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'Bama Lands Pair of 2012 Commitments

If you ever needed any more evidence that the modern recruiting process never really ends, consider this: 'Bama landed a pair of 2012 commitments tonight, which puts the 2012 recruiting class up to eight commitments with National Signing Day almost a year away. The eight commitments by mid-February are easily the most that Nick Saban has amassed at this juncture of any recruiting class since arriving in Tuscaloosa. By comparison, a year ago today Alabama had only three commitments, and that included JUCO defensive lineman Quinton Dial, an academic casualty from the 2009 class.

The first commitment of the night came from Kenyan Drake, a 6'0, 180 pound athlete out of Powder Springs, Georgia -- essentially the greater Atlanta metro area -- who committed to 'Bama over a pretty impressive early offer list that included Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Tennessee. Drake's commitment looks to be another impressive pick-up in the state of Georgia for Nick Saban and company, and by most accounts he is expected to be one of the better in-state prospects in 2012.

Exactly where Drake ends up at UA right now is anyone's guess. He plays tailback in a shotgun spread attack at Hillgrove, but he is used heavily as a receiver out the backfield and he looks to be more of a raw space player than a true tailback at this point, and given his build he could potentially end up at tailback, wide receiver, cornerback, or safety. For what it's worth, though, Drake doesn't seem overly set on playing any one specific position. Per Izzy Gould:

Drake said he could be utilized as a running back at Alabama, but that he could fit into other positions depending on how he develops. 

"They said the really good players can play numerous positions," Drake said. "Hopefully, they see me as a good player, but I want to become a great player."
The second commitment of the day came just about an hour later, with the news that Tyler Hayes out of Thomasville had committed to Alabama. Hayes picked up early in-state offers from both Alabama and Auburn, and looks to be one of the better players in what is expected to be a very deep in-state class. He was MVP of the 4A state championship game, and starred at both tailback and middle linebacker for Thomasville.

For the record, Hayes says that he is being recruited as an athlete, but even he admits that he is likely going to end up at linebacker, and given his 6'3, 220 pound frame, it's pretty easy to see him fitting in somewhere in the UA linebacker corps. Hayes originally picked up an offer from 'Bama last month when he visited Tuscaloosa for Junior Day, and decided to go with the early decision:
"I just wanted to get it over with," Hayes said. "I wanted to do what I could to control it so I just went ahead and did it."