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Alabama Crimson Tide Football Recruiting Update: BIG Crootin' Weekend

Many high profile recruits will be in Tuscaloosa.

Bama focuses on WR Devonta Smith.
Bama focuses on WR Devonta Smith.

With a mere two weeks left until National Signing Day (NSD) on Feb. 1, the Alabama staff will be hosting a bevy of blue chippers on official visits (OV) to see who will fill out the few precious openings in the Class of 2017. Among them will also be plenty of prospects for future classes on unofficial visits.

As is customary, Saban's staff usually visits recruits the week before their OV. If this does not occur, it is a pretty good indication of their status.

Below are Alabama OVs arriving on Friday, Jan. 20:

  • Devonta Smith (Amite, LA) WR 6-1/160 - 247sports has given Smith a fifth star and declare him the second best wideout in the nation. Bama WR coach Billy Napier was in Amite last weekend to visit with him. Pick: Alabama might have a slight edge over LSU.
  • Henry Ruggs (Montgomery, AL) WR 6-0/175 - Alabama pulled out the big guns with Nick Saban, Steve Sarkisian, and Derrick Ansley calling on Ruggs this week. They attended his basketball game before having an in-house. Pick: Alabama if the numbers work out.
  • Phidarian Mathis (Monroe, LA) DT 6-4/287 - Karl Dunbar, Jeremy Pruitt, and Billy Napier were in Monroe to visit Mathis on Tuesday. It's down to Bama, LSU, and TCU. Pick: LSU.
  • Markail Benton (Phenix City, AL) OLB 6-1.5/237 - Committed to Bama. Benton had planned on visiting UGA last weekend but cancelled due to "surgery on both his knee and shoulder" (YIKES!) on Friday morning. Nick Saban and Derrick Ansley looked in on him. Pick: Alabama... but something just doesn't feel right here.
  • Todd Harris (Plaquemine, LA) S 6-0/180 - No coach visit as of yet. Pick: LSU.
  • LaBryan Ray (Madison, AL) SDE 6-4/260 - Jeremy Pruitt, Tosh Lupoi, and Karl Dunbar visited last Friday. Pick: Alabama.
  • Mac Jones (Jacksonville, FL) PRO 6-2/180 - Committed to Bama. Steve Sarkisian and Brent Key visited Friday. Nick Saban will have an in-home visit on Wednesday. Pick: Alabama.
  • Akial Byers (Fayetteville, AR) DT 6-4 275 - Committed to Bama. Someone from the Bama staff is expected to visit this week, probably Billy Napier and/or Karl Dunbar. Pick: Alabama but there is some speculation that grades could be an issue.
  • James Robinson (Lakeland, FL) WR 6-3/196 - No coach visits. I get the feeling this guy is just a sight-seer. Pick: Florida.


  • Chris Allen, 4-star OLB who is already committed to the Tide, was supposed to OV last weekend but went to LSU instead. Nick Saban, Tosh Lupoi, and Jeremy Pruitt all paid him a visit in Baton Rouge, LA on Tuesday. Pick: Alabama but LSU may still have a shot.
  • Kendall Randolph, Bob Jones HS (Madison, AL) OT 6-4/310 - committed to Alabama. Brent Key and Steve Sarkisian visited Randolph last Thursday and then Nick Saban and Brent Key visited him again on Monday. Pick: Alabama.
  • Kedrick James (Waco, TX) TE 6-4.5/245 - committed to Alabama. Billy Napier visited him on Saturday. James is more of a blocking tight end. I am a little confused why they think they need him. Pick: Alabama.


  • Nico Collins (Pinson, Ala.) will not be among OVs this weekend. The 4-star wide receiver made a surprise unofficial visit to LSU last weekend. It is looking more and more like Collins will not be a part of the Crimson Tide. Pick: UGA
  • Javon Kinlaw (Jones County J.C.) SDE 6-6/305 - The fact that this former longtime South Carolina commit is not OVing Alabama this weekend is probably a good indication that Alabama has another strongside DE locked up. Oh, by the way. LaBryan Ray is a strongside DE! Pick: Sacarlina.


