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Alabama Football Recruiting Update: DEFENSE

Early Signing Day is two weeks away.

NCAA Football: Auburn at Alabama
Jaheim Oatis (91) and James Smith (47) will be back on defense, but many other will be heading to the NFL.
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, we covered the OFFENSE. Today, it’s the DEFENSE.


Currently, Alabama has 20 commitments:

  • 5-star QB Julian Sayin 6’1”/ 195 Carlsbad, CA EE
  • 5-star CB Jaylen Mbakwe 5’11”/ 178 Pinson, AL EE
  • 4-star CB Zabien Brown 6’1”/ 180 Santa Ana, CA EE
  • 4-star TE Caleb Odom 6’5”/ 215 Carrolton, GA EE
  • 4-star DE Jeremiah Beaman 6’4”/ 260 Birmingham, AL EE
  • 4-star WR/ATH Amari Jefferson 6’1”/ 190 Chattanooga, TN
  • 4-star IOL Casey Poe 6’5”/ 290 Lindale, TX EE
  • 4-star S Peyton Woodyard 6’2”/ 188 Bellflower, CA EE
  • 4-star WR/DB Jameer Grimsley 6’3”/ 185 Tampa, FL EE
  • 4-star LB Sterling Dixon 6’3”/ 211 Spanish Fort, AL EE
  • 4-star WR Rico Scott 6’0”/ 180 Harrisburg, PA
  • 4-star LB Cayden Jones 6’4”/ 220 Arden, NC EE
  • 4-star S Rydarrius “Red” Morgan 6’0”/ 175 Phenix City, AL EE
  • 4-star IOL William Sanders 6’3”/ 295 Brookwood, AL EE
  • 3-star LB Justin Okoronkwo 6’3”/ 205 Furstenfeldbruck, Germany EE
  • 3-star IOL Joseph Ionata 6’4”/ 290 Clearwater, FL EE
  • 3-star DT Isaia Faga 6’2”/ 275 Phenix City, AL EE
  • 3-star TE Jay Lindsey 6’5”/ 235 Butler, AL
  • 3-star DB Dre Kirkpatrick Jr. 6’0”/ 186 Gadsden, AL EE
  • 3-star LB Quinton Reese 6’0”/ 215 Birmingham, AL

EE = Early Enrollees



Jeremiah Beaman has shut down his recruitment. Isaia Faga grew up in Las Vegas but his family moved to Phenix City a few years ago when his dad was sent to serve at Fort Benning. Faga originally committed to Utah where an uncle was an assistant coach but flipped to Alabama in June.

The Tide should add around two more DL to this class but it could be more. Steve Mboumoua from Quebec City, Canada is a strong possibility. Originally from Cameroon where everyone plays soccer, he picked up a football after his family immigrated to Canada when he was 12. Mboumoua is taking an official visit to T-town this weekend and I’m going to predict a commitment to Bama soon after. [If he signs with UA, I’ll tell you how to pronounce his last name. Wink emoticon]

Alabama is looking at several flip targets but will need to get them to officially visit. With Jimbo Fisher shuttled off to some tropical island, TAMU commit Dealyn Evans is coming in for an Official Visit this weekend. Ole Miss commit William Echoles is another possible flip. Also keep an eye on Oklahoma commitment David Stone, a five-star DL from IMG. He is from Oklahoma City so it might be a difficult pull.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Nick Saban dip his fishing pole into the TP pool for some help on the defensive line.


Alabama has four linebackers committed. While many schools were trying to flip Sterling Dixon. Instead, he is expected to be in Tuscaloosa for bowl practices later this month. Justin Okoronkwo is an outstanding prospect from Germany with good size and exceptional speed. He will take some time to acclimate to big boy football but the sky is the limit. Look out for him on special teams next year. Cayden Jones comes in that DB/LB hybrid mold. I’m not sure what to think about Quinton Reese (he said as diplomatically as possible). He got an offer after his performance at an Alabama summer camp.

Bama is looking hard at Solomon Williams from Tampa and Jayshawn Ross of Kansas City, Mo. Hoover’s Bradley Shaw is also a possibility, as is Mizzou commit Elias Williams who OV’d Tuscaloosa on Nov 3 for the LSU game.

There probably is no fixed number on how many linebackers Alabama will take.


Jaylen Mbakwe, is a dang football player. He excels at quarterback and receiver for Clay-Chalkville but cornerback is his future once he packs on a few more pounds. He is also a track star having recorded several official sub-11 second times in the 100 meters. Zabien Brown projects as a corner. The Tide have flipped two safeties in Peyton Woodyard from UGA and Red Morgan from Florida State. Jameer Grimsley is a two-way player but defense is his likely landing place. And of course Dre Kirkpatrick Jr. has us all feeling old.

That is already a really good group, but Saban wants more. Jaylen Key is out of eligibility. Terrion Arnold and Kool-Aid both likely go pro. Malachi Moore is 50-50. There will be some holes to fill. DB Zavier “Zay” Mincey of Daytona Beach is a major target. He took an OV to Bama on October 20 for TSIO - his first OV since June. Again, we may see some action from the portal.

[No specialists are expected to be added.]


  • Transfer Portal opened December 4.
  • Early Signing Period starts December 20.
  • Early Signing Period ends December 22.
  • Transfer Portal closes January 2.