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2009 Recruiting Class Update

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It's been a while since we had an update on the 2009 recruiting class here at RBR, so I figured it was time to get one in before the season starts. Believe it or not, Fall camp starts here in a few days, so we need to go ahead and tie up any loose ends. With that in mind, let's take a look at the ten players currently committed to Alabama, and close by taking a look at how the rest of the class looks to shake out.

First the current ten commitments, going in order of their commitment date:

D.J. Fluker: Now up to approximately 6'7 and 340 pounds, Fluker is a player of almost mythical size ,and he has the athleticism to boot. Early projections had him playing nose guard, but with his athleticism mixed with his incredible wingspan, Fluker is now being groomed to play left tackle. The New Orleans native has transferred to play his senior year of football at Foley High School, and will play left tackle this Fall. With his physical skill-set, there is simply no limit as to how high he can go. Simply put, he has the physical tools of a young Johnathon Ogden. Fluker is firm in his commitment, and is a good student in the classroom who should have no trouble qualifying.

Kellen Williams: After compiling a solid offer list from the likes of Arkansas, Florida State, Rutgers, Maryland, and Boston College, Williams committed to Alabama two days after picking up an offer from Nick Saban. Though Williams has a great frame at 6'5 and approximately 285 pounds, he flew a bit under the radar early on because he is in a run-heavy offensive scheme, and no one knew whether or not he had the athleticism to succeed in pass blocking sets. Williams put those concerns to rest at the Under Armour Combine in Atlanta, as he posted the most impressive numbers of any lineman of the group. Ever since, he has been shooting up the boards of almost every recruiting service to be found. He is firm in his commitment, and will have no problem qualifying.

Darius McKellar: The 6'6 and 285 pound McKellar is a prospect of NFL lineage -- his father played for the Buffalo Bills, and the "K Gun" offense they rode to four Super Bowl appearances was named after him -- and simply put he is a big man with some mobility. We are recruiting him as a tackle prospect, but he's been a bit quite the past few months as he has been forced to sit out the combine / camp circuit with a minor injury. He's a good student, and will qualify academically.

A.J. McCarron: The state's highest-rated quarterback prospect since JaMarcus Russell, McCarron picked the Tide over offers from virtually every team in the country. He's a classic pocket passer with a huge arm, and the frame to put on a good bit more mass as well. McCarron is simply the rare mix of a big arm, pinpoint accuracy, and good decision-making skills. He was recently named to the Elite 11, and is currently turning heads in Elite 11 workouts. McCarron is a firm commitment, and with a 3.0 core GPA and a 19 on the ACT, he will have no problems qualifying.

Chance Warmack: In what could be one of the most exciting prospects in this class, Warmack committed to Alabama after picking up offers from Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Rutgers, and South Carolina. The 6'4 and 325 pound Warmack will be a guard at Alabama -- and can you get a better guard name than that? -- and his stock has risen dramatically lately. He recently attended the Nike combine in Tuscaloosa, and absolute put on a show. Bottom line, he's big, he's quick, and he's just plain mean, which is always important for a guard prospect. Warmack is a firm commitment, and will graduate high school early -- in fact, he's such a good student that he needs to take only one class this Fall to graduate early. He will enroll at Alabama early in January of 2009, and will participate in Spring drills.

Trent Richardson: Arguably the best tailback recruit in the nation, Richardson is simply almost too good to be true. He has incredible speed and short-yardage burst, but at over 210 pounds he is an extremely physical runner as well. Every school in the country is fawning over Richardson, and we will have to fight hard to hang onto him, but it certainly seems like Alabama will be able to get the job done. He will look around a bit, but he's a firm commitment -- I think we can rest easy on that one, otherwise Saban would be going after other tailback recruits -- and he should sign with Alabama. His recent comments after the camp in Tuscaloosa further indicates how firm he is as a commitment. In all honesty, it's almost hard to state just how good this kid is. He recently dominated at both the Florida and Alabama camps, and it's just a given that he will get a fifth star with Rivals. He is also a good student in the classroom, and may enroll early.

