Alabama has a big showdown with Texas A&M this weekend. Although fans will see most of the action on the field, there will be plenty of goings-on off the field as well. With many high school regular seasons winding down, recruiting season is gearing up.
The Tide already had one big recruiting weekend for the Kentucky game in which they got an official visit and commitment from the nation's top ten seniors, Dylan Moses. He is a five star linebacker playing at IMG
Factory Academy (originally from Baton Rouge, LA). But more on him in our crootin' report next week.
Below are official visitors for the Class of 2017 for this weekend:
Friday, October 21, 2016
Baron Browning (Kennedale, TX) OLB 6-3/230 - Browning is big, fast and athletic. He might remind you of C.J. Mosley but a little bigger. He is a thumper who excels evenly at pass coverage and stopping the run. This versatile five-star elite player is making the rounds to all the big names: Alabama, FSU, Mich, anOSU, plus a sight-seeing* visit to UCLA. Texas and TCU might be in the mix as well.
Recruiters: Tosh Lupoi and Lane Kiffin.
Odds of rolling with the Tide: Why wouldn't this guy want to join a defense like Alabama's? He has all the tools and would find a place on the field. It's a good question, but his decision is a long way off. My gut says he ends up elsewhere. Ask me again in January.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
VanDarius Cowan (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) OLB 6-4/226 - This 4/5-star linebacker is a devastating tackler who can play any of the linebacker positions. He is strong, fast (4.65) and has a good frame.
Recruiters: Mario Cristobal and Jeremy Pruitt.
Odds of rolling with the Tide: Excellent. The former FSU commit is already solidly committed to Bama and is an early enrollee for January. Cowan developed a tight relationship with fellow Alabama linebacker commit Markail Benton when the two were at The Opening this past summer.
Jhavonte Dean Blinn College (TX) CB 6-2/180 - Originally from Florida City in the deepest part of Florida before you hit the Keys, Dean signed with Cincinnati out of high school but had to go the juco route to get his grades up. He had a few FBS offers this year until one day in June at an Alabama camp when he posted a blistering 4.3 in the 40-yard dash. Suddenly, the offers came pouring. After what Dean described as a "private workout" with Nick Saban and secondary coach Derrick Ansley, he earned an offer.
Recruiters: Billy Napier and Jeremy Pruitt.
Odds of rolling with the Tide: Excellent. Already solidly committed and his parents are sold on UA as well.
Cam Akers (Clinton, MS) RB 5-11/213 - If not for Bama commit Najee Harris, this would be the nation's #1 running back. He has a similar build, style, and skill set to Damien Harris. He also plays QB for his high school team.
Recruiters: Lane Kiffin and Burton Burns.
Odds of rolling with the Tide: Very questionable. Akers decided to de-commit from Alabama back in March. He could rejoin the fold but there is a crowded backfield in Tuscaloosa that won't be thinning out anytime soon. He is also looking at Ohio State, FSU, Ole Miss, Georgia, Tennessee and LSU many among others.
Jaylen Kelly-Powell (Cass Technical, Detroit, MI) S 6-0/175 - JKP is a four star safety from a powerhouse high school program. He is a good, smart, productive football player but lacks in ball skills.
Recruiters: Derrick Ansley.
Odds of rolling with the Tide: Not Likely. I have a hard time believing he does not end up at Michigan. Possible sight-seer.
UPDATE: He will not be visiting this weekend.
Major Tennison (Bullard, TX) TE 6-6/245 - Tennison is 3/4-star tight end out of the heart of Texas. He has good size and hands which creates favorable mismatches against smaller players - which is almost everyone! He has excellent slot ability and is strong in the red zone.
Recruiters: Billy Napier and Mario Cristobal.
Odds of rolling with the Tide: Pretty good. He is the staff's top tight end target and would fit into the Bama system really well.
Some potential unofficial visitors:
- Bama 5-star commit OT Alex Leatherwood
- Uncommitted 5-star SDE Xavier Thomas from Florence, SC (gotta get him away from Clempson, y'all!)
- Uncommitted 5-star Jackson Carman of Fairfield, OH (leaning towards anOSU)
- UPDATE: 5-star Bama commit Dylan Moses and his IMG teammate 5-star 2019 Bama commit Trey Sanders.
- The nation's top offensive lineman prospect, Foster Sarell of Graham, WA, was supposed to visit this weekend but has rescheduled for Nov. 26, the weekend of the Iron Bowl. The Washington Huskies are probably the favorite for his signature. (Hopefully, some NFL team hires away Chris Petersen before this kid signs with them!)
- There will be plenty of 2018 and 2019 recruits in attendance as well. If you see a really large kid with a lanyard around his neck, give him a good strong "Roll Tide"!
- Also in T-Town this weekend will be ESPN's College GameDay crew. It should be a wild weekend.
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* "Sight-seeing" is a term I use for a guy who has little chance of committing to a certain school but visits just so he can sight-see and get a free vacation.