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Jumbo Package: Tide on track to sign historical recruiting class...again.


<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">SEC Championship - Alabama v Georgia

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We know: You’re here for recruiting. And, I assure you, that we will have a metric ton of analysis, breakdowns etc. coming later today and in the coming weeks. So, this will be more of a glib treatment. But, let’s start with one of our favorite guys in the 2019 ESP: Antonio Alfano.

Here’s an interview with him!

BOL’s Winners and Losers:


Alabama ... Only the Crimson Tide can see a five-star in their class flip and still be considered a clear winner. But those are the recruiting efforts were used to seeing out of Tuscaloosa as Nick Saban and his staff work to start a new streak at the top of the 247Sports Recruiting Rankings after Georgia snapped their seven-year run in the 2018 cycle.

There was some drama late as Trey Sanders’ LOI had not been received. But, by 10:00 o’clock central, it was finally in-hand. A lot of folks were sweating this one.

Mercy, is the SEC loaded. The Top four classes are all in the SEC — three are in the West alone. Mississippi State has the nation’s 18th-ranked class — and that is just eighth in the conference.

Alabama: Have no fear, Alabama fans, the Tide isn’t taking a recruiting loss this year. Georgia topped the 2018 Rivals rankings but Alabama is in the lead after the first early signing period day. Nineteen of its 26 commitments signed on Wednesday, including five-star defensive tackle Antonio Alfano, five-star offensive tackle Evan Neal and five-star running back Trey Sanders, who picked Alabama over Georgia. College football fans will notice that offensive line, defensive line and running back have been constant positions of strength for the Tide under coach Nick Saban.

...and safeties, and wide receivers, and linebackers, and...


The Alabama quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up said his left ankle will be just fine for the College Football Playoff semifinal game with Oklahoma on Dec. 29.

’’I’ll probably be at 100 percent by the time the game comes,’’ Tagovailoa said Wednesday. ‘’That’s my prediction. Definitely.’’

Yes, there is some practice to report on — but not much. Here it is from Zenitz.

A few notes from the media viewing period.

-- Tua Tagovailoa had a slightly different tape pattern on his left ankle. Both shoes had a black tape running up the leg. He did some footwork drills that put stress on the ankle and the quarterback appeared to handle it all well.

Justin Fields is expected to play in the Sugar Bowl, but there has been much speculation as to where he eventually lands. We were of the informal group opinion that the Sooners made sense. But, it’s looking like Ryan Day may get a shiny new toy in the garage:

Georgia freshman quarterback Justin Fields is interested in transferring to Ohio State, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reported on Wednesday.

News of Fields’s intention to transfer broke on Tuesday. His name appeared on the NCAA’s new transfer portal that same afternoon. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart acknowledged Field’s decision on Wednesday but said Fields has not yet told the coaching staff definitively if he was leaving.

This is a trickle-down that affects Alabama, of course, because at least three other standouts could hit will be hitting the market this Spring — Tyree Jackson (Buffalo), Deandre Francois (FSU), and of course Jalen Hurts. But, no doubt that Fields will be long-term the prize for whomever signs him.

Here’s Andrew Bone’s breakdown of the 2019 ESP class. I’m partial to our own in-depth coverage, but the more the merrier!

Cool story on best high school players recruiting experts ever saw, and then follows up with their career.

Dre Kirkpatrick, Gadsden City High School

THEN: “As Nick Saban worked on his incredible 2009 recruiting class at Alabama, one prospect in particular stood out to those of us in the Yellowhammer State: cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick of Gadsden, Ala. My high school team played in the same section as his, giving me a first-hand look at the top corner in the country. He lived up to the billing, helping hold our team to 74 total yards and even taking a few snaps at quarterback — because why not? He didn’t make any highlight-reel plays, and I felt some pride that we only lost 17-7, but he was clearly the best player on the field — and the best high school player I’d ever seen, then or now.” — Zac Al-Khateeb

CBS Winners and Losers:

Alabama: After seven straight No. 1 classes, Alabama dipped last year to No. 5, so we expected Nick Saban to come back with a vengeance. It appears he did just that by locking up the No. 1 class on Wednesday. Though it wasn’t a perfect day, it doesn’t look like anyone will catch the Tide for the No. 1 class after it landed five-star offensive tackle Evan Neal and No. 1 running back Trey Sanders. It also flipped four-star safety Jordan Battle from Ohio State to start the day and held off some attempted poachers on everyone else in their class with the exception of five-star safety Daxton Hill.

For whatever reason, people were surprised by Arkansas’ relatively decent ESP class. I have no idea why — this was literally the reason Morris got the nod over better X&O types.

TSN’s winners and losers:


Remember when the Tide slipped all the way down to No. 5 in 2018? It took a year, but Nick Saban figured out the early signing calendar, and the Tide are back on top again. The Crimson Tide started the day by flipping four-star safety Jordan Battle from Ohio State, then locked down a pair of five-star commits from IMG Academy in running back Trey Sanders (who still needs to send in his letter of intent) and tackle Evan Neal. Five-star defensive end Antonio Alfano also is on board, giving Alabama 12 of the top 100 recruits per 247Sports’ Composite rankings. Alabama still knows how to land the big-time recruits better than anybody else.

Top ‘Bama stories from CBS

Hey, did you know Alabama signed two outstanding QBs yesterday? The Bear’s great-grandson — who is more than a name; and ‘Lia Tagovailoa — who is alleged to have even more upside than Tua.

Paul Tyson’s story is here

Taulia Tagovailoa’s is here.

Finally, Saban held his Wednesday presser and there was a lot of ground to cover. There’s plenty here about ‘crooting. But, he also hit on Orange Bowl prep.

Here’s Charlie Potter’s full press conference coverage:

“First of all, I want to make a comment about practice. We did get to go outside a couple of days, which was really good. The footing wasn’t great but the weather was pretty good. The field sort of got torn up so bad that we thought we needed to go back inside. Preparation continues to go well. We’re going to move up practice tomorrow, practice a little earlier so the players can get out of here and actually take a three-day break before we depart for Miami on the 24th, early in the morning. We’ll practice down there. So I think practice is going well. We’re getting what we need to get out of practice. I know this is tough on the players when you practice this many days in a row, but when we’ve done it where we spread it out more where they get rest in between, it just sort of grinds on you mentally. So they’ve had a good attitude about it and we’ve done a pretty good job in terms of the coaches being able to get some of the implementation that we need to get ready for this game.”

We’ll have plenty more for you throughout the day. Enjoy the class — it’s shaping up to be a special one. Roll Tide