Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today we discuss the latest with Georgia defensive back Christian Tutt, quarterbacks Tanner McKee and Bo Nix plus Tide targets Mark Pope and Gurvan Hall committing to Miami.
Alabama tied on top for one of nation’s top corners
BUFORD, Ga. — When Christian Tutt announces his commitment on May 30, barring any snags, it will either be to Alabama or Florida State.
Tutt, a 4-star cornerback from Thomson (Ga.) High School, told SEC Country over the weekend that his top two teams are the Crimson Tide and the Seminoles. Those two teams have been recruiting Tutt strongly and he believes they both present the best opportunity to play early.
Alabama didn’t sign any cornerbacks in the Class of 2017, and it’s arguably the biggest position of need in the Class of 2018. Anthony Averett and Tony Brown will be gone after this upcoming season and Minkah Fitzpatrick likely is a candidate to bolt for the NFL draft.
Tutt sees himself immediately filling one of their roles.
“I see myself being one of the next great defensive backs to come out of Alabama while getting the chance to play for national championships,” Tutt said.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound prospect is committing on May 30 to honor his older brother Chris, who died in a single-car crash on June 2, 2016. May 30 would have been Chris’ 21st birthday.
One of the people who Tutt leaned on during the tough time was Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who he’s been close with since his ninth-grade year. Pruitt was one of the first coaches to believe in Tutt’s abilities.
“My relationship with Coach Pruitt is one of the strongest relationships with any coach that I have,” Tutt said. “We talk all of the time. He really got things started for me, and I appreciate him for that.”
Tutt said if he isn’t talking to Pruitt every single day, then it’s every other day. They’re that close. Pruitt has told Tutt that he sees him playing the star position, which is where Tony Brown mostly played last season for the Tide, his first season and then moving to cornerback his second year.
The nation’s No. 17 cornerback will graduate from Thomson High School early, which means he’ll be able to attend college starting in January and participate in spring practice. Tutt believes Alabama presents a clear path to a possible career in the NFL.
“That’s my ultimate goal,” Tutt said. “I want to get my degree, but if I have a chance to get out of there without it, and I know I have a chance to get picked in the first round, then I’ll be out of there.”
Tutt, who was once a silent commitment to Georgia, said the Bulldogs still are in the mix because of his familiarity with the program, but he said, “some places are just not going to be the right place for me.” He also once had the Buckeyes in the mix but realized it wasn’t a viable option for him because Columbus, Ohio, is too far away from his home.
The reason Tutt originally committed to Georgia was because it reminded him of his home in Thomson, Ga. The words he used to describe Tuscaloosa sound familiar.
“It feels like home,” Tutt said of Tuscaloosa. “That’s one of the feelings that I got at Georgia my ninth grade year. As time goes on, you start to see other options. Everything in Tuscaloosa is great.
“I’m ready to go out there and make plays.”
Tutt said he’s set to visit Tuscaloosa in the coming weeks.
QBs headed to Tuscaloosa
As I wrote last week, it’s very likely that finding an elite quarterback in the Class of 2018 is going to be difficult for Alabama because of who’s currently on campus. The 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 was freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Tide brought in the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat prospect Tua Tagovailoa and 4-star prospect Mac Jones.
Though there’s a lack of depth at the position, it’s not favorable for early playing time for any quarterback in the Class of 2018. There is one very interesting prospect in the Class of 2018 to keep an eye on though.
That would be 4-star California quarterback Tanner McKee. McKee is rated as the nation’s No. 7 pro-style prospect, and he’ll be in Tuscaloosa on Thursday, he told SEC Country. McKee is using his spring break to visit several Southern schools such as Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
McKee is a devout Mormon and plans on making his 2-year mission trip after graduating from Centennial High School. That would mean he’d be a freshman in 2020. If an elite quarterback were to commit to Alabama in the Class of 2018, McKee would make the most sense because the young quarterbacks on the roster right now wouldn’t affect him at all because he won’t be in college until 2020.
Because the Tide’s depth chart isn’t favorable to an ’18 prospect, it’s more likely Alabama will end up signing an elite player at the position in 2019. One of the team’s top targets will be in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday for spring practice, 4-star prospect Bo Nix, who attends Scottsboro (Ala.) High School.
It won’t be easy for Alabama to land Nix’s commitment. He’s the son of Patrick Nix, a former Auburn great. Nix remains close to the Auburn program to this day.
For now, Nix is saying all of the right things when it comes to his recruitment; he’s not saying it’s a slam dunk that he’ll commit to the Tigers just because his father went there. The Tide, led by primary recruiter Brent Key, are going to do what they can to get Nix to play for them in 2019.
Tide targets headed to Miami
Nick Saban landed in a helicopter this past January on Palm Beach Lakes’ football field. He was there to see elite safety Gurvan Hall. Hall is one of the top defensive back targets in the Class of 2018, but the Tide’s chances of landing Hall became more difficult Monday night.
Hall announced his commitment to Miami, and now the Hurricanes have the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class.
In addition to Hall’s commitment, the Canes also added a pledge from 4-star wide receiver Mark Pope. Pope, at one time, named Alabama his leader. When Mario Cristobal left for Oregon, though, communication between he and the Tide coaching staff dropped off.
It remains to be seen if Alabama will try to recruit Pope. I expect the team to continue to try to recruit Hall.