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Alabama Crimson Tide Recruiting: Looking Ahead to National Signing Day

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Nick Saban is not yet done with the Bama 2020 class.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: OCT 25 Mater Dei at St. John Bosco
Quarterback Bryce Young.
Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2020 Early Signing Period ends on Friday night. The Crimson Tide collected 22 signatures putting together an excellent class. It is no hyperbole to say this one is up there with some of the greats. Not only did Alabama sign a group of fantastic football players, each of whom is considered to be of high character, but they did so while addressing positions of need. I haven’t closely examined that orange school with a lake in South Carolina, but it seems to me they were just going after the highest ranked guys. We’ll see how that works out in the coming years.

TEAM RANKINGS:

According to 247sports composite rankings, Alabama finished this first signing session with the second best class as a team which includes those who are unsigned but committed. Of course the final rankings are still a few months away.

1 - Clemson

2 - ALABAMA

3 - Ohio State

4 - Georgia

5 - LSU

6 - Texas A&M

7 - Auburn

8 - Florida

9 - Texas

10 - Oklahoma

11 - Notre Dame

12 - Michigan

13 - Penn State

14 - Washington

15 - Tennessee

16 - Oregon

17 - South Carolina

18 - Miami

19 - North Carolina

20 - Nebraska

21 - Florida State

22 - Stanford

23 - Kentucky

24 - Georgia Tech

25 - Mississippi State

32 - Minnesota

35 - Arizona State

36 - Utah

39 - Ole Miss

43 - Michigan State

47 - Kansas

51 - Vanderbilt

52 - Baylor

58 - Arkansas

72 - Troy

75 - Appalachian State

76 - Memphis

77 - SMU

79 - Southern Cal - !!!!

80 - ULL

81 - Missouri

99 - South Alabama

106 - UAB

116 - FAU!

BAMA CROOTIN MVPs

  • Karl Scott get big ups for his crootin’ game. He is credited for flipping two DFW-area commits from the Oklahoma Sooners in 5-star LB Drew Sanders and high 4-star RB Jase McClellan. The Tide cornerbacks coach was also the primary recruiter on S Malachi Moore, OLB Quandarrius Robinson, and CB Ronald Williams. He was secondary recruiter on S Brian Branch, S/QB Kristian Story, RB Roydell Williams and CB Jahquez Robinson.
  • Sal Sunseri is the Mariano Rivera of crootin’. Not only did he lasso crucial commitments from 4/5-star LB Demouy Kennedy and high 4-star DT Tim Smith, but he beat down the hordes trying to poach them. He also secured the signatures of 5-star DE/OLB Chris Braswell from the DMV area. Sal was secondary recruiter on Will Anderson and Quandarrius Robinson.

WHAT NOW?

Nick Saban made some interesting remarks during his Wednesday press conference. Brent quoted this yesterday in his ESP recap but it bears repeating.

“We have several more guys that will either sign later or have already signed but have not released it yet, and we have agreed not to release it for them. So, those guys, we really can’t talk about.”

The fact that Saban said “several” instead of “a few” is quite intriguing. At the time, the Tide had 20 signatures - a number he revealed during the presser. The Crimson Tide only added two more afterwards, both of whom are believed to have sent in their LOI earlier in the day. Maybe it was just his phrasing or grasping for vague synonyms on the fly that don’t give up too much information, but “several” to my ears sound like much more than two. Is it possible, Alabama has secured the signatures of others?

COMMITTED BUT UNSIGNED:

  • Javon Baker WR (Powder Springs, GA) 6’1”/183 - Reliable speculation has it that this 4-star needs to get his academics in order and the news sounds optimistic. He is definitely a guy you want on your team. He is a baller.
  • Jamil Burroughs DT (Powder Springs, GA) 6’3”/320 - The Cobb County School Superintendent might want to have a word the McEachern principal and head football coach because Baker’s teammate Burroughs is having the same academic issues. This former UGA commit had 48 tackles, 12 for losses and 9.5 sacks as a senior. Those are outstanding numbers for an interior lineman playing in the state of Georgia’s highest high school classification.
  • Jayson Jones DT (Calera, AL) 6’5”/322 - Jones is believed by some to be a blueshirt candidate (enroll in fall, count toward the next class and not play Year 1), but it is unclear to what level he has been recruited since these types of prospects are supposed to be “unrecruited”. Jones is a bit of a project. He has potential to be a disruptive force but sometimes he doesn’t keep his motor going or react to action in front of him in a proper manner. There is talk that should Bama sign him, he could be better suited for the offensive line.
  • Damieon George OL (Houston, TX) 6’7”/345 - We knew all along this guy was a project. He has rare athleticism for his immense size but needs to hone his technique as well as check into Dr. Cochran’s clinic. George does not qualify for a blueshirt since he has had “arranged, in-person” visits by Bama coaches. It is still a little fuzzy as to why he did not sign or announce his signing on Wednesday. Possible greyshirt?

