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2017 Alabama Football Recruiting News & Update: National Signing Day Eve Primer

Another ridiculous haul for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide is just hours away.

Give 'em what they want! Roll Tide!
Give 'em what they want! Roll Tide!
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

National Signing Day (NSD) arrives on Wednesday, February 1. A verbal commitment becomes an official commitment when the Letter of Intent (LOI) is signed and faxed to the school of the player's choice. A recruit does not HAVE to sign on Wednesday but classes fill up and there are not many teams that want to hold a scholarship for a guy who may not join their team.

To say this has been an unusual recruiting season for Alabama would be an understatement. It is further proof that Nick Saban is always three, four, five steps ahead of everyone else. In an unmatched move, the Crimson Tide coach has managed to wrangle twelve January enrollees who by themselves would probably be a top 5 class.


Ten freshmen and two juniors are already enrolled and can participate in spring practice:

Name Pos Hometown Ht Wt RBR Comp*
Alex Leatherwood OL Pensacola, FL 6'5" 298 5
Najee Harris RB Antioch, CA 6'2" 222 5
Dylan Moses LB Baton Rouge, LA (IMG) 6'2" 225 5
Jerry Jeudy WR Deerfield Beach, FL 6'2" 175 4.4
Isaiah Buggs DE Rushton, LA (Juco)
6'5" 290 4.4
Tua Tagovailoa QB Honolulu, HI 6'1" 185 4.4
Elliot Baker OL San Francisco, CA (Juco)
6'7" 295 4.2
Tyrell Shavers WR Lewisville, TX 6'6" 200 4
Chadarius Townsend ATH Tanner, AL 6'0" 180 4
Major Tennison TE Bullard, TX 6'6" 240 3.8
Kyriq McDonald DB Madison, AL 5'11" 185 3.2
Thomas Fletcher LS Vancouver, WA (IMG) 6'1" 215 2

* RBR Comp Stars are based on average of Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247, and 247 comp.

Bama fans will get their first glimpse of these players at the A-Day Spring Football Game held on Saturday, April 22 at 2pm CT. Check out Player Profiles on each of these student-athletes on our Recruiting Central Stream.


The following are verbally committed and expected to sign with the Crimson Tide:

Name Pos Location Ht Wt RBR Comp Comments
Jedrick Wills OL Lexington, KY 6'4" 316 4.2 Top player out of Kentucky. Top 70 in nation.
Vandarius Cowan LB Palm Beach Gardens, FL 6'4" 218 4.2 A punisher. Can play ILB or hybrid on the outside.
Kendall Randolph OL Madison, AL 6'5" 285 4 Levi Randolph's younger brother; went to Reggie Ragland's HS, projected offensive guard.
Daniel Wright DB Fort Lauderdale, FL 6'1" 167 4 Good ball skills and closing speed, aggressive and sure tackler but needs to put on some lbs.
Xavier McKinney S Roswell, GA 6'1" 192 4 9 INT (2 pick-6) as a JR. 7 INT, 2 kicks returned for TDs as a SR. The lone Georgia product in this class.
Markail Benton LB Phenix City, AL 6'2" 227 4 Great size for an ILB. Excels in blitzing and in coverage.
Chris Allen LB Baton Rouge, LA 6'4" 233 4 Savage. Could play Jack LB.
Brian Robinson RB Tuscaloosa, AL 6'1" 218 3.8 Power back with a good burst and field vision.
Mac Jones QB Jacksonville, FL 6'3" 181 3.6 Smart, sure-handed. 247 and Scout dropped him to 3 stars, but Bama needs QB depth.
Kedrick James TE Waco, TX 6'5" 245 3.6 Excellent run-blocker. I guess Bama needs tight end depth.
Joseph Bulovas
PK Mandeville, LA 6'0" 205 3 Chris Sailer Kicking ranks him as the #2 placekicker in the nation.
Hunter Brannon OL Cullman, AL 6'4" 290 3 Projected center. Diamond in the rough?


Q: What's up with Hunter Brannon?
A: The 3-star wowed coaches at a Bama summer camp and got an offer. But the Tide is the only P5 school to offer him. He is a nephew of the Britt brothers who played for Alabama and really wants to carry on the tradition. He may be asked to greyshirt.

Q: What's up with Akial Byers?
A: He failed to qualify and will not be a part of this class.

Q: Is Bama in danger of losing any other commits?
A: It does not look like it but OT Jedrick Wills took an official visit to his hometown Kentucky Wildcats this past weekend. It is probably nothing since Wills could practically walk to the UK campus.

