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FRIDAY UPDATES: Alabama Recruiting Update: Tide to Host Official Visitors

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Two weeks until NSD.

College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T - Alabama v Clemson Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

OFFICIAL VISITORS

With two weeks to go until National Signing Day, Alabama is working to put the finishing touches on an excellent Class of 2019. The Tide will have a few official visitors this weekend.

Henry To’oto’o

This 4-star linebacker is a high priority for the Tide staff. He has the ability to play any of the linebacking positions and would help shore up the deficit at those positions.

There has been some speculation that the departure of Tosh Lupio to the Cleveland Browns will negatively affect his college choice. However in most cases when a lead recruiter leaves a program, it is not a major factor to the recruit. Certainly the two have bonded, but I cannot recall a time when a prospect completely scratched a team off his list just because his primary recruiter left the school. It is widely believed that Nick Saban and Lupoi parted on somewhat good terms. I’d be willing to wager good money that Lupoi communicated his job change to To’oto’o and encouraged him to roll with the Tide one last time. That said, Pete Golding, who was secondary recruiter and already on familiar terms with To’oto’o, will be visiting him in Concord, California this week leading up to his OV this weekend.

To’oto’o has been playing his recruitment cards close to his chest. It is hard to tell which way he is leaning. He has taken OVs to Washington (Sept), Utah (Dec), and Tennessee (Jan. 11). His final visit is to Oregon on Feb. 1. UPDATE: Much like Najee Harris, I believe To’oto’o does not participate in social media.

Brett Seither

Seither is a name that has recently popped up and caught fire. There is something to be said for waiting until February to sign. Two weeks ago, this 3-star tight end was looking at TCU and Georgia Tech. Now he has the likes of Alabama, Penn State and Georgia beating down his door. Unexpected early departures of tight ends at these three schools have left them with a need and Seither is suddenly the best tight end remaining uncommitted. He is from Clearwater, FL but is originally from Warwick, Maryland. This fact has led some ASSumptions that Maryland might have an advantage. However from what I can tell, distance from either city is not a major factor. He OV’d UGA last weekend and will use his final allotted visit to Tuscaloosa this weekend. He appears to be a take at Alabama if he accepts the offer. UPDATE: With no more OVs left in his allotment, Seither may take in PSU on his own dime.

Jared Hunte

Just like Seither, Hunte is another prospect that has blown up as of late. Alabama staffers have gone to see him a few times in Queens, NY over the last month plus. This 3-star defensive tackle appears to have narrowed his choices to Miami, Penn State and Alabama, but he may be a Plan B for the Crimson Tide. UPDATE: Queens native and new Bama OL coach Kyle Flood tagged along with Craig Kuligowski as they dropped by Hunte’s campus earlier this week.
* THURSDAY UPDATE: Word is the Hunte has yet to confirm his official visit this weekend. FRIDAY UPDATE: Hunte will not visit. You can take his name off the board.

OTHER OVs

4-star offensive tackle and Texas commit Javonne Shepherd is expected to make an OV to Tuscaloosa this weekend but nothing is concrete. Shepherd was another name that came up late on Alabama’s radar and seems like an odd target seeing how it looks like the Tide is stacked at OL for years to come and have other pressing needs. UPDATE: I am starting to think this guy is just a sightseer.

4-star cornerback Christian Williams has been a long time Alabama commit and made recent comments about planning to sign with the Crimson Tide. Yet, he did not sign during the Early Signing Period and has yet to make an OV to T-town. He had originally scheduled an Bama OV this weekend but now plans to hit up College Station instead. He was in Miami last weekend and plans to head up to Oregon on the final weekend before NSD. I believe the ink on that writing up on the wall has dried.

UNOFFICIAL VISITORS

This weekend, the Crimson Tide will host a bevy of underclassmen high school prospects for the first Junior Day of the year. These are unofficial visits in which expenses come out of the pockets and the players and their families. These recruits will be mostly Class of 2020 but also a few recruits from younger classes. One in particular is 5-star McKinnley Jackson from Lucedale, MS, who is ranked the No. 1 defensive tackle for 2020. He has camped at Alabama the last two summers and was at Junior Day this time a year ago.

