confirmed exactly what constituted a big enough jump sufficient to draw their ire -- and as a result his score was red-flagged by the Clearinghouse. His status, unfortunately, moves from certainly qualified to being in limbo because of uncertainty with the Clearinghouse. However, all hope is not lost as there is still a lot of time to get things worked out, and fortunately most still believe that he will qualify. Andrew Bone, for one, went on the record a couple of days ago saying that he still expected Lawrence to qualify, and Lawrence himself seemed to have no real concerns in an interview with 'Bama Online, stating that he had already gotten the number twenty-one picked out, and was looking forward to reporting this summer. I think things will still likely work out as we all hope, but it's an issue we'll have to keep our eyes on for now.

Obviously there are a lot more players in this class not covered in this update -- including many, like Tyler Love, who were never a concern regarding academics -- but nevertheless we have been able to get a broad overview of several of the players who were considered to be on the fence academically. Fortunately for the Tide, things are shaping up extremely well in this class in regard to academic casualties. We still have a few question marks out there -- namely Kerry Murphy -- and will likely have some general casualties (Destin Hood to MLB, most notably), but on the academic front this class looks to be the best we have seen in a long time. This was a huge class, and though I originally projected three or four academic casualties, I'm really not even sure we will have that many. Even if you assume that Kerry Murphy does not qualify, I cannot see us having more than three academic casualties based on the information that we have received lately, and it could be as low as one or two. As I said earlier, this looks to be the best class academically that we've signed in ages.

Stay tuned to RBR, and we'll keep you further up to date with news on the academic front as it comes out.