  • The new tradition of the Crimson Tide swooping into Dade County and coming back with solid gold receivers continues with 2018 Xavier Williams of Hollywood, FL making his pledge Tuesday night. The consensus 4-star ATH is willing to play either side of the ball but his future likely ends up on offense.
  • Alabama defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley was in Lagrange, GA visiting 2020 wide receiver Kobe Hudson and made him an offer on the spot. Yeah, this is how Nick Saban rolls...
  • Saban was in Oxford on Monday to see 2019 4-star OG Clay Webb's wrestling match.
  • 2018 ATH/QB Gerry Bohanon of Earle, AR received an offer from the Tide this week. Expect Bert to follow suit any day now.
  • Auburn may be close to losing their one and only 5-star commit OT Calvin Ashley to Maryland.
  • Dabo Swinney must have put all his efforts into the 2016 football season because his Tigers have only 13 commits and none of them are early enrollees. Didja forget something, Dabo?
  • Notre Dame may finish out of the top 10 in recruiting for this cycle.
  • Jim Harbaugh's recruiting efforts just took a second big shot to the chops after his best recruiter Tyrone Wheatley departs Michigan for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The running backs coach and Wolverines legend had been the lead recruiter on Nico Collins. Harbaugh lost his second best recruiter, wide receivers coach Jedd Fisch, earlier this month to UCLA where he will be offensive coordinator.
  • Read into this whatever you want but Alabama and Auburn do not seem to have any recruiting battles this year. Or last year for that matter. LSU is the Tide's biggest recruiting foe.


Name Pos Location Ht Wt 247 Comp 247 Scout ESPN Rivals Average All-Star
Alex Leatherwood OL Pensacola, FL 6'5" 298 5 5 5 5 5 5 UA Enrolled
Najee Harris RB Antioch, CA 6'2" 222 5 5 5 5 5 5 Army Enrolled
Dylan Moses LB Bradenton, FL 6'2" 225 5 5 5 5 5 5 UA Enrolled
Jerry Jeudy WR Deerfield Beach, FL 6'2" 175 5 4 4 4 5 4.4 UA Enrolled
Isaiah Buggs DE Rushton, LA 6'5" 290 4 4 5 4 5 4.4
Elliot Baker OL San Francisco, CA 6'7" 295 4 4 4 4 5 4.2
Jedrick Wills OL Lexington, KY 6'4" 316 4 4 4 4 5 4.2 UA
Vandarius Cowan LB Palm Beach Gardens, FL 6'4" 218 4 4 5 4 4 4.2
Daniel Wright DB Fort Lauderdale, FL 6'1" 167 4 4 4 4 4 4 UA
Tua Tagovailoa QB Honolulu, HI 6'1" 185 4 4 4 4 4 4 Army Enrolled
Tyrell Shavers WR Lewisville, TX 6'6" 200 4 4 4 4 4 4
Chadarius Townsend ATH Tanner, AL 6'0" 180 4 4 4 4 4 4
Markail Benton LB Phenix City, AL 6'2" 227 4 4 4 4 4 4 UA ?
Kendall Randolph OL Madison, AL 6'5" 285 4 4 4 4 4 4 Army
Chris Allen LB Baton Rouge, LA 6'4" 233 4 4 4 4 4 4 UA
Xavier McKinney S Roswell, GA 6'1" 192 4 4 4 4 4 4 UA
Mac Jones QB Jacksonville, FL 6'3" 181 4 4 4 4 4 4

Jhavonte Dean DB Brenham, TX 6'2" 180 4 4 4 4 4 4 juco
Brian Robinson RB Tuscaloosa, AL 6'1" 218 4 3 4 4 4 3.8

Major Tennison TE Bullard, TX 6'6" 240 4 3 4 4 4 3.8
Akial Byers DT Fayetteville, AR 6'4" 260 4 3 4 4 4 3.8 UA
Kedrick James TE Waco, TX 6'5" 245 3 3 4 4 4 3.6

Kyriq McDonald DB Madison, AL 5'11" 185 3 3 3 3 4 3.2
Hunter Brannon OL Cullman, AL 6'4" 290 3 3 3 3 3 3
Thomas Fletcher LS Bradenton, FL 6'1" 215 2 2 2 2 2 2 Army Enrolled