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Some Tide fans are also concerned about losing edge rusher Khris Bogle due to Lupoi’s departure. However, Joe Pannunzio has always been the primary and he and Sal Sunseri visited Bogle this week. It should also be noted that new Bama assistant Charles Kelly has been recruiting Bogle since his time at Florida State. He was also his primary recruiter at Tennessee, so there is a longstanding relationship between Kelly and the Bogle family. This Tide commit is a raw but special talent who might remind you of Terrell Hall or Christian Miller.
  • UPDATE: Will OV this weekend. Former 5-star DT Ishmael Sopsher has been plummeting down the rankings after a long stay in the top ten. Once he matched up with elite talent at the Under Armour All-America Game, his flaws began to show. He is still talented but not quite the catch once believed. Rivals took away a star and dropped him down to No. 72 overall. 247sports also now ranks him 4-stars and lowered him to No. 37 -> 47 overall. Couple his tumble with his silly demand that a school has to take his 0-star juco brother as a package deal, makes potentially missing out on this guy seem like not such a bad thing. Nobody from Alabama has visited him as of late which would indicate that the Tide has moved on. Stay tuned... UPDATED UPDATE: Saban and Pete Golding visited Sopsher and his family in-home today (Wednesday). It would be a surpise if he bails on his OV this weekend. Also, there is talk that the Sopsher brothers are slowing their roll on the package deal idea.
    * THURSDAY UPDATE: There has been talk that Ishmael’s brother, Rodney, may “re-classify to the 2020 class.” I’m not sure what that means or what that would accomplish.
  • Daniel Heimuli is another linebacker Alabama is giving a good long look. Pete Golding will drop in on the 4-star Californian this week as well. He drew rave reviews during his week at the Polynesian Bowl, being named defensive most valuable player. On the surface, it may appear that Heimuli is a back-up plan if To’oto’o goes elsewhere. But there is a chance that the Tide could take both. Heimuli will OV Alabama on February 1.
  • 4-star DE Quashon Fuller will also OV February 1. He is committed to FSU but could be swayed. Saban and Director of player development Denzel Devall stopped in to see him on Monday in Lehigh Acres, FL. He participated in the Army All-American Game.
  • With Deondrick Glass committing to Oklahoma State last week, it appears that Alabama will indeed sign running back Keilan Robinson. The 4-star out of Washington, DC is not visiting anywhere else and is not even talking about other schools. This could be a possible blueshirt (August enrollment) or greyshirt situation (December enrollment). UPDATES: Robinson has been moving up the rankings since the Under Armour game. He has gone from No. 373 to 243 in the 247sports composite. Michigan (i.e. Josh Gattis) has been pushing for an OV from Robinson but he will not be taking any such visit as of now. Side Note: new Bama assistant Charles Huff was his primary recruiter at Missy State.
    * THURSDAY UPDATE: Huff had an in-home visit on Tuesday with Robinson.
NCAA Football: Under Armour All-America Game
Under Armour coach Steve Mariucci with MVP Jerrion Ealy.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
  • THURSDAY UPDATE: Saban and Golding dropped in on 5-star running back Jerrion Ealy on Thursday and left with an official visit locked in for next weekend. As good as this class is, Ealy’s signature would shoot this group into the stratosphere. Ealy, who is also a top baseball prospect, decommitted from Ole Miss earlier this month. He OV’d Clemson last weekend and started to look like a lean to that school but Nick Saban is back in the fight. He will be in Oxford this weekend and Alabama gets him last. Huff was his primary recruiter at Missy State as well. Stay tuned!

EARLY ENROLLEES

Trey Sanders and King Mwikuta will not enroll until June. You can put the cacti down. Neither issue should be of concern. They are not due to academic qualifying. They are more about having the right credits to graduate high school early. Unfortunately, this means Tide fans will not get a first look at the number one ranked running back in his crimson and white uniform until fall camp. Both are still expected to move to Tuscaloosa in late May.

NEW NUMBER ONE

StudentSports.com

Early enrollee Antonio Alfano DE was named the No. 1 overall prospect by 247sports this week. He is No. 5 in their composite rankings, and No. 5 by Rivals.

PREVIEW

Alabama signees Taulia Tagovailoa and Charles Billingsley were teammates at last week’s Polynesian Bowl and had some nice chemistry.

FRIDAY CONFIRMED OV LIST:

  • OT Javonne Shepherd (Houston, TX) 4-stars Texas commit - arriving Saturday.
  • TE Brett Seither (Clearwater, FL) 3-stars uncommitted - arrived Friday.
  • DT Ishmael Sopsher (Amite, LA) 4-stars uncommitted - arrived Friday.
  • Henry To’oto’o (Concord, CA) 4-stars uncommitted - arrived Friday.

#ROLL1N9