This recruiting year is shaping up to be one of the weirdest ones of recent memory for the Class of 2015 was pretty much already complete and a fantastic group at that. There were SIX 5-star signees, many names that all Tide fans know quite well now: , , , , , .. And the most hand-wringing nerve-racking one. This time a year ago, the
The Class of 2016 only has 16.5* commitments overall (*the 0.5 is Raekwon Davis who we will get to in a moment) with a lot of them in the 3-star neighborhood. I don't mean to turn up my nose at 3-stars and recruiting rankings are not always perfect, but they do have a pretty good track record of being accurate the majority of the time. This year the Tide has nine 3-stars, counting greyshirt Christian Bell, which is twice what they had last year. Thus, some concerns for this class among observers.
I don't mean to get all Gumpy here, but we are talking about legendary coach Nick Saban with 16 first roundin the last six drafts, the reigning National Champs with four NCs in the last seven seasons! I am not quite sure why the top prospects are not flocking to Tuscaloosa. Even the Class of 2017 looks better than this class so far. But that could all change real soon. At worse, this class will still be in the top ten. At best, they are still in serious running for at least eight 5-stars (out of about 25 total) and about a dozen 4-stars.
This spring, Bama loses between 17 and 19 scholarship seniors, plus the two juniors who are going pro, (transferring), and any other players who leave the program through attrition. The Tide should be allowed to go over the SEC-mandated limit of 25 signings. What that number is is unknown at this time. South Carolina was allowed 31 signings a year ago, while both Georgia and Tennessee had 30. I would assume Alabama would be allowed around 26 this year.
With seven new players early enrolled at the Capstone and nine solid commits, the Crimson Tide may possibly be looking to add up to 14 additional players. This could explain the high count of 3-stars at present. The advantage for Saban is that he can hold schollys for undecided prospects up until National Signing Day (NSD). And it looks like several recruits are waiting until February 3rd to make their announcement. Florida already has 26 commits. I am not sure if they have much room left for anyone else.
One last note on this number: don't be surprised if Saban & Co. pluck some juco players out of obscurity and maybe a grad-transfer or two.
Most of the top eligible junior college players have been snapped up but there are a few still deciding. A few players that Alabama could go after:
Jonathan Kongbo (Arizona Western College, Yuma, AZ) SDE 6-5.5/264, 4/5-stars - Top juco player decommitted from Tennessee (I like him already!). Originally from British Columbia, Canada, played a year at Wyoming, transferred to juco. Visiting Tuscaloosa this coming weekend. He released a top eight but it's likely down to Tennessee and Alabama.
Jamar King (Mendocino CC, Ukiah, CA) DE 6'5"/285, 3-stars - Saban seems real high on this guy. He is visiting T-town this weekend. The Detroit native took an official visit to Ohio State last weekend but does not have an offer from the Buckeyes as of yet.
Malcolm Pridgeon (Nassau Community College, NY) OT, 4-stars - Decommitted from Rutgers this past summer; Offered by Bama but is it still on the table?
(Long Beach CC, CA) DE, 3-stars - Had an offer from UA at one time but likely stays out west.
Chris Baccus (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M JC, Miami, OK) ILB, 3/4-stars - No offer but interested in the Tide.
Tyrell Chavis (Nassau CC, NY) DT, 3/4-stars - Former Virginia non-qualifier; No offer from Bama yet but some interest.
THE 5-STARS PROSPECTS
Ben Davis (Gordo HS, Gordo, AL) ILB 6'4"/235 - UPDATE: UA official visit (OV) moved up to Jan. 22.
Demetris Robertson (Savannah Christian Prep, GA) ATH 6'1"/180 - Bama decommit, will OV Jan. 22.
Derrick Brown (Lanier HS, Buford, GA) DT 6'4"/322 - Top 10 overall player, OV back in December. Top five are Alabama, Aub, UGA, Miss State, Tenn. May be a longshot for Bama.
Jack Jones (Polytechnic HS, Long Beach, CA) ATH 5'11"/175 - OV this past weekend; not sure if he'll leave Cali.
Mecole Hardman (Elbert County HS, Elberton, GA) ATH 5'11"/176 - Recently named Bama his leader; Was at snowy Ohio St this past weekend; UA OV Jan 22.
Mique Juarez (North HS, Torrance, CA) OLB 6'2"/226 - Down to Bama, OM, UCLA. Visiting T-town Jan. 22.
Nigel Warrior (Peachtree Ridge HS, Suwanee, GA) S 5'11.5"/184 - Bama, LSU, Tenn, UGA. OV on Jan. 22.
