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UPDATE: Alabama Recruiting News: Will the Crimson Tide Sign a Quarterback in 2018?

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#AlabamaProblems Could Become an Alabama Problem

NCAA Football: Alabama Spring Game-A-Day
Who wants to challenge Jalen, Tua, and Mac?
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

If you had the great honor of trotting across the Alabama campus to Gallalee Hall for PH 101, you probably learned about Sir Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. While comparing this law to recruiting might be a bit of hyperbole, there is some unexpected blowback from Nick Saban signing seven consecutive No. 1 recruiting classes. A potential problem is convincing some recruits to come to the Capstone despite all the future NFLers with two or three years eligibility left in front of them.

Recruiting quarterback is a whole different animal from other positions. Under normal circumstances, teams have tended to sign one QB per year. In days of yore, teams would have upperclassmen starters and would groom the younger players. However these days freshmen starters are not so rare. Some prospects are not afraid of coming in behind a returning starter but it might be hard to convince a recruit to come in behind two or three underclassmen.

This might be a concern for Alabama this recruiting season. The Tide went from a deep pool of signal callers down to just a rising true sophomore as the only one with collegiate experience. Coach Nick Saban seems to have solved the depth issue for 2017 but there is still concern for the future.

PAST

Reserve Blake Barnett transferred during a second quarter commercial break of the Ole Miss game. David Cornwell has grad-transferred to Nevada, while Cooper Bateman has enrolled at Utah and is walking on.

Saban must have had some sort of premonition of this mass exodus, since he recruited and received summer commitments from both Tua Tagovailoa (May 2, 2016) and Mac Jones (June 7, 2016).

PRESENT

Returning starter Jalen Hurts is a fantastic athlete and was SEC Offensive Player of the Year in 2016. However truth be told, he probably does not have the kind of game that prompts leaving early for the NFL. That should keep him in Tuscaloosa through the 2019 season.

Freshman Tua Tagovailoa has potential to be a break-out star. Crimson Tide fans should expect to see him play in 2017. If he sticks it out and does not depart early for the NFL, he will take snaps at Bryant-Denny until 2020.

Barring some kind of disaster (knock on wood), Mac Jones will likely redshirt this season leaving him to play 2018 through 2021.

Assuming that none of these three quarterbacks leave the program early (big assumption, I know), their active years at Alabama should be as follows:

QB Year 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Jalen Hurts So. x x x
Tua Tagovailoa Fr. x x x x
Mac Jones Fr. RS x x x x

FUTURE

As you can see from the chart above, things are pretty crowded at QB for the next couple of seasons. This could change #AlabamaProblems (Too Menny 4 & 5 star QBs!) to an Alabama problem - especially if one or more of these field generals prematurely skips town later on. With a 2018 depth chart of a rising junior, a sophomore, and a RS freshman, can the Crimson Tide sign a quality quarterback for 2018? The easy solution is to sign someone of marginal talent for insurance but that could be a risky use of one of the precious few scholarships available.

CROOTIN TREND

Another aspect of quarterback recruiting is that most of the top prospects make their commitment long before National Signing Day. Lately if croots are not already locked down, they start committing around April and running until late spring - where we are now. It is a quirky phenomenon of commitment dominoes. Unfortunately for Alabama, they are two weeks from the first day of summer with no QB pledge and many of the top prospects committed elsewhere.

So the questions remain: Is there another Tagovailoa out there who is not afraid of competition from a returning starter(s)? Can Saban flip one his top targets? Will the Crimson Tide sign a quarterback at all in 2018?

ALABAMA 2018 TARGETS

With Lane Kiffin as Offensive Coordinator, Nick Saban opened his heart to the possibilities of a dual-threat over a pro-style, signing three straight of the former (Barnett, Hurts, Tagovailoa). Under Brian Daboll with his almost exclusively NFL experience, there is a chance that the move goes back to the pro-style. However, most of these targets are committed.

