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National Signing Day Primer: Shhhhh

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Alabama targets keep tight-lipped about their intentions.

Shhhh

“The thing about secrets is that they are usually best kept by just one person. That was the special thing about secrets. Some people seemed to think that the best way to keep a secret was to tell as many people as possible; what could possibly go wrong for a secret when there were so many people defending it?”
~ Terry Pratchett, Dodger

Wednesday, February 3 is National Signing Day. While much of the mystery of the 2021 Alabama recruiting class was dispelled during the Early Signing Period, there is a bounty of intrigue still left to unfold. Four Crimson Tide targets have yet to sign their letters of intent and it’s anyone’s guess what will happen.

Once these four prospects land at the campuses of their choices, it would be advisable that they all major in criminal justice with an eye towards a future in the CIA, because these cats can keep a secret. These poor schmucks who consider covering crootin’ as their job are downright flabbergasted at the lack of information coming out of the camps, and contradict each other on a daily hourly basis. Alabama will not land all four. They may get two, one, or none. No one is talking.

THE SILENT FOUR

  • J.T. Tuimoloau SDE Sammamish, WA - Ohio State, Alabama, Oregon, UW - The latest buzz is that the nation’s #3 prospect will wait to announce until after he has had a chance to visit Tuscaloosa and Columbus. This is good news for Alabama in that 1) he is not a “silent commit” to anOSU as many had suspected; and 2) it means he is not showboating but REALLY thinking about it. J.T. has been to T-town but that was back in 2018 when Tosh Lupoi was recruiting him. He has never been to Ohio’s capital city. Flights from Seattle are not cheap. If he is waiting for the Dead Period to lift (now extended to April 15) so he can take official visits, he might be in for a long wait since the NCAA could easily push the date again. Regardless, nobody is expecting an announcement on NSD.
  • Terrion Arnold S Tallahassee, FL - UGA, Alabama, Florida - The favorite for this 4-star safety is just as nebulous. One day it’s the Gators. The next it the Bulldogs. And then it’s Bama. Rinse. Repeat. The truth is nobody knows. Arnold is the one recruit I feel the Tide really needs roster-wise. The others are gravy. He is scheduled to announce on NSD at 3:00 pm CT on ESPN.
  • Brian Thomas WR Walker, LA - LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, UGA - Another tight-lipped recruit in this 4-star is expected to announce his decision on NSD with time TBA. Some experts believe that LSU might be the favorite. A few observers have pointed out that Alabama already has four wide receivers signed. However, so does LSU. Georgia has two signed but signed five last year. TAMU has signed two but are also top-heavy in freshmen and sophs, and has no clear-cut heir to Kellen Mond at quarterback. The last time Alabama was recruiting a shy quiet wide receiver from a small Louisiana town, he ended up winning the Heisman Trophy.
  • Camar Wheaton RB Garland, TX - Two days before Christmas, Alabama got an early gift in the commitment of the nation’s top-rated running back. To say his announcement was a surprise to everyone might be an understatement. However, there is some concern outside the Mal Moore building about whether he will follow through and sign with the Crimson Tide on Wednesday. There are no indications that he will flip but he surprised the world once before. So, never say never until pen hits paper. The previous favorite for his signature, Oklahoma, got the news last week that former Tennessee running back Eric Gray would be joining the Sooners with potentially three season to play. OU is reportedly still recruiting Wheaton but Gray’s decision does not help their cause. Texas and Texas A&M appear to be putting all their efforts into landing LJ Johnson. Both of those schools signed one running back during the ESP. Alabama has no other back in their class.

MYSTERY RECRUIT

It doesn’t look like Alabama will get any surprise commits this year. It’s not for wont of looking. It’s just that there simply is no room. The Tide will already be pushing things just to get any of the above recruits.

NATION’S TOP UNCOMMITTED PROSPECTS

  • #3 DE J.T. Tuimoloau (Sammamish, WA) - dropped one spot in the 247sports Composite overall rankings; see details on his recruitment above.
  • #44 RB LJ Johnson (Cypress, TX) - see above
  • #48 OLB Raesjon Davis (Santa Ana, CA) - LSU decommit; Southern Cal is now the favorite; no offer from Bama.
  • #59 DT Tywone Malone (Oradell, NJ) - Ole Miss favored over TAMU.
  • #86 WR Brian Thomas (Walker, LA) - see above
  • #104 S Terrion Arnold (Tallahassee, FL) - see above
  • #112 WR Destyn Hill (Edna Karr HS, New Orleans, LA) - Bama was interested at one time, but got the #2, 5, 6, an 9 WRs instead. I have a hunch he may be waiting around to see if Brian Thomas does NOT pick LSU, so he can take his place. Otherwise, the “experts” think he goes to FSU.

A HISTORIC CLASS

Depending on the results of Wednesday, this Alabama Class of 2021 will break the record as the highest rated class since such things have been measured.

WHAT TO WATCH

  • Auburn is on the cusp of an absolutely dreadful NSD. Their class is currently ranked #38 in the nation. A few of their top targets have been suddenly trending to other schools such as UNC, Kentucky, and Michigan State. We’re talking football here, not basketball. Look for the Tigers to sign some 3-stars on Wednesday, but not much else.
  • Lane Kiffin might be on the verge of flipping a Tennessee commit, 3-star WR/TE Roc Taylor (Oxford, AL).
  • Speaking of Tennessee, they have a decent class (#15) with 20 signed, nine of which are 4-stars. Of course, those guys all signed in December while the Happy Meal train was still rolling.

2022 (2024?)

The Tide got a Tweet commitment on Monday from little known SDE Walter Bob out of Lafayette, LA. He doesn’t even have a rating on 247sports or Rivals but could be an under-the-radar project for the future. Sources say he is not expected to qualify and Bama will find him a juco with an eye towards a future signing. Check back in a year.

His highlight reel is pretty impressive:


High 4-star QB Ty Simpson is expected to announce his decision on Feb. 19. The 2022 prospect is the son of longtime UT-Martin head coach Jason Simpson. New Bama assistant Jay Graham was on his UTM staff back in 2007 if that counts for anything.

ROLL TIDE

#NSD21