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2015 Alabama Football Recruiting News & Updates

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Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

With the end of the college football season, eyes turn to the future. Barring a disaster of epic proportions, the Crimson Tide 2015 recruiting class has basically sewn up the mythical top rated class with what they have already.

During the Under Armour All-America Game this past Friday, Alabama picked up verbal pledges from two outstanding athletes that pushed this class even higher:

  • Kendall Sheffield (5-11/181) is a 5-star cornerback from Missouri City, TX, a suburb of Houston. He is the reigning Texas State Champ at both the 110m hurdles and the 300m hurdles and plans to run track at Bama.
  • Daron Payne (6-2/330) is a 4/5-star defensive tackle from Shades Valley High in Birmingham. (#, #HouseOfPayne, #MajorPayne, All Aboard the Payne Train)

POTENTIALS

Currently, Alabama has verbal commitments from 24 young men. It is difficult to know for sure how many the Tide can sign this year but some followers believe, they could add as many as four more recruits.

  • Damien Harris is from Berea, KY, some 40 miles south of Lexington. The 5-11/210 lbs running back reminds some of Mark Ingram as a tough, strong, run-you-over kind of back. This signing will become more important should T.J. Yeldon leave early for the NFL Draft. Harris is deciding on January 9 between Bama and UK with Ohio State in the wings.
  • WR Daylon Charlot (6-0 187) was a human highlight film returning kicks at the Under Armour Game. There is a spot on this team if the 4-star Patterson, LA-native wants it. However, he has gotten some pressure to stay in state. Read more about his dilemma here. He will visit Tuscaloosa on January 16.
  • DT Jonathan Taylor (6-5/335) signed with Georgia as a 4-star in 2012. However, he was arrested in this past summer on an aggravated assault/family violence charge (aka: smacking his girlfriend) and was dismissed from the team. This was strike two for Taylor after he was one of four Georgia football players arrested for double-cashing meal reimbursement checks four months earlier. The Millen, GA-native spent this past season at juco and is an outstanding talent who has made some poor choices. He may have to convince the UA admission committee before he can join the team. If he signs with Bama, we have to trust that Nick Saban know what he is doing. [UPDATE: According to multiple sources, Taylor has signed and is enrolling in classes at Alabama today]
  • The Tide has a load of young talent across the offensive line but it tends to skew towards centers and guards. It is thought that the staff would like to add one more pure tackle. A few possibilities:
    • Chidi Valentine-Okeke (6-5/306), a 4-star from southeast Georgia, has great potential but would likely take a few seasons to become a starter. He is also looking at Auburn.
    • Drew Richmond (6-5/325) committed to Ole Miss in September but the dream team of Billy Napier and Mario Cristobal have not quit on the Memphis tackle. Of the available prospects, this 4/5-star looks the most game-ready.
    • 4-star Isaiah Prince (6-6/270) of Washington DC suburb Greenbelt, MD is also a possibility. He make an official visit to T-Town sometime this month. Ohio State and Maryland are also in the running.

OTHERS TO WATCH:

  • Arkansas commit K.J. Hill, WR from Altee Tenpenny's high school, North Little Rock, AR.
  • Miami, FL WR Jovon Durante does not look like is going to waver from his commitment to WVU but it isn't over yet. Another Cristobal/Napier target.
  • Alabama could try an add one more tight end. Undecided Tyrone Wheatley Jr. and Auburn commit Jalen Harris are both long shots but possible. Incoming Bama DE commit Anfernee Jennings might get a look at tight end as well.

THE RECRUITING GAME

Verbal commitments from prospects are nonbinding. A recruit's final choice is not locked in until he signs a Letter of Intent (LOI) on National Signing Day (NSD), Wednesday, February 4th and it is delivered to the desired school. Conversely, an offer can be revoked before NSD from a coach, though it is highly frowned upon without a good reason.

EARLY BIRD GETS THE SCHOLARSHIP

There was a time not too long ago when a large number of recruits would wait until NSD to make their announcement. You can imagine how nerve racking that is on a coaching staff as well as marginal prospects with contingent offers. Outside of a few top players, that practice has largely gone away. This being because classes fill up quickly due to offer limits and if a guy waits too long, there may not be room for him. This happened to Darius Philon three years ago. Alabama wanted the Mobile DT and he announced at a NSD press conference at Vigor High School that he was going to Alabama. Unfortunately for both parties, there was no room left and he ended up at Arkansas.

FLIPPING

If you are new to the recruiting game, know that some of these players have been known to "flip" from one school to another as late as NSD.

Alabama commit Minkah Fitzpatrick is one who Bama fans should be nervous about. The 5-star CB has thought to be a soft commit for some time now. The addition of Sheffield probably does not help things. Don't be surprised if he lands elsewhere.

There has also been some talk surrounding defensive tackle T.D. Moton.

EARLY ENROLLEES

Despite NSD being a month away, you can lock the following players in as members of the Crimson Tide as long as they show up for classes at the Capstone on Wednesday, January 7th.

Blake Barnett Santiago (Corona, CA) QB 6-4.5/200
Deionte Thompson West Orange-Stark (Orange, TX) S 6-2/181
Desherrius Flowers Vigor (Mobile, AL) RB 6-0.5/204
Ronnie Harrison Florida State Univ. School (Tallahassee, FL) S 6-3/205
Dallas Warmack Mays (Atlanta, GA) OG 6-2/306
Brandon Kennedy Wetumpka (Wetumpka, AL) OG 6-2.5/295

Calvin Ridley Monarch (Pompano Beach, FL) WR 6-0/170 - is waiting on a final approval from the clearinghouse.

Additionally, Bo Scarbrough has already joined the team and should be in classes. He signed with last year's class but had some academic issues that could not be cleared up in time to join the team this past fall. He will count towards the 2014 class.