  • Trevor Lawrence PRO 6'6" 209 Cartersville HS/Cartersville, GA, 5.00 stars* - The Alabama staff highly covets the #1 2018 recruit. Though already committed to Clemson, he has not shut it down quite yet. In addition, former 4-star Zerrick Cooper just took a redshirt for the Tigers and 5-star Hunter Johnson enrolled in February.
  • Matt Corral PRO 6'2" 196 Polytechnic HS/Long Beach, CA, 5.00 - Committed to Southern Cal 16 months ago. It might be tough to wrest him away from the west coast but Alabama made him an offer in March and he is still listening.
  • Justin Fields DUAL 6'3" 221 Harrison HS/Kennesaw, GA; 4.67 - Proof positive that Penn State coach James Franklin can spin a yarn of BS with the best of them. Why the number one dual-threat QB who hails from the Atlanta area would commit to play ball in the middle of Pennsylvania is beyond me. I am not so sure he sticks with PSU though. Brian Daboll and Brent Key paid him a visit in early May. Nittany Lions coaches visited soon thereafter. Getting nervous?

UPDATE:

  • Emory Jones DUAL 6'3" 197 Heard County HS/Franklin, GA; 4.67 - Another highly-rated dual heading up north, Jones committed to Ohio State last July. Bama offered him in Early March and he took an unofficial visit a few weeks later. anOSU is also stacked with young QBs.
  • Jacob Sirmon PRO 6'4" 216 Bothell HS/Bothell, WA; 4.33 - Committed to Washington way back in December of 2015. Then suddenly, 4-star dual-threat Colson Yankoff pledged to the Huskies in March of this year. (Has to make a guy wonder why his future coach is still looking around, doesn’t it?) Regardless of what is happening in Seattle, it might be far-fetched to get Sirmon to flip 2500 miles.
  • Jack Tuttle PRO 6'4" 195 Mission Hills HS/San Marcos, CA; 4.00 - Though committed to Utah, there is some VERY recent buzz around his interest in the Crimson Tide. Tosh Lupoi and Brian Daboll head up this mission.
  • Tanner McKee PRO 6'6" 219 Centennial HS/Corona, CA; 4.00 - The only one on the list who is undecided, he is leaning towards Stanford or Brigham Young with Bama right behind. But this could make things interesting with Saraland, AL QB Jack West who is already committed to the Cardinal.

* Stars equals the average of Scout, Rivals and 247sports.

One developing story to keep an eye on is Gerry Bohanon (Earle, ARK) vs. Jalen Mayden (Sachse, TX). Bohanon looks like a heavy Miss State lean, but also has Bama on his list. However, the Bullies already have Mayden committed. Mayden does not have a Bama offer as of yet but his brother is Tide sophomore DB Jared Mayden. Both QBs are 4-star dual-threats and both recently made the Elite 11 Finals.

THE FUTURE FUTURE

The silver-lining comes in 2019. The odds of the Tide signing a top tier quarterback are much better in this class. A few prospects with interest in Alabama:

  • JT Daniels, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA) 5-stars PRO 6-2/205 - According to a 247 article behind a pay wall, “Elite 2019 QB is a big fan of Alabama’s Brian Daboll.” He was in Tuscaloosa April 17 for an unofficial visit. Leaders: Stanford, Southern Cal.
  • Spencer Rattler, Pinnacle (Phoenix, AZ) 4-stars PRO 6-1/175 - Has a long list. Leaders: ?
  • Bo Nix, Pinson Valley (Pinson, AL) 4-stars DUAL 6-1.5/194 - Offered March 15, he made an unofficial visit to Tuscaloosa two weeks later. Leaders: Aub, FSU, Alabama, Clemson.
  • Taulia Tagovailoa, Thompson (Alabaster, AL) 4-stars DUAL 5-11/202 - Have you heard of this guy? Some observers say he is better than his big brother. Leaders: Alabama.
  • Paul Tyson, Hewitt-Trussville (Trussville, AL) PRO 6-4/210 - The great-grandson of Bear Bryant does not have a Tide as of yet.

Poll

Will the Crimson Tide Sign a Quarterback in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Yes, they will flip a top prospect.
    (192 votes)
  • 36%
    Yes, they get a lesser touted guy for depth.
    (215 votes)
  • 31%
    No, pray for health and look to 2019.
    (187 votes)
594 votes total Vote Now