Quinton Dial: The Clay-Chalkville product is a 6-5 and 310 pound defensive tackle prospect, and is one of the state's top players. Dial picked Alabama over offers from Auburn and Florida, and is firm in his commitment. And with the great combine / camp performances he has turned in lately, his stock is set to rise even further. He's a good student in the classroom, and shouldn't have any qualifying issues.

Mike Marrow: The linebacker / tailback prospect out of Ohio picked the Tide after being pursued hard by Penn State and Nebraska. The recruiting services have him pegged as a fullback, but that's not quite right. We don't have a traditional fullback in our system, and Marrow was recruited to be a short-yardage tailback for the Tide. He is a versatile athlete, though, and it would not be the least bit shocking to see him end up at inside linebacker. As is the case with so many Nick Saban recruits, Marrow could legitimately play on either side of the ball. Marrow carries a 3.0 GPA in the classroom, and will qualify with no trouble.

Gerald West: The speedy Mobile corner drew interest from just about every SEC program, but ultimately committed to the Tide. He's a very fast kid, and coming from the Mobile area he has a background against playing some very good competition. He's a bit on the light side now, and could use some time in the S&C program to bulk up, but it shouldn't be an issue. He's a good looking prospect, and he will only help us further solidify our hold on the Mobile area. Academics were a concern, but he has since taken care of things in the classroom, and should qualify. His father is former Mississippi State and Miami Dolphins tailback J.J. Johnson.

William Ming: The state's top defensive line prospect, Ming could have virtually played for any program in the country, but ultimately chose the Tide. Ming is a good athlete, but more importantly he is known for being technically sound and having an incredibly high motor. As a result of the latter, he often draws comparisons to former Alabama defensive lineman Jarret Johnson. Moreover, at roughly 6'4, Ming has the size to become the perfect 3-4 defensive end. Finally, he's an incredible student in the classroom, and qualifying is not an issue.

So, that sums up the current crop of commitments. We have ten commitments to date, and it's a very good looking class thus far. Several of the ten are considered elite prospects, and every single commitment was heavily pursued by other major college football programs. Again, it's an impressive group.

And the great news is that the best is yet to come.

Fortunately for the Tide, the biggest prospects are still on the board, and we're likely to get just about every single one of them. Dre Kirkpatrick is probably the best high school corner prospect to come out since Antonio Cromartie, and his teammate Kendall Kelly is a five-star wide receiver with a massive physical build (much in the mold of Julio Jones). Both are expected to sign with the Tide. Nico Johnson is a five star linebacker, and Tana Patrick is on the brink of being a five star linebacker. As with Kirkpatrick and Kelly, both are expected to sign with the Tide. Aside from that, the next biggest prospect we are going after is probably Montez Robinson. He's an Indiana kid, but grew up near Tuscaloosa, and we seem to have a great chance with him as well. Brandon Moore is a versatile line prospect that has really came on very strong as of late -- he's a four star now -- and we're likely to land the Montgomery product.

The truth of the matter is that we should land at least five of those kids, and I don't think anyone would be the least bit surprised if we landed Robinson either. That would put us at either 15 or 16 commitments in this class, and we're probably looking at signing only about 20 kids or so in this class (maybe one or two more).

To fill out the rest of the class, we've got several other quality prospects lined up. Though some seem to think we've cooled on Anthony Orr a bit, he is still out there and ours if we want him. Jamar Travis is probably a bit of an Auburn lean, but he's still a definite possibility. Anthony Steen out of Mississippi is ours if we want him. We have good chances with both Darren Myles out of Atlanta and Chad Bumphis out of Tupelo. Rod Woodson is probably ours if he gets his academics in order. We've got a great chance with Sam Simpson if we give him a firm offer. All told, the bottom line is that we're in great shape with plenty of other quality prospects to fill out the class.

At the end of the day, it's going to be another great class for the Tide. We're going to make a run on all of the state's elite talent, and we'll get almost everyone we want. Moreover, we're continuing to go out of state and have a large amount of success. When you put it all together, it's just the formula for a great recruiting class. It won't be as highly-touted as the class of a year ago simply because it will be smaller, but on a pound-for-pound basis it will be just as good, if not better. Bottom line, it's going to be yet another great year on the recruiting trails for the Tide.