Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. It’s Tuesday, and we’re talking the latest with an Alabama running back target announcing his commitment this Thursday.
Asa Martin committing this Friday
I visited Asa Martin at Austin High School (Decatur, Ala.) in April just days prior to him picking up an offer from the Crimson Tide when he visited for A-Day. He told me at the time that he didn’t think he would be a good fit in Alabama’s offense.
“I just don’t really know. … I just don’t think it really fits my style very much,” Martin told SEC Country in April. “The style of running back I am, I don’t really feel like I fit into that style of offense.
“I’m more like of an open-type, shotgun offense. Spread style.”
Those comments would favor Auburn’s offense. The No. 10 running back in the Class of 2018 per the 247Sports composite ratings is down to Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Florida. Most believe his decision will come down to the two in-state programs. He’ll announce his commitment this Thursday at 11 a.m. ET.
Martin has since backtracked on his comments on the Crimson Tide’s offense. He’s visited Tuscaloosa several times since April and has had numerous conversations with offensive coordinator Brian Daboll about how he plans on using Martin if he chose Alabama. Not only can Martin run between the tackles, but he can bounce it outside and catch the ball out of the backfield.
Austin High School coach Jeremy Perkins thinks Martin can fit in any offensive scheme.
“I think he has the skillset to do so many different things,” Perkins told SEC Country. “Whichever offense he chooses, I know he can be a great downhill runner. He can run the zone and stretch plays. He does that for us. He can fit in the spread system where he’s running more power, sweeps and inside-outside zones out of the shotgun. He fits in any system. There’s a lot of variety in his game.”
Asa Martin — is there room for him on the roster?
When fans, reporters and those who closely analyze recruiting at Alabama, especially at the running back position, some are quick to point out that the Crimson Tide have five running backs on the roster who are fully capable of being the man when called upon.
But, there’s a very good chance Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris leave for the NFL after this season. That would leave just three running backs in Tuscaloosa. Even if one or both stay for another season, Perkins believes Alabama’s depth at running back for Martin is a non-issue.
“I think if it was an issue for him, he wouldn’t have Alabama as one of his top four teams,” Perkins said. “Some would argue Alabama is one of his top two teams. If it was an issue, we would have had a conversation about it. He’s a competitor. He’s not shying away from competition. He never has done that.”
Martin transferred to IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) for his junior season before returning to Austin for his senior season. He split carries with 2019 Alabama running back commit Trey Sanders while there, and it wasn’t an issue for Martin. He felt like he achieved what he wanted to do at IMG — get bigger (gained more than 20 pounds) and have a year of college-like prep away from home. That’s why he returned to Alabama.
His recruitment took off while at IMG and has only gotten more hectic this offseason. Perkins feels like Martin is so coveted because of his ability to do multiple things in any offense.
“I think it’s the overall package with Asa,” Perkins said. “His versatility makes him someone you want on your team. He’s a very competitive young man. He doesn’t back down from anyone. He will work hard to be the best. He’s a special player. There’s not anything that he can’t do.”
Perkins hasn’t asked Martin which school he’s choosing on Thursday, and he’s not going to pester him about it. He believes Martin will only tell his mother about his decision before Thursday. His teammates and assistant coaches haven’t been told of his decision and won’t be informed, Perkins said.
There’s confidence on both sides — Alabama and Auburn. The Tide have felt confident they were going to land Martin for several months now, while the Tigers have grown increasingly confident in the last several weeks. This decision could truly go either way on Thursday.
“What everyone thinks they know out there, it’s not coming from him,” Perkins said. “Your guess is as good as mine. He has kept this really close to the vest.”
If Martin does choose Auburn, Perkins believes Martin is going to shut down his recruitment to focus on the season because he’s an early enrollee.
“The plan is for him to be done, but with recruiting how it is today, I wouldn’t put my John Hancock on that or bet the house.
“I think he has taken the due diligence needed to make this decision. I think he’s going to feel very comfortable with this. His plan is that when he makes his commitment that the school he picks will be the place he signs, but who knows what the future holds.”
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