This weekend in Tuscaloosa might be the biggest and wildest event in the history of the University of Alabama and the city - perhaps the state! The top ranked LSU Tigers are not the only high-profile visitors descending on campus. The President of the United States, the ESPN GameDay crew, the SEC Nation crew and all their personalities will be bopping around T-town as well. Furthermore, there have been rumors of appearances by Kanye West and several other rappers. From a recruiting aspect, this is a bonanza for the Crimson Tide. Obviously, this one will be the biggest recruiting weekend of the year for Nick Saban and staff.
FOOTBALL OFFICIAL VISITORS
Even without all the hoot and holler, the Bama staff had already targeted this weekend for some major recruits. As of today, six prospects are planning Official Visits (OV) for this weekend.
- SDE Jordan Burch (Columbia, SC) 6-5 / 250 - The No. 2 overall prospect for 2020. He was on OV to LSU two weekends ago for Aub-LSU. This would be a huge get for Alabama.
- TE/DE Darnell Washington (Las Vegas, NV) 6-7.5 / 261 - 5-star No. 11 overall who could play on either side of the ball at a high level. Despite living out west, he seems determined to play somewhere in the southeast. However, Washington may have some disciplinary issues, having been ejected from games in each of the last two seasons.
- RB Jase McClellan (Aledo, TX) 5-10.5 / 202 - I’m not sure how serious this 4-star Oklahoma commit is about flipping, but at No. 38 he is worth hosting.
- WR Arian Smith (Lakeland, FL) 6-1 / 170 - 4-star No. 72. Bama is hoping to take at least one more wide receiver, perhaps two if it is the right person. Bama, UGA and Fla are the leaders.
- DL Zykeivous Walker (Ellaville, GA) 6-4 / 260 - 4-star No. 156. Bama, Aub, Fla, UGA
- DB/WR Joel Williams, (Baton Rouge, LA) 4-star No. 301. Bama is probably looking at Williams as a CB. This visit is not completely concrete as of yet.
It is believed that somewhere around 60 uncommitted prospects from 2020 and 2021, plus a few from 2022 and 2023, will be at the game on unofficial visits (UV) - meaning they pay their own way but get a pass to the game. Among the highlights of UVs are the following from the Class of 2020:
- 5-star No. 9 overall RB Zach Evans is understandably a top target of the Crimson Tide staff. He has stated that he will be back to T-town this weekend. If he does show, it is a big indicator of where the Tide stands.
- 4-star OLB Phillip Webb Lanier, GA - It’s looking like an Alabama-Auburn battle for the No. 37 recruit.
- 4-star DT McKinnley Jackson (Lucedale, MS) - High priority for Alabama. May need to pry him away from basket case Ole Miss. [I cannot understand the allure of OM and MSU to these Mississippi guys in the state those two programs are in. For Jackson, Tuscaloosa is a full 90 minutes closer to his hometown than Oxford.]
- 4-star WkDE Reggie Grimes (Brentwood, TN) is the son or Reggie Grimes Sr. who played defensive line for the Tide in the late 1990s. This No. 49 overall prospect has already had an OV to T-town (as well as ones to Tenn, Vandy and SC), so a return visit is big.
- 4-star juco CB Nadab Joseph, is dealing with a knee injury and may not be able to travel. Regardless, he is an attractive yet academically problematic prospect. The Miami native was homeschooled early in his high school career and also had to transfer several times. Joseph originally committed to LSU in mid-2017 but decommitted and looked on track to sign with Alabama, committing in early December 2017. However, there were concerns he could not academically qualify. He kinda sorta but not really “flipped” to Georgia during the Early Signing Period and they signed him. Guess what. He didn’t qualify at UGA either and the Bulldogs wasted a signee slot. Fast forward two years later and it’s the same old story. Alabama is still the favorite over the Dawgs but again there are academic concerns. Joseph is one of the highest ranked juco DBs in years and would be a take if UA can clear him.
- 4-star CB Ethan Pouncey (Winter Park, FL) - recent decommit from the Texas Longhorns has been rocketing up the player rankings.
- 5-star LSU commit WR Rakim Jarrett had his OV to Tuscaloosa for the Arkansas game. He wanted to return this weekend but has a playoff game. It may just be me but I have a good feeling about Jarrett. Fellow LSU wide receiver commit Kayshon Boutte is expected back in Tuscaloosa, but color me skeptical on him.
- 4-star WR Dazalin Worsham, (Trussville, AL) - possible blueshirt or greyshirt.
- 3-star OG Xavier Hill (Olive Branch, MS) - possible greyshirt.
- 3-star OT Brady Ward (Mobile, AL) - possible blueshirt or greyshirt.
Among the 2021 UVs, will be a few 5-stars:
- S James Williams (Opa Locka, FL) No. 4
- OT Amarius Mims (Cochran, GA) No. 12
- WR Agiye Hall (Seffner, FL) No. 15
- WkDE Dylan Brooks (Roanoke, AL) No. 18
- CB Ga’Quincy McKinstry (Pinson, AL) No. 20
- APB Will Shipley (Matthews, NC) No. 21
- SDE Tunmise Adeleye (Katy, TX) No. 25
- DT Lee Hunter (Eight Mile, AL) No. 27
Almost all of the 23 players committed for the Class of 2020 are planning to be in town including 5-star QB Bryce Young who is flying in for southern California. Not only is it good to have return trips from the committed to further secre their pledges, but they also help with recruiting. In addition, it is also advantageous in getting these new additions to build some camaraderie with their future teammates.
LB Drew Sanders (Denton, TX) is probably the only commit who will not be able to make it. As you may know, unofficial visits cannot be funded by the host school. That means they are on their own for travel, food, and a bed/sofa/floor to sleep on. Admission to the game is the only thing the university can comp.
[BTW, if you live in Tuscaloosa, put your place on airbnb and shack up with someone else and you will make some serious moola this weekend.]
Basketball will also be heavy on recruiting this weekend. One official visitor is 2021 5-star Jabari Smith from Tyrone, GA. This 6-8 / 190 lbs power forward is rated the number 5 player in the nation among juniors.
On Tuesday, November 19, high 4-star point guard Daeshun Ruffin (Jackson, MS), No. 26 in the 2021 class, is scheduled to be on OV as the Tide takes on Furman.