TARGETS FOR NSD:

  • Darnell Washington TE (Las Vegas, NV) 6’7.5”/261 - One of the biggest mysteries is where the nation’s No. 10 prospect will land. The 5-star has his heart set on playing in the SEC and it appears to be down to Alabama, UGA, Tennessee, and Florida. The Tide is recruiting him as a tight end and why wouldn’t you? He is 6-foot 7½ inches and runs a 4.75! The one thing that concerns me is that Washington also plays defense (and excels at that too). It is unclear where his heart lies on that front. For all we know, the coach with a bowl cut located four and a half hours due east of T-town is probably promising him he can play quarterback. FFPF has put down the donuts long enough to figure out who to fire so he can give Washington’s uncle a job. But is this one already over? Washington has sent out some cryptic Tweets teasing what he is up to. His intention is to announce January 2, during the Under Armour All-America Game on ESPN2, which could mean he has already signed as alluded to by Saban. More evidence can be found in JJ Pegues commitment to Auburn. Sources say that had Bama pressed for the 4-star, they would have gotten him. If true, maybe Alabama already had the guy they wanted. We’ll find out in two weeks.
  • McKinnley Jackson DT (Lucedale, MS) 6’2”/327 - This is a guy Alabama highly covets. He has a stout body that is ideal for playing the interior. He needs some college coaching-up but could be a real force with the right instruction. He OV’d Alabama way back in September and plans successive OVs to LSU, OM, and TAMU for the last three weekends in January. The Bama staff will have their hands full scrubbing those late visits out of his head, reminding him of the advantages of joining the Crimson Tide. Jackson’s hometown is roughly a three hour drive to either Baton Rouge or Tuscaloosa but four and a half to Oxford, and a long way to College Station. It’s hard to get a grasp on what Jackson is thinking but proximity to home (and Mobile) could be an asset.

OTHER TIGHT ENDS

  • While Darnell Washington’s plans are still under wraps, this class another needs tight end. Should things not work out with the 5-star, Bama will have to look elsewhere. One possibility is former Arkansas commitment Brandon Frazier from the DFW area (Insert MUMMY movie jokes here). Despite being rated 3-stars, he has offers from over two dozen Power-5 schools including Alabama, LSU and Auburn.
  • Beyond Frazier, the Tide will have to look to the transfer portal. Unfortunately, the pickings for immediately eligible tight ends are slim right about now. Stanford’s Scooter Harrington is about the only qualified candidate to date and he only has 9 receptions for 45 yards in three seasons.

NOT FEELING IT

  • Alfred Collins DE (Bastrop, TX) - This name has been bandied about but there is no real buzz.
  • Xzavier Henderson WR (Miami, FL) - Some of the crootin’ outlets list this 4-star as a possibility for Alabama but again I am not getting that vibe. He probably falls for the pizza party cult at AWAL.
  • Jahmyr Gibbs RB (Dalton, GA) - When Jase McClellan flipped to the Crimson Tide, that likely ended the flirtation with this Georgia Tech commit. An unfortunate side effect is that Alabama’s “discovery” of Gibbs opened up some other eyes. He will be OV-ing Florida and Ohio State in January. Hopefully, he sticks with the Yeller Jackets.
  • Nadab Joseph DB (Miami, FL) - Joseph had real promise coming out of high school as a 4-star and signed with UGA but did not qualify. After two years at a juco, Alabama was hot on his trail but he still has qualifying issues. The addition of Ronald Williams likely signifies that the Tide has moved on.

GRAD TRANSFERS

[Confession time. I copied this and pasted from a previous post. However, its relevancy is unchanged.]

Grad-transfers will likely factor in and fill in any holes the Tide may have. However, the UA staff will not investigate that option until after every letter-of-intent is finalized in February. There is not much use in speculating at this point but tight end may be a position of need. Grad-transfers do not count against the signing number but certainly count against the 85-man roster limit. We may see more than a few current Tide players queue up for the transfer portal or “retire” from football.