Chris Kirschner/SEC Country
Da'Ron Payne could decide to declare for the NFL draft after this season.

Recruiting question of the day: Who is Alabama targeting to replace Da’Ron Payne?

The early signing period is approaching and Alabama is trying to obtain another No. 1 recruiting class. With recruiting ramping up, SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner will answer the Recruiting Question of the Day every day of the week. You can ask him your questions on Twitter or on Facebook. Find our previous question-and-answers here.


Da’Ron Payne, Alabama’s run-stuffing defensive tackle, could decide to declare for the NFL draft after the season. He’s projected by several draft experts to be taken in the first round. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to leave Alabama. But, more likely than not, when a player is projected to be taken in the first round, that player bolts for the millions of dollars that await him.

The Crimson Tide currently don’t have a nose tackle commitment. Alabama has shown interest in Florida State defensive tackle commit Robert Cooper. The Seminoles lost Jimbo Fisher to Texas A&M and replaced him with former Oregon coach Willie Taggart. Cooper was visited by the FSU coaching staff earlier this week and reassured ‘Noles fans by saying he’s 1,000 percent committed. It doesn’t seem likely that Cooper is going to change his mind.

At points, Alabama has been interested in in-state defensive tackle Jalen Cunningham. Cunningham wants to commit to the Crimson Tide, but I don’t think he’s going to get the green light to choose Alabama. Look for him to choose Ole Miss in the near future.

The Tide also were interested in 3-star defensive tackle Jeffery Johnson, who committed to Tulane earlier this month. Alabama had stopped recruiting him.

The likeliest option to fill this nose tackle role is Billy “BJ” Ferrell from Fordyce, Ark. Look how massive this guy is:

Ferrell is listed at 6-foot-3 and 331 pounds. He was offered by Alabama last week and has turned into a priority for the staff. The Tide are working hard to get him on campus. He’s expected to visit next month.