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Three Years Since The Pandemic: How Did Alabama Football Do In Non-Contact Recruiting?

As always, Nick Saban finds a way to adapt and evolve.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Allstate Sugar Bowl
Kool-Aid McKinstry is already an Alabama Crimson Tide all-time great.
Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

[WRITER’S NOTE: Piggybacking off of Brent Taylor’s Alabama Football Recruiting Bust Rates post from Tuesday, I though it might be interesting to “side-note” the current state of players who were recruited to Alabama during the pandemic. As Brent mentioned, the Classes of 2021 and 2022 still have a lot of TBDs. So, grain of salt and all that.]

It has been three years since the Captain Trips panic arrived and disrupted daily lives across the globe. The shut-downs started around mid-March of 2020. For college football recruiting, that meant no in-contact recruiting and no Official Visits by anyone. At that time, schools were recruiting for the Class of 2021.


For most of the recruits who committed in spring and early summer of 2020, it has to be assumed that most of the face-to-face recruiting had already been done by that point.

In the case of the Crimson Tide, they had one commit by March in likely 2023 starting middle linebacker Deontae Lawson.

The second commit was DL Anquin Barnes, who despite being a 4-star, is looking like he’ll not be seeing vital playing time anytime soon. The third was His Royal Bustness, Mega-Bustosaurus, Notorious B.U.S.T. Agiye Hall. All these prospects had visited Tuscaloosa and personally met with coaches in one form or another. It is hard to blame shut-downs on these signings.

May brought three new commitments. Starting WR Jacorey Brooks had unofficially visited Alabama for the 2019 TSIO. DB Kaine Williams, who left the team in 2022, had been on several unofficials to T-town. The same goes for LB Ian Jackson, who is currently buried in the depth chart.

June was another HIT-BUST-TBD month as the Tide received pledges from starting tackle JC Latham, WR Christian Leary, and DB Devonta Smith. And so it went. There is no real evidence that supports that this Class is/will be drastically different from other classes.

Moving down to December, Alabama got a pair of LSU flips from WR JoJo Earle and LB Keanu Koht. RB Camar Wheaton, OL Jaeden Roberts, and DB Terrion Arnold also committed. Earle and Wheaton have transferred out. Arnold was a Freshman All-American last season. Koht has played some special teams. Roberts has played a dozen or so snaps late in garbage time.

LB Deontae Lawson 5 29 12/27/19 Starter
DT Anquin Barnes 4 373 04/17/20 Depth
WR Agiye Hall 4 62 04/18/20 Gone
WR Jacorey Brooks 5 27 05/08/20 Starter
DB Kaine Williams 4 292 05/15/20 Gone
LB Ian Jackson 4 216 05/28/20 Depth
OL JC Latham 5 5 06/12/20 Starter
WR Christian Leary 4 127 06/16/20 Gone
DB Devonta Smith 4 154 06/29/20 Depth
LB Dallas Turner 5 12 07/01/20 Starter
DB Kadarius Calloway 4 175 07/08/20 Gone
LB Kendrick Blackshire 4 222 07/14/20 Depth
OL Tommy Brockermeyer 5 10 07/17/20 Gone
OL James Brockermeyer 4 300 07/17/20 Depth
OL Terrence Ferguson 4 83 07/19/20 Possible Starter
DT Damon Payne 5 39 07/26/20 Depth
DB Khyree Jackson 4 JUCO 3 08/15/20 Gone
DE Monkell Goodwine 4 123 08/15/20 Depth
QB Jalen Milroe 4 109 08/17/20 Possible Starter
DT Tim Keenan 3 599 08/29/20 Depth
TE Robbie Ouzts 3 689 09/08/20 Key Contributor
DB Kool-Aid McKinstry 5 13 10/25/20 Starter
WR JoJo Earle 4 79 12/16/20 Gone
DE Keanu Koht 4 61 12/16/20 Depth
RB Camar Wheaton 5 63 12/23/20 Gone
OL Jaeden Roberts 3 517 12/25/20 Depth
DB Terrion Arnold 5 26 02/03/21 Possible Starter
WR Jameson Williams 3** 05/03/21 Starter
LB Henry To'o To'o 4** 05/08/21 Starter
P Jack Martin 2** 05/17/21 Gone

*According to 247sports Composite Rankings.
**According to 247sports Transfer Rankings.

This recruiting cycle really was a mixed bag as everyone was learning how to negotiate the tough hands they were dealt. Some good gets, some bad, some to be determined. Conversely, Bama did pretty well in the Transfer Portal with WR Jameson Williams and LB Henry To’o To’o. [It was widely believed Jack Martin was not on fall scholarship.] Although the Tide coaches were well familiar with To’o To’o from his original recruitment out of high school, Williams was lesser known among the staff.


Restrictions lingered on into 2021 as staffs attempted to build the Class of 2022. On June 1, 2021, the 15 month recruiting Dead Period finally came to an end. Players were once again allowed to take Official Visits and have face to face contact with coaches. By this time, Alabama had four commits. TE Elijah Brown did not work out but QB Ty Simpson, WR Emmanuel Henderson, and DT Jaheim Oatis look like keepers.

TE Elijah Brown 4 241 02/12/21 Gone
QB Ty Simpson 5 29 02/26/21 Possible Starter
ATH Emmanuel Henderson 4 59 03/13/21 Depth
DT Jaheim Oatis 4 92 04/14/21 Starter
WR Amari Niblack 4 99 06/24/21 Depth
DB Antonio Kite 4 227 07/04/21 Depth
DE Jeremiah Alexander 5 50 07/08/21 Depth
OL Tyler Booker 4 60 07/16/21 Starter
LB Shawn Murphy 4 142 07/25/21 Rising
WR Kobe Prentice 4 89 07/27/21 Key Contributor
OL Dayne Shor 3 596 07/31/21 Gone
DB Jake Pope 3 327 08/16/21 Depth
OL Elijah Pritchett 5 31 09/28/21 Possible Starter
DB Trequon Fegans 4 105 10/18/21 Depth
WR Aaron Anderson 4 49 10/29/21 Gone
DT Isaiah Hastings 4 139 11/09/21 Depth
RB Jamarion Miller 4 79 11/25/21 Rising
WR Isaiah Bond 4 43 12/07/21 Possible Starter
LB Jihaad Campbell 5 16 12/15/21 Possible Starter
DE Khurtiss Perry 4 54 12/15/21 Depth
DB Earl Little 4 84 12/15/21 Possible Starter
WR Shazz Preston 4 120 12/15/21 Depth
ATH Kendrick Law 4 86 12/17/21 Possible Starter
TE Danny Lewis 3 554 02/02/22 Moving Up
TE Miles Kitselman 0 JUCO 05/05/22 Depth
DB Eli Ricks 5** 12/15/21 Key Contributor
RB Jahmyr Gibbs 5** 12/21/21 Starter
WR Jermaine Burton 4** 01/23/22 Starter
OL Tyler Steen 4** 04/12/22 Starter
WR Tyler Harrell 4** 04/22/22 Gone

*According to 247sports Composite Rankings.
**According to 247sports Transfer Rankings.

In summation, it appears it does not matter when a recruit commits or how he is recruited. All that matters is how he performs on the field. Imagine that.