Lyndell Wilson (Carver, Montgomery, AL) OLB 6'2"/220 - Bama, UGA, maybe Fla. UA OV Jan. 22.
A FEW BORDERLINE 4/5 STARS
Tyler Vaughns (Bishop Amat HS, La Puente, CA) WR 6'2"/172 - A soft verbal to Southern Cal, he will visit T-town on Jan. 21.
Terrell Hall (St. John's College HS, Washington, DC) DE 6'5"/250 - Down to Maryland and Bama. UA OV Jan. 22. Stay close to home or experience grand glories?
Jeffery Simmons (Noxubee County HS, Macon, MS) DE 6'4"/270 - OV Jan. 22, but he is a Mississippian (see below).
What was I just saying about Bama having trouble hanging onto recruits from Mississippi?
There was some serious drama this past weekend surrounding Davis. The 4-star DT committed to Alabama last summer and had taken several unofficial visits to campus in the past year. He took his first trip to Starkville, an official visit, this past weekend. During his time on the Mississippi State campus, he may or may have not given a commitment to the Bulldogs. Several different sources from media outlets have said that Davis has confirmed his pledge to the Tide... and to the Bullies. A bunch of overzealous fans have been jumping to conclusions based on things he retweeted and who-said-what-to-who. I think the whole thing has become a bit overwhelming for the 18-year old.
Davis is still scheduled to visit T-town on Jan. 29. Things should become much clearer if he sticks with that plan.
Do you want to help the Crimson Tide out with recruiting? Tweeting won't do it. Come out to the parade and championship ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 23 at 10am between Denny Chimes and the Walk of Champions and show your support! Many top recruits for 2016 and 2017 will be in attendance and paying close attention.
Giveaways will include 10,000 championship posters and 5,000 national championship promotional items.
UPDATE: Florida committed cornerback Aaron Robinson (Deerfield Beach, FL) is suddenly blowing up. In that past several weeks, he has received offers from Alabama, Miami, and Southern Cal. Mario Cristobal has an in-home visit Monday evening.
UPDATE: There is talk that Louisville 4-star QB commitment Jawon Pass (Carver, Columbus, GA) will make a visit to Alabama before signing day. Is he just sightseeing?
UPDATE: Bama assistant Tosh Lupoi paid a visit to 4-star DE Connor Murphy in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday. Can he coax a visit out of him?
UPDATE: Saban also visited juco Jamar King in California on Monday.
UPDATE: Bama DC Jeremy Pruitt powwowed with 5-star Ben Davis on Monday.
TUESDAY UPDATE: The mom of 5-star DT Derrick Brown said it was a "privilege" to meet with Saban. Man, that guy can CROOT!
TUESDAY UPDATE: Check out this AWESOME tweet that Minkah Fitzpatrick sent to 4-star DE Terrell Hall.
TUESDAY UPDATE: It appears that Raekwon Davis has indeed flipped to Missy State but he has yet to cancel his other OVs. If he shows up in Tallahassee this weekend, then there is a pretty good chance he travels to Tuscaloosa Jan. 29 as planned.
TUESDAY UPDATE: 5-stars LB Mique Juarez was visited in Torrance, CA by Tosh Lupoi on Monday evening.
TUESDAY UPDATE: Nick Saban is in Madison, MS (Germantown HS) Tuesday visiting 4-star CB Nigel Knot who is believed to be down to Bama and Oregon.
TUESDAY UPDATE: Saban is now in Georgia! He stopped by Houston County HS to see 2017 4-star QB commitment Jake Fromm. That man gets around!
TUESDAY UPDATE: Lane Kiffin spent some time out west on Tuesday meeting with 2017 commit 5-stars RB Najee Harris of Antioch, CA.
TUESDAY UPDATE: Bobby Williams sat a spell with 4-star WR Ahmmon Richards who will OV Alabama this weekend.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Mario Cristobal visited 4-star OT Scott Lashley who will also OV this weekend. Too bad he is from Mississippi. He may be a to MSU lean with Alabama and LSU in the running.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Tide coaches are scheduled to see the nation's number one player DT Rashan Gary on Wednesday but it's going to be tough without getting him to OV. He made an unofficial visit this past June. The New Jersey native is a Michigan lean.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Nick Saban visited with 4-star CB Nigel Knott of Madison, MS on Tuesday. This is one Mississippian that Bama has a good shot at.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: ON Wednesday, Saban is in Manvel, TX with 4-star RB D'Vaughn Pennamon. He is an Ole Miss commit but has an Alabama OV this weekend.