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Alabama Football Recruiting: The End of Summer

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One last Crootin’ update before fall camp opens on Friday.

LSU v Alabama
Who will be next to stroll down the Walk of Champions?
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer’s out of reach.

The Boys of Summer by Don Henley

The NCAA Recruiting Calendar is an odd thing. It seems senseless to have a Dead Period in the middle of summer, but there it was from June 25 through July 24. Another Dead Period runs the length of the month of August. The Crimson Tide celebrated this short respite with a second BBQ Cookout. While it was not as big as the first one, it was still received very well.

4-star OLB commit King Mwikuta was in attendance and told 247sports that he gets “homesick” whenever he LEAVES Tuscaloosa. He has moved from the No. 123 prospect to 115.

Oxford, Miss. DB Brandon Turnage made his third trip to the Capstone this summer. QBs Paul Tyson and Taulia Tagovailoa plus one of the newest commits DE Byron Young were also spotted.

ILB Shane Lee made the trip from Baltimore, Maryland and reaffirmed his commitment to Alabama.

“It felt the same as the first time,” Lee told BamaOnLine. “I’m comfortable there. I feel like I fit right in. It’s just easy if that makes sense.”

This young man is one to keep an eye on. He has potential to be the next great middle linebacker at the Capstone. He is the No. 73 overall player in the country, according to the 247sports comp rankings.

Lee brought along teammate Darrian Dalcourt. I am not sure if the 4-star OL has a committable offer just yet. There are bigger OL fish for the Tide to reel in (Clay Webb, Darnell Wright, Evan Neal). But then again, Alabama certainly wants to stay on good terms with St. Frances Academy which produced Lee, incoming freshman 5-star Eyabi Anoma, and 2020 5-star Chris Braswell (No. 17) who appears to be favoring the Tide.

THE BIGGER FISH

Speaking of...

5-star offensive tackle Darnell Wright was back in T-town for the Cookout with his mother. Reports say they had a VERY good time and the Tide might just be the favorite right now. The West Virginia native is ranked No. 9 overall. He last visited Tuscaloosa in April. He Tweeted out his finalists a few days before the BBQ:

While not at the BBQ, 5-star DT Ishmael Sopsher also Tweeted out his finalists:

AT THE BBQ

ILB Christian Harris made his fifth trip to T-town this year. He is listed as a Athlete for his wide receiver skills but projects as a linebacker. LSU may be losing ground for the 4-star Baton Rouge native, but of course he has everybody in town harassing him to stay home.

5-star RB Trey Sanders had planned to be present at the BBQ but IMG Academy had mandatory event he needed to attend.

2020 AND BEYOND

With the 2019 #ROLL1N9 class filling up and the Tide staff knowing who they want to focus on, much attention is turning to the 2020 class. Many of the other visitors for the BBQ were from this class, but we are talking about kids who just finished the tenth grade.

I won’t go into too much depth about them but one worth mentioning is the son of former Alabama defensive lineman Reggie Grimes. The weak-side defensive end prospect shares his father’s name and grew up a Tide fan. He recently moved up to No. 51 overall.

NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS?

Many in the national recruiting media thought there could be a commitment this week for Alabama for 2019 or 2020 but there was none. It is nothing for Tide fans to be concerned with as most of these prospects are prepping for their high school season, many of which begin practice and classes next week.

OTHER NEWS

  • The buzz around 5-star safety Daxton Hill to Alabama is rising but I still am not quite feeling it. The Tulsa, OK native used his first official visit on Alabama in June and has yet to take any other OVs. Unless the Tide staff can get him to return for an unofficial for a game this fall, I cannot imagine Hill not signing with the Sooners.
  • DT Rashad Cheney was again not at the BBQ. By all accounts, he has not been on campus since March 30. As I have mentioned in previous crootin’ posts, I don’t think he will be a part of this 2019 class. 247sports has devalued him from No. 277 to 353.
  • LB Shane Lee and fellow Alabama commit kicker Will Reichard were named to the MaxPreps 2018 preseason high school football All-American team. Taulia Tagovailoa and OT Pierce Quick made the second team.
  • Other players who are strongly considering Alabama that made the MaxPreps list include Trey Sanders, Evan Neal, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Ishmael Sopsher, Henry To’oto’o, Nakobe Dean, Akeem Dent, and Daxton Hill on the first team. Darnell Wright, George Pickens, Faatui Tuitele, and Clay Webb made the second team.
  • 4-star CB Jeffery Carter looked like a possibility for Alabama at one point. He was supposed to go to Oklahoma this past weekend but then Tweeted out that his dad’s car had caught a nail in a tire somewhere between his Dallas, TX suburb hometown and Norman. However only a few short hours later, Carter had a commitment video all ready and pledged his signature to Texas A&M. Tide would have taken his commitment and still will should he choose to change his mind.
  • 4-star outside linebacker Rian Davis of Apopka, FL committed to UGA on July 27, two days after an unofficial visit. However, he told 247 on Monday that he still intends to take an official visit to Alabama this fall. I am not sure what to make of these decisions. If he is just sight-seeing, I’d prefer he stay home. It’ll be interesting to see if UGA coach Kirby Smart tries to lay down the law with him.
  • Andrew Bone of BamaInsider recently made an interesting observation. A few well-rated prospects came to town for various camps over the summer and departed perplexed because they left without solid offers. Bone explains that it is because for whatever reason, the recruits decided to not work out for the Alabama staff. These young men, their coaches and family need to understand that a highlight reel on YouTube isn’t enough to get an offer from top programs. Lesson learned.

MY TINFOIL HAT

There is something that has been bugging me for awhile now. It’s the Grayson 4. No, they are not a pop singing group from the 70s. They are four top 2019 prospects from Grayson High School in Loganville, GA. On May 1st of this year, they all held a group press conference at their Atlanta-area school to make their verbal pledges. Oddly enough, none of them chose Georgia.

Player Pos Rank College
Wanya Morris OL 7 Tennessee
Owen Pappoe LB 11 Auburn
Kevin Harris DE 92 Alabama
Kenyatta Watson DB 169 Texas

Harris to Alabama is believable, although I did not completely see it coming. Grudgingly, I’ll admit Pappoe to Auburn is explainable, but most thought he was heading to Athens, GA. Watson to Texas is odd. But it’s Morris to Tennessee that doesn’t make much sense at all. Wanya Morris is the top offensive lineman in the country and seventh overall prospect. Why would he go to a troubled program like Tennessee? He may never play in a bowl game!

Now, it’s time for my tinfoil hat. I have been reporting on crootin for RBR for close to six years and I have developed a sense about when a guy is being less than genuine in their intentions. Something about this whole thing stinks.

The truth is, everyone of those guys in that high school gym should’ve been saying “ROLL TIDE!” or “UGA DOWN!” or whatever the hell Georgia fans say. It is just a gut feeling with no facts to back it up, but I get the feeling they are up to something, like they are all going to flip somewhere together on December 19. WDYT?

BOUNCEY BALLS

Alabama basketball coach Avery Johnson was busy this weekend as well. He paid visits to 5-star Trendon Watford (No. 14 overall prospect) of Mountain Brook, AL and high 4-star Kira Lewis (No. 30) of Hazel Green, AL this past weekend. If Johnson can sign these two, watch out!