This has truly been one of the oddest recruiting seasons under Nick Saban at the Capstone.
This year saw the introduction of the Early Signing Period (ESP) in December which took everything we knew about recruiting and threw it into a dryer with 20 pairs of wool socks and a couple of pine cones. It will be awhile before the fallout from the ESP is really known. How much regret will some recruits have at signing early with a certain team, perhaps “jumping the gun”? Conversely, are there teams who signed player early and may now miss out on someone else better?
Because of this havoc, Saban has made some moves that frankly are puzzling. Most curious are the late offers for lower rated players and late pushes on forgotten offers that almost come off as desperate in a way.
For example, we have the late chase for quarterbacks. Roughly two weeks ago, the Crimson Tide made a play for Brock Purdy, a little known 3-star from Arizona who the 247sports Composite ranks as the 833rd best player in the land. This was followed up by a January 25th offer to 4-star Princeton commit Brevin White. The punchline is that the Tide may not get either. UPDATE: They are not getting either.
Granted Alabama has gotten lucky in the past at plucking a gem out of obscurity such as Josh Jacobs, but the Tide staff have been making several pulls on the crootin slot machine this season. Early signees Slade Bolden and Jerome Ford probably fall into that category. And then there are the continued pursuits of prospects such as ILB Jaylen Moody and TE Glenn Beal, both three stars. They very well could pan out or be “diamonds in the rough”, but it is unlike Saban to go after the long odds so often in one class.
POSITIONS OF NEED
The number one need is certainly in the secondary. Nick Saban is absolutely pursuing cornerbacks and has a strong chance at landing a couple of good ones. However, there has been little chase after pure safeties. Deionte Thompson is the only truly experienced safety the Tide has on the returning roster. Perhaps the strategy is to go after cornerbacks and convert them to safeties down the line.
Another need is at non-Jack linebacker but Alabama has not seem to be pursuing that position very much. Currently, the Tide have their aim on committed-but-not-signed Quay Walker, who is in real danger of flipping, and Vernon Jackson whose is listed as an “Athlete”. His future position is definitely in TBD mode.
If the Tide signs DE Malik Langham and DT Bobby Brown as expected, that will give this class five defensive ends and two defensive tackles. This is great news but it does not address the soon-to-be dearth at nose tackle. Brown and signee DT Christian Barmore are both under 300 pounds.
The Tide seems to be stacked at every position on offense and added nice pieces here and there. Yet, they are still pursuing three wide receivers to go with two who have already signed, Xavier Williams and Bolden. Jaylen Waddle and Justyn Ross are favored to sign with the Tide but then Jacob Copeland got a visit from Saban, Mike Locksley and Josh Gattis on Thursday. Would the Tide really sign FIVE wide receivers to this class to go with the amazing group of returning sophomores (Henry Ruggs, DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy, Tyrell Shavers, Chadarius Townsend)?
- Jaylen Waddle WR Houston, TX 5’10”/165 ****½
- Justyn Ross WR Phenix City, AL 6’4’’ / 197 ****
- Jacob Copeland WR Pensacola, FL 6’1” 188 ****
The Tide will be hosting only two 2018 recruits on Official Visits this weekend:
Leon O’Neal CB Cypress, TX (6’1”/190) **** - The next in a long line of elite corners to come through Tuscaloosa on OV. Hopefully, the Tide will land a couple of these top prospects.
Jaylen Moody ILB Conway, SC (6’2”/225) *** - The Tide offered him on Tuesday, as in three days ago. This has to be disconcerting as to whether Alabama can sign Quay Walker. 247 Comp ranks Moody as the #1196 player in the nation.
******** UPDATE 2/2:
Leon O’Neal has cancelled his visit. He will not be coming to Alabama, and neither will Brevin White. White announced that he will be sticking with Princeton.
******** UPDATE 2/4:
Reports are saying that Brock Purdy has eliminated the Tide from consideration.
2018 RECRUITING IS OVER
The Quiet Period began Sunday. Dead Period starts Monday at which point no contact is allowed until after NSD on Wednesday.