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UPDATED: Alabama Recruiting: Junior Day Supersedes National Signing Day

The Crimson Tide has moved onto the class of 2023.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 CFP Semifinal - Goodyear Cotton Bowl - Cincinnati v Alabama
Where you lead, I will follow.
Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With only eight days until “National Signing Day” (with intentional quote marks), it’s oh so quiet for the Class of 2022. Any 5-star holdouts looking to put on a show on Feb. 2, won’t be joining the Crimson Tide this year.

Nick Saban pretty much wrapped up the 2022 class in December. Aside from tight end Jaleel Skinner bugging out for Miami, everything went as planned. A reaction to that defection was 3-star tight end Danny Lewis earning an Alabama offer and having an Official Visit to Tuscaloosa last weekend. The Louisianan doesn’t like to do interviews and is more on the quiet side, which makes it hard to know which way he is leaning. He will OV Florida this weekend. Gators coach Billy Napier may have an advantage since he has a previous relationship with him from recruiting him to UL-Laffy. Lewis should decide between those Alabama, Florida, and LSU.


This weekend will be the traditional first Junior Day. It is a day in which Alabama hosts Class of 2023 athletes as well as a few from 2024 and maybe 2025. Unlike previous years, this Junior Day will have a different look. In yet another innovative move, Saban had what could be termed an unofficial Junior Day last weekend with more of a local flavor that was basically all in-state prospects. It would have to be assumed that this was fully intentional for this weekend is well-seasoned with out-of-state recruits.

Previous Junior Days had gotten WAY too big with over 100 recruits coming through - a number too large for Saban and his staff to spend quality time with the players and their parents and coaches. It is said that it felt like a cattle call of prospects being corralled into Saban’s office for a photo op and then shuffled out the door. Imagine a recruit coming in. He probably has his parents, maybe a high school coach, perhaps a sibling or two, and occasionally a teammate/BFF who has no shot at an offer. Now multiply that by 100. You can see how the crowds can cause chaos. It is believed the number may be down closer to the 25-40 range this year.

For the record, these are unofficial visits with no freebies. It is more of a chance to meet and greet and tour the facilities. Below is a highlight list of who is believed to be visiting this weekend. More will be added as the week progresses.

  • Malik Bryant, 5-star EDGE, Orlando, FL #21 overall
  • Keon Keeley, 5-star EDGE, Tampa, FL (Notre Dame commit) #22 overall
  • Shelton Sampson, 5-star WR, Baton Rouge, LA #35 overall
  • Joenel Aguero, 4-star S, Lynn, Massachusetts #45 overall
  • Ryan Niblett, 4-star ATH, Houston, TX Aldine #108 overall - UPDATE 1/26: had to cancel. He has rescheduled his visit to Alabama for March 5.
  • Miles McVay, 4-star OT, East St. Louis, IL #135 overall
  • Elliot Washington, 4-star S, Venice, FL #194 overall
  • Clay Wedin, 4-star OT, Tampa, FL #236 overall

NEW 1/25:

  • Makari Vickers, 4-star CB, Tallahassee, FL #77 overall
  • Devin Hyatt, 4-star WR, Irmo, SC (currently at IMG) #174 overall - brother Jalin plays for Tennessee.

NEW 1/26:

  • Vysen Lang, 4-star OT, Pike Road, AL (East of Montgomery)
  • Debron Gatling, 4-star WR, Milton, GA - Class of 2024
  • Jordan Castell, 3-star S, Winter Garden, FL

NEW 1/27:

  • Jahlil Hurley, 5-star cornerback, Florence, AL #24 overall
  • Hevin Brown-Shuler, 4-star defensive line, Atlanta - Class of 2024
  • Ronnie Royal, 4-star quarterback, Gulf Shores, AL - Class of 2024
  • DJ Lagway, 4-star quarterback, Willis, TX - Class of 2024
  • Josh Flowers, quarterback, Mobile (Baker) - Class of 2024

NEW 1/28:

  • Richard Young, 5-star running back, Lehigh Acres, FL #16 overall - Saban visited him recently.
  • Gernorris Wilson, offensive tackle, Lakeland, FL
  • Wardell Mack, cornerback, Marrero, LA - Class of 2024

** 2022 Florida commit Jalen Farmer (6’5”/330) will officially visit Tuscaloosa this weekend. He is a three-star offensive guard from Eastside High School in Covington, GA. He has already taken official visits to Auburn, Florida and Kentucky.


Some of these young croots have not gotten the memo that December is the time to sign. Saban set the precedence, Kirby and Jimbo copy it, and then the rest of the country jumps on board. Of the top 200 recruits according to 247sports, only nine are still publicly uncommitted.

The #4 overall ranked prospect Harold Perkins made a surprise decommit from Texas A&M this week. One would assume he has a plan, but it likely does not involve Alabama. The Tide did not push too hard for a commitment. Plus, they are pretty stacked at linebacker. My guess is Perkins wasn’t getting the love he thought he deserved. I predict he’ll land back with the Aggs.


Is Alabama done with the Transfer Portal? Probably not. Depending on what happens with Danny Lewis, the Crimson Tide could look to add a tight end. I speculated last week that Southern Cal’s Michael Trigg is leaving L.A. after one season and could be a candidate for a transfer to Alabama. However the more I thought about it, Saban has very rarely (if ever) taken a transfer who was not coming as a rising junior or senior. Off the top of my head I can think of Jacob Coker, Richard Mullaney, Gehrig Dieter, Landon Dickerson, Carl Tucker, Henry To’o To’o, Jameson Williams, Eli Ricks, Jahmyr Gibbs, and Jermaine Burton. All of these transfers had at least two years of on-field competition under their belts.

Speaking of Williams and To’o To’o, they did not join the Tide until May of last year. After the conclusion of spring football, we should see some more players jumping in the portal across the nation and things could change in a hurry.


The original plan was for Alabama tight end signee Amari Niblack to enroll in January. However, it turned out that he was short on credits to graduate early. There are no academic concerns. He will definitely join the team in May.


Will you follow NSD on Feb. 2?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    No thanks.
    (117 votes)
  • 10%
    Only to see what Danny Lewis does.
    (43 votes)
  • 25%
    I may look in to see what Bama’s rivals are doing.
    (105 votes)
  • 36%
    Yes, I am still a crootin junky.
    (151 votes)
416 votes total Vote Now