On the first day of the (Early?) National Signing Period, Alabama had pretty much everything go its way. Everyone expected to sign, signed. Plus the Tide picked up two fairly high-profile flips from other programs and another signee. For our coverage from yesterday, here was CB’s article and the open thread:
The only real negative of the day was 5-star DL Eddrick Houston sticking with his commitment to Ohio State. There was some talk that he might flip to Alabama at the last minute, but that never happened. Even so, the Tide still got enough of a boost that they passed OSU for the #2 overall recruiting class by 247Sports, On3, and ESPN (Rivals has the Tide 3rd, with Texas at #2).
The biggest news for Alabama fans were the flips of Kevin Riley and Aeryn Hampton. Riley is a top-5 running back from Northport, AL, who had been committed to Miami since last summer. Recent rumors had led to many projecting the flip to happen, to it wasn’t TOO much of a surprise, but it was a still a big addition to a class that didn’t have a single running back.
Then there is Hampton.
He’s one of the most intriguing prospects in this class and had a bit of a crazy recruitment over the years. He was originally a Baylor commit for about a month back in 2021, then he committed and decommitted from Texas in 2022, recommitted to the Longhorns last summer, and has now signed with Alabama on NSD. Who even knows whether he’ll play offense or defense, but direct from Coach Nick Saban’s press confernce, he has that ever elusive “Dawg”.
Saban on Aeryn "Bubba" Hampton, who flipped from Texas to Alabama: "He's kind of a dawg, man. He's one of those guys that's a great competitor, makes a lot of plays."— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) December 20, 2023
The third addition of the day was defensive lineman Steve Mboumoua. It’s since come out that the Canadian had actually been committed to Alabama since the South Florida game, but had managed to keep it quiet all this time.
As far as the days leading up to National Signing Day, the Tide also picked up a commitment from edge rusher Jayshawn Ross a couple of day ago, plus picked up Texas A&M’s L.T. Overton from the transfer portal. Overton was a 5-star prospect that, despite being 280 pounds, the Aggies were determined to play him at linebacker rather than defensive line.
If you’re interested, here’s Saban’s press conference:
Saban again emphasized liking to have “mid-year” guys as it gets them on the team and practicing earlier. I emphasized that in quotes because I thought the terminology was interesting and reflects the changing of times. Not long ago, these were called “early enrollees”, and there were usually on a few in each class. Now, it’s been opened up with loosening roster restrictions, and nearly the entire class is enrolling at Alabama in December/January. It’s just a Mid-Year guy now, rather than an Early Enrollee— just like December is no longer the “Early Signing Period”, it’s just become the National Signing Day.
Now, there are two guys that did not sign with Alabama just yet - both expected. Quinton Reese is a 3-star linebacker from Birmingham who may or may not have an actual scholarship offer. It’s also been said he may be a grayshirt guy. Then there’s the biggest name in the class, Ryan Williams. The 5-star receiver and top ten prospect is expected to sign on his birthday in February, so the internet rumors and battling over him are going to get really ugly the next couple of months. As of now, though, there has been no indication that he is anything but firmly committed to the Tide.
As far as a roster outlook Alabama still looks a little light with pure tackle players along the offensive line, and I think they would be happy to add another RB or maybe a defensive back if the right player came about. At OT in particular, don’t be surprised if Saban makes a push into the portal for a guy there.
For the other two, there are still two uncommitted prospects who are likely high targets for the Tide:
Zay Mincey is a tall, rangy cornerback who could be safety in college. Most have thought he’d be a Florida guy, or maybe Miami, but rumors have been pointing more and more toward Alabama here.
Daniel Hill is a personal favorite of mine as a 230-lb running back out of Meridian, MS, who might develop into a TE... Or just be a huge running back. No one’s really been able to read on him. South Carolina and Mississippi State seem to be locked in with Alabama in a 3-way tie right now.
Both Mincey and Hill are expected to sign this week but not announce until the All-American game on January 6th.
Ultimately, this class seems pretty well complete at this point with a little bit of open space to add a player or two in the January-February time frame. It’s highly unlikely the Tide could pass Georgia for the #1 overall class, but they should hang on to #2 as long as Ryan Williams sticks with the commitment.