In a strange and fortuitous turn of events, the Crimson Tide is expected to add one more player to the 2018 class - and not a moment too soon.
Incoming freshman Ale Kaho signed with Washington in February. However, Huskies coach Chris Petersen confirmed that UW had granted the Reno, NV native a full release from his scholarship agreement. Petersen told reporters that it was a family issue:
According to Adam Jude of The Seattle Times, Kaho’s parents are going through a divorce and he had an aunt and an uncle die unexpectedly last month. A family member told The Times Kaho had lost about 20 pounds from the anxiety of it all while in his short time in Seattle. He never actually enrolled at UW, making him eligible to play right away at Alabama.
Peterson may have misspoken about the part about being “close to family” with Tuscaloosa being so far from Reno. I am assuming, the young man wanted a fresh start.
Ironically, Alabama was on the short end of a similar situation earlier this year when quarterback Gardner Minshew was said to have a similar excuse to leave ECU and be “closer to family”. Alabama looked like the imminent landing spot for the Mississippi native but in the end, he signed with... Washington State.
In this case, Kaho asked for his release before classes began. (You may recall a similar case of Eddie Vanderdoes backing out of his scholarship with Notre Dame so he could
waste spend four years at UCLA.) According to the ua.edu academic calendar, the last day to pay for classes is Friday which explains the timing of it all.
According to 247Sports, Kaho will depart for Tuscaloosa as early as Wednesday night.
LAST YEAR’S RECRUITMENT
Alabama is not new to Kaho. He was strongly recruited by defensive coordinator and west coast crootin’ magician Tosh Lupoi. He attended a Bama camp in July 2017. After seeing him work out, the Tide offered him during that weekend. He later took an official visit to Tuscaloosa on November 4 for the LSU game. In the end, he chose Washington over Southern Cal, BYU and Alabama.
The 6-foot-1, 218-pounder is an interesting linebacker prospect. 247sports gave him 5-stars and ranked him the No. 21 player in the class. Scout has him at a high 4-stars and No. 82 overall. ESPN, oddly enough, gave him only 3-stars and don’t have him among their top 300. The 247sports Composite Rankings calculate him at 4-stars and No. 133. He was part of the US Army All-American Game but did not participate.
Kaho can play inside or outside linebacker. With the Tide having a big need on the inside, that is the likeliest place for the Crimson Tide to try him out.
The first thing you notice when you watch Kaho is his versatility. He can play any of a number of positions, but linebacker is where his future is. He is quick twitch with plenty of athleticism moving in space and sideline-to-sideline with the strength to take on and shed blockers. He can drop back in to coverage and run with backs and tight ends but then also shows capability rushing off the edge and getting to the quarterback. Kaho also plays running back and is a plus runner, able to run between the tackles while showing good breakaway speed in the open field. - Brandon Huffman, National Recruiting Editor for 247sports.com
With his late arrival and having lost some weight, it will take time for Kaho to acclimate. He will need to learn the Nick Saban defense and conform to the speed of the college game, as well as get into playing shape. It would be highly unlikely to see him play more than the four redshirt-allowed games this season.
[FYI: There is a mini Meltdown going on in Seattle.]
(Wed 5:40pm CT) Coach Nick Saban said he is not able to comment on Kaho during his Wednesday press conference. Because of NCAA recruiting rules, he did not mention him by by name which indicates that the UA Athletics offices have yet to receive a letter of intent.
It appears an issue is getting an affordable last-minute flight to Birmingham from Reno. Neither the University nor boosters are allowed to pay for such a thing.
(Wed 7:58pm CT) Reports that Kaho will arrive on Thursday.
(Thurs 8:52pm CT) Kaho was set to fly standby Thursday out of Reno but the flight was overbooked and he didn’t make it on the plane.
Sources are saying that Kaho has a confirmed seat on a flight out of Reno on Friday morning, expected to arrive in Tuscaloosa is Friday night.
(Fri 6:28pm) Kaho has arrived in Tuscaloosa and is on campus.