I AM SEEING STARS!
National Signing Day is one week from Wednesday and the Alabama Class of 2017 is looking like one of historical proportions. Already, the Crimson Tide has nine commitments who have at least one of the four recruiting services handing out a 5-star rating. Three of them are unanimous 5-stars: Alex Leatherwood, Najee Harris, and Dylan Moses. Rivals has seven Tide commits with 5-stars. Tua Tagovailoa picked up a fifth star this week from 247 and their composite ranking as well.
BRENT & CB PREDICTIONS
Despite a full class, Alabama is still in full Crootin' Mode and so are we. Below are some prospects who may still be on the Bama big board and our predictions.
|Aubrey Solomon||DT||Leesburg, GA||5||Michigan||UGA||IMHO Solomon is just playing games so that he can whip out a UGA hat on NSD and make everyone gasp.|
|LaBryan Ray||DE||Madison, AL||5||Alabama||Alabama||Looking good.|
|Jarez Parks||DE||Sebastian, FL||4||Florida||Florida||Not enough room.|
|Phidarian Mathis||DT||Monroe, LA||4||LSU||LSU||A Plan B if for some unlikely reason Ray goes elsewhere?|
|Devonta Smith||WR||Amite. LA||4/5||Alabama||Alabama||Not afraid to leave the boot-shaped state. De-committed from Georgia last January.*|
|Henry Ruggs||WR||Montgomery, AL||4/5||Alabama||Alabama||Bonded with Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa at the US Army All-American Game.*|
|Nico Collins||WR||Pinson, AL||4||UGA||UGA||No room.|
|Todd Harris||S||Plaquemine, LA||4||TCU||LSU||If it wasn't for Houston Nutt, Harris would be on Bama. However, the numbers won't work out.|
|Christopher Henderson||CB||Miami, FL||4||Florida||Alabama||He is a former Miami commit and the Canes are recruiting him HARD.|
|Tariq Castro-Fields||CB||Upper Marlboro, MD||4||Penn State||Penn State||Despite an OV this past weekend, Bama isn't really all that interested in him anymore.|
|Devon Hunter||S||Chesapeake, VA||4||Va Tech||Va Tech||Bama did not really fight for him but Auburn did (LOL). Committed to Va Tech on Friday.**|
* Brent: "I don’t really think we get BOTH Ruggs and Smith, but I can’t see which other team either of them might go to."
** Although Hunter already committed, predictions were made pre-posting. You'll just have to take our word on that. Please contact Todd regarding refunds.
The Crimson Tide concluded their last really big recruiting weekend on Sunday. While nobody made a commitment, there was one unsurprising decommitment. With that move, Alabama has 24 players committed, twelve of whom have enrolled.
By my unscientific count, Alabama has 60 scholarshipped players on the roster. I came at this number by subtracting 14 seniors, three early entries into the NFL (Cam Robinson, ArDarius Stewart, Marlon Humphrey), and three transferring out (Derrick Gore, David Cornwell, Cooper Bateman). Also, assume that the scholarship statuses of walk-ons Jamey Mosley and Levi Wallace are TBD. Andy Pappanastos is a walk-on as well.
If this number is true, Alabama has 25 openings. However, as is the usual case, there will likely be some more attrition in the form of transfers in the very near future. While I will not speculate at who that may be, feel free to do so yourselves in the comments section below.
Can Alabama sign more than 25?
That is the big question. The short answer is "yes". The semi-long answer is that early enrollees do not count against the 25 limit. If there is room left over from the previous recruiting class - for instance, if a school had two spots remaining by virtue of taking 23 and not 25 in a previous year as Bama did last year - they could sign more. You may recall Kendell "The Hulk" Jones never enrolled at Alabama. The way I interpret the rules is that since Charles Baldwin left early on in the process and ended up on the Kansas Jayhawks' 2016 roster, he does not count against the Tide either. Two years ago, the Tide had the Desherrius Flowers snafu and the Jonathan Taylor disaster, ending up with 23 signees for that fall as well. However, it is unclear how far back a team can "back-count".
Any More Decommitments?
IMHO, there are three possibilities:
- Questions regarding Akial Byers' academic issues have been swirling for several months. In addition, he did not fare too well at the Under Armour All-America Game and practices earlier this month. Don't be surprised if he ends up somewhere else. [UPDATE: Nick Saban and Billy Napier visited him on Monday.]
- I am not sure why Alabama hangs onto 3-star Kedrick James. This class already has a tight end commitment in 4-star Major Tennison (who I see getting playing time in 2017) and three others on the roster (Hale Hentges, Miller Forristall, Irv Smith). James will surely redshirt if he ends up in Tuscaloosa. [UPDATE: Saban was at La Vega HS Monday to see James. That is a pretty good sign he ends up in this class.]
- In the summer of 2011, Alabama got a commitment from 3-star OL Bradley Bozeman who wanted nothing more than to play for the Crimson Tide. He stayed steadfastly committed to the Tide for a year and a half despite overtures from other P5 programs. As signing day neared, Alabama got late interest from a Texas 5-star commit by the name of A'Shawn Robinson. To make room for him, the Bama staff asked Bozeman if he would be open to the possibility of a greyshirt. He agreed but in the end, somebody bugged out and Bozeman was put on full scholly that fall. Fast forward four years and Bozeman is a starter and we have a possibility of the same scenario in Hunter Brannon. The 3-star center was supposed to be an early enrollee but has been rumored to be asked to greyshirt. The Cullman native wants so badly to play for Bama. He is a nephew of former Tide players Wesley, Taylor and Justin Britt. He took an unofficial visit to T-town this past weekend and had a talk with Nick Saban. We'll see if he sticks it out or if he goes somewhere like FAU! He knows Lane Kiffin very well, and the Owls just graduated their starting center.
The 4-star Bama OLB commit has been getting some of that heauxmetown pressure to stay in Baton Rouge and play for LSU. Allen took an OV to the Capstone this past weekend. Despite the chatter, he should stay Crimson.
Remember Gary Johnson? The Birmingham, AL juco ILB had been committed to the Tide but had to decommit due to "academic requirements in the SEC that are different than other conferences." He committed to Texas over this past weekend. If only the Longhorns had higher academic requirements...