Q: How many will Saban sign?
A: It is widely believed that the number is around 27 or 28 thanks to loophole manipulations, but you never know.

Q: So why is Saban still recruiting a dozen or so guys?
A: First off, it is good to be prepared for chaos. Secondly, it builds good relationships with the high school coaches for the future.

Q: Who is still on the Bama big board?
A: See below.


The few remaining precious spots will be filled by three positions of focus:

DEFENSIVE LINE: Taking one or two, possibly three. There may be a domino effect here.

  1. Aubrey Solomon DT, Leesburg, GA 4.8-stars: Bama still in the running but who knows what he is going to do?
  2. LaBryan Ray DE, Madison, AL4.4 -stars: The Tide seems like the favorite but he hasn't pulled the trigger for some reason.
  3. Jarez Parks DE, Sebastian, FL 4-stars: Probably staying in-state if one or two of the above sign with the Tide.
  4. Phidarian Mathis DT, Monroe, LA 4-stars: Announcing Tuesday at 4:30pm CT, between LSU, TCU, Bama. Neither Brent nor I think he Rolls with the Tide.

WIDE RECEIVER: Taking one or two.

  1. Devonta Smith Amite, LA, 4.4-stars: This is the Tide's top priority at WR.
  2. Henry Ruggs Montgomery, AL, 4.2-stars: Bama appears to be the favorite but will Saban take both of these WRs?
  3. Nico Collins Pinson, AL, 4-stars: Not likely.

SECONDARY: Taking one or none.

  1. Todd Harris S, Plaquemine, LA 4-stars: Momentum is swinging back toward the Crimson Tide.
  2. Christopher "CJ" Henderson CB, Miami, FL 4-stars: Trending back towards his home state.
  3. Tariq Castro-Fields CB, Upper Marlboro, MD 3.8-stars: He was set to announce and then postponed. Did Bama ask him to wait?

Black and White TV


  • ESPNU will start coverage at the crack of dawn in Greenland and go until 11am CT / noon ET. ESPN2 takes over at 11am/noon til 4pm/5pm and then it is back to ESPNU.
  • SEC Network begins coverage at 9am CT / 10am CT and runs until bag of d*cks Finebaum (no, it's not "ducks") takes over at 2pm/3pm.
  • CBS Sports Network will also begin at 9am/10am but have their own bag of d*cks, Jim Rome, taking over 11am/noon. They have partnered up with 247Sports and MaxPreps but figured two hours of coverage was enough. That's inside of the box thinking there, CBS.


This is an unofficial list and times are subject to change.

8:45am CT
Aubrey Solomon - ESPNU - Bama, Mich, UGA.

9am CT

Todd Harris - ESPNU - Bama, LSU, TCU.
Jarez Parks - Bama, FSU, Fla.
Mac Jones - Committed to Alabama.
Kedrick James - Committed to Alabama.

9:30am CT
Brian Robinson - Committed to Alabama.

10am CT
Markail Benton - Committed to Alabama.

11am CT
Henry Ruggs - Bama, FSU.
Christopher "CJ" Henderson - Alabama, Florida, Miami.

11:40am CT
LaBryan Ray - Bama, Fla, Tenn.

1:15pm CT
Kendall Randolph - Committed to Alabama.

1:30pm CT
Nico Collins - Michigan, Georgia, Alabama

2pm CT

Devonta Smith - Bama, LSU, FSU, Miami.

2:45pm CT
Jedrick Wills - Committed to Alabama.

4pm CT
VanDarius Cowan - Committed to Alabama.


Alabama got a preferred walk-on commit from Waynesville, NC fullback Michael Parrott one year ago. It looks like he will stick with that pledge and may already be enrolled. The Tide never really had a pure fullback last season.


Don’t Tweet Recruits


Looking through the archives vault in the basement at RBR headquarters, I came across one Nick Saban misfire. In November 2012 the Crimson Tide extended a grayshirt offer to Zach Cunningham of Pinson, AL. Auburn made a late push for him in December but he wisely spurned the Tigers for Vanderbilt and became an All-American. In Saban's defense, Cunningham was around 196 lbs at the time, not the 230 he has grown into now.

tiny football

Tomorrow is going to be a BIG day for the Crimson Tide. Don't expect to get anything done at work/school. Stay tuned for all your recruiting news from Roll Bama Roll. Always FREE!