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Alabama Football Recruiting: Crimson Tide Turning Up the Heat

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Nick Saban and staff are motivated and ultra-aggressive this year.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Alabama Practice
What happens when Saban gets bested in recruiting? Watch out!
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

It may seem early to talk about Crimson Tide recruiting for future classes a little over two months removed from NSD18. However, the Early Signing Period (ESP) has changed everything. Nick Saban will not get caught flat-footed this go-around. As scary good as Bama recruiting has been in the recent past, just imagine what motivated, ultra-aggressive Bama recruiting is like. The Tide received two new key commitments a week ago Thursday to bring the 2019 total up to six. Saban and staff are looking to lock down commitments earlier than ever, and could be receiving to new pledges in the coming weeks. This new strategy would preface to a vast majority of the coming class signing during the December ESP.

LAST WEEKEND

Alabama held their first scrimmage of the spring last weekend with several high profile recruits on hand. The list included the top ranked overall player for 2019 Kayvon Thibodeaux. The 5-star defensive end is made his trek from Thousand Oaks, California. By all accounts, he had a good time and Tweeted that he would return in the fall for an official visit. Bama is in the running but my gut tells me his heart lies on the west coast.

THE RAEKWON TRAIN

The emergence of Bama DL Raekwon Davis out of Meridian, MS has caught the attention of many other defenders from the Magnolia state.

On campus last weekend were a trio of Mississippi natives in Nakobe Dean, Jaren Handy, Jarrian Jones. The Tide is in good position to sign all three. Dean is a 5-star ILB from Horn Lake outside of Memphis. He is the top recruit in the state. Handy is a 4-star defensive end from the Hattiesburg area who considers Davis a “role model”. Jones is a 4-star safety from a Jackson suburb.

Another 4-star Mississippi DE Byron Young out of Laurel, MS named Alabama his favorite in February after a Junior Day visit. The Tide is also pursuing 4-star defensive end Nathan Pickering from Seminary, MS.

THIS WEEKEND

More prospects are visiting this weekend and took in the second scrimmage.

Clay Webb is a 5-star offensive lineman out of Oxford, AL who could be slotted as the next Tide center should he commit. He has become close friends with Tide commits Pierce Quick and Paul Tyson. Andrew Bone reported those three players went on Spring Break together. Webb could be the next to commit.

Antonio Alfano from Colonia, NJ is making his second visit to Tuscaloosa. The DT is a high 4-star and ranked 58th in the nation by the 247 Comp. Penn State is the team to beat but Saban won’t make it easy for the Nittany Lions. Look for an official visit from him in the fall.

Nolan Smith is making his third trip to T-town. The Savannah native is a UGA commit ... for now. He is a high 4-star who would fit in nicely as a Jack linebacker. He is currently enrolled at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL whose further distance from Athens, GA could work in the Tide’s favor.

4-star ILB Shane Lee and 4-star OT Darrian Dalcourt from Baltimore, MD arrived on Thursday and are scheduled to leave on Sunday making a good long stopover in Tuscaloosa. They are teammates with Bama 5-star signee Eyabi Anoma.

North Forest (Texas) High School teammates Javonne Shepherd, a 4-star tackle, and 2020 4-star wide receiver Demond Demas arrived on Friday and are staying through Sunday. A visit to Texas by Nick Saban and Jeff Banks to see this pair during NSD18 crunch time in January should be a good indication that he wants them on future teams.

Vonta Bentley was back for a second Capstone visit. The 4-star ILB hales from Birmingham (Jackson-Olin).

The top receiver and possibly top overall player for 2020 Julian Fleming was in town on Thursday. Bama WR coach Josh Gattis has a long-standing relationship with Fleming starting with his days at Penn State. He is from a small Pennsylvania town 90 miles from State College.

NEXT WEEKEND

April 21 is Alabama A-Day. A plethora of prospects from 2019 and beyond are expected to be on hand.

  • It would be beyond surprising if Taulia Tagovailoa and family were not on hand to watch big brother Tua. There is a good chance that Taulia’s high school teammate 4-star offensive tackle Amari Kight. These two were on campus for a midweek visit this past week.
  • Christian Harris has taken four visits to Alabama since the start of the year and is likely to return for the A-Day game. He attends Tim Williams alma mater University Lab in Baton Rouge, LA. Harris is a 4-star Athlete who would likely play linebacker at Alabama. He is a big fan of fellow Red Stick native Dylan Moses.
  • Jaylen McCollough 4-star safety from Kenyan Drake’s high school Hillgrove in Powder Springs, GA will be on campus.
  • NEW: 5-star OL Darnell Wright is scheduled to be at A-Day. He is from Huntington, WV.

ETC.

High 4-star DE/OLB Kevin Harris was in town two weekends ago and may be making a commitment soon. The Loganville, GA (Grayson) native is down to Alabama, Miami and LSU. He is friendly with recent Tide commit Rashad Cheney.