On 12:00am last Thursday morning, the Dead Period of football recruiting came to an end. At that point, coaches were allowed to resume filling out their classes for 2019. For the Crimson Tide staff, there was not too much time to lick their wounds.
As of now, Alabama has 24 student-athletes who have signed letters of intent (LOI) to play for the Tide, 13 of whom are reportedly already enrolled. Four recruits have committed but not signed LOIs.
None of these are slam-dunks to sign with the Crimson Tide on National Signing Day (NSD) February 6.
DE/LB Khris Bogle (Fort Lauderdale, FL) 6-3.5 / 212 - Committed during the Army All-American Bowl but did not appear too sure of himself. The “experts” all think he is a lock but something feels like this recruitment isn’t over yet. Or maybe that is just his personality. A Miami Rivals contributor who has exchanged texts with Bogle suggested in a recent article that should Bogle sign with Alabama, he “might have to grayshirt.” Yep, this is what Alabama is up against. Even writers are smearing Saban and the Tide.
Running backs coach Joe Pannunzio and defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi are expected in South Florida to see 4-star pledge.
Bogle will compete in the Polynesian Bowl Saturday, January 19 from Hawaii (DVR it: 11pm CT, CBS Sports Network).
SDE Byron Young (Laurel, MS) 6-3 / 290 - It is unclear what Young is up to but I would think he signs with Alabama. He committed way back on the fourth of July and has steadfastly said he is firm to the Tide. However, he did not sign during the Early Signing Period and insists on taking Official Visits (OV) to other schools. He OV’d Alabama on December 7 and plans to see Ole Miss on Jan 26 and MSU on Feb 2. LSU has been pushing him as well. Perhaps he just wants to compare BBQ joints in these other towns but nothing is sure until the ink is dry and LOIs are received at the Mal Moore.
Pete Golding is expected in to visit him this week.
CB Christian Williams (Daphne, AL) 6-1 / 182 - Another long-time commit (April 2018) who has yet to sign, Williams may be flirting with LSU. The Tide already have five DBs signed (Jordan Battle, Jeffery Carter, DeMarcco Hellams, Brandon Turnage, Marcus Banks). The Tide signed five secondary players in the last recruiting cycle and have not signed more than four in a class in the last eight classes. That said, Williams told Aye-Ell dot com last Friday “I’m still committed to Alabama. I still plan to go in there and compete as hard as I can.” My read is that he wants to sign with Alabama but has to wait to see if there is a spot left for him.
RB Keilan Robinson (Washington, DC) 5-9 / 184 - The Michiganders think they may have a flip on their hands. Is it really a flip if the original team no longer has a scholarship available to give? This may be the case with this running back prospect. Despite the losses of Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs, Alabama still has a fine stable of running backs in Najee Harris, Brian Robinson, Trey Sanders, and Jerome Ford.
The top targets have not changed too much.
Ishmael Sopsher DT Amite, LA - You have probably heard by now that this recruit says he ain’t signing nowherez without his 0-star no-talent juco big bruddah in tow. Alabama may offer Rodney Sopsher a preferred walk-on but that is it. It remains to be seen if little brother sticks to his outrageous demand. Personally, I would LOVE to see Rodney sign with Oregon or LSU and as soon as the LOI has been received, Ishmael signs somewhere else.
In an interesting development, Rivals has dropped Ishmael Sopsher down to 4-stars after he struggled during his time in Orlando for the Under Armour game and practices. 247sports composite has him at #28 overall after having him #1 a year ago and as high as #9 in December. The reportedly 334-pounder is on the cusp of losing his fifth star from 247 as well.
He is announcing NSD, February 6. He is also competing in the Polynesian Bowl.
Henry To’oto’o LB Concord, CA - Word is he will OV Tuscaloosa on January 25. We will know better where the Tide stands after that. He will be playing in the Polynesian Bowl as well.
Nathan Pickering DL Seminary, MS - This guy has planned to OV Alabama and cancelled several times already. Now he says he is going to visit Oregon. These guys that cover recruiting (and get paid for it) just lap up everything this guy puts out. I may be way off on this but I am going to stick by my belief that he is not flipping from Mississippi State. I see no reason to talk about him anymore until he shows up in T-town for an OV.
Brett Seither, TE Clearwater, FL - This three-star tight end received an offer from the the Crimson Tide on Thursday after an in-home visit with tight ends coach Jeff Banks. It appears that Alabama may not have been counting on the early departure of Irv Smith Jr. to the NFL. Couple that with the graduation of Hale Hentges and Bama has a sudden need for another warm body at tight end. Georgia is in the same boat after losing Isaac Nauta to early entry. The Dawgs and Penn State (a tight end is transferring) have both joined the mix for Seither in the last week. Not signing early has worked out pretty well for the 6’5”/230 pounder who only started playing football in his junior year. He is originally from Warwick, Maryland which makes some observers think PSU is the favorite. Seither has already OV’d TCU, Georgia Tech, and Michigan State and has one visit left to take. If it is to Alabama, you have to like the Tide’s chances of landing him.
Quashon Fuller DE Lehigh Acres, FL (outside Fort Myers) - This FSU commit plans to OV LSU this weekend, Tallahasse on Jan 25, and Tuscaloosa on Feb 1. He committed to the ‘Noles WAY back on February 2017 when Jimbo Fisher was still head coach. A lot has changed since that day. He is rated 4-stars and No. 203 overall by 247 comp.
Daniel Heimuli ILB Menlo Park, CA - Alabama has been gaining ground with this 4-star. He has not planned an OV as of yet but it is a strong possibility. He has already been to Oregon and plans on a trip to Washington. The 6-2/225 linebacker made an unofficial visit to Tuscaloosa with his coach this past summer and received an offer while in town.
He is another Polynesian Bowl participant.
Javonne Shepherd OT Houston, TX - This feels like a sightseer to me. This massive Texas commit (6-6/327) plans to OV TAMU (Jan. 11), UGA (Jan. 18), Bama (Jan. 25) and wrap up his tour in Austin on Feb. 1. The Crimson Tide already has plenty of OL. I see very little chance of him signing with Alabama, but maybe Saban is laying groundwork for future croots at this high school.
Might Saban look to the juco ranks for some additions to the 2019 class? Why yes, he just might:
Chester Graves is a 6-4/240 lbs DE from Kansas City, MO. He signed with Ole Miss as a 4-star out of high school but failed to academically qualify. After two seasons at Iowa Western C.C., he is the No. 2 rated juco player. He had 38 solo tackles with 20.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, and a scoop-and-score as a freshman, earning first-team NJCAA All-America honors. This past season he had 31 solos, one sack, 9 TFL, an INT, and 3 pass break-ups in two less games. He is also looking at Mizzou, Miami and Ole Miss.
Lakia Henry is the third rated juco player. Originally from Vidalia, GA, he had little interest from FBS schools but developed into a four-star middle linebacker in his time at Dodge City C.C. in Kansas. Henry was committed to Tennessee since May but decommitted on Jan. 5. He had 187 tackles in two seasons of juco ball. He has graduated from Dodge and has three years to play two seasons.
Alabama ended up with three of the Top 10 from the Final Rivals100:
3. Trey Sanders, five-star running back
5. Antonio Alfano, five-star defensive tackle
8. Evan Neal, five-star offensive tackle