Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. It’s Monday, and we’re talking the latest with a 5-star DB from Louisiana.
Can Derek Stingley Jr. be the next 5-star DB to choose Alabama?
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — Patrick Surtain Jr., the 247Sports composite’s No. 1 cornerback in the 2018 class, had LSU as his leader throughout his recruitment until he signed with Alabama on National Signing Day last month.
For the longest time, it seemed like it was a foregone conclusion that Surtain was going to choose the Tigers. It was just going to be a matter of when he actually wanted to announce his decision. He had the connection to Louisiana with several close family members living in the state, his favorite player — Patrick Peterson —is an LSU legend, and he had the closest relationship with LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond. Yet he still chose Alabama in the end.
The Crimson Tide are hoping Derek Stingley Jr., the nation’s No. 2 cornerback in the 2019 class, mirrors his recruitment after Surtain’s. Stingley, a 5-star prospect from Dunham High School (Baton Rouge, La.), told SEC Country during the weekend that the Tigers hold the edge for him right now.
“LSU is my leader,” Stingley said. “Everyone else still has a shot, though. If those schools keep working like they have, then we’ll see how things turn out, but right now, LSU leads.”
Stingley was committed to LSU before reopening his recruitment in April 2017. He felt like he made his decision too early. Even with LSU on top, Stingley still says his top 10 schools of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Penn State, Stanford, Texas and Texas A&M remains in place.
LSU leads for Stingley because of his relationship with the staff, which is like what Surtain cited throughout his process. The comfortability factor is there for Stingley. If a school is going to top LSU, it is going to have to show him that he can get that “home” feeling elsewhere.
“We have built a relationship since my ninth-grade year,” Stingley said. “That’s a long time, and I’m close with them. Some schools are just jumping on board. They have a long ways to go.
“The most anything can do is just keep building relationships. Relationships are key with me. If I can’t feel like I’m going to a place that feels like home, then I’m not going to like it.”
The 6-foot, 170-pound prospect visited Tuscaloosa back in January for a junior day event where he met new defensive backs coach Karl Scott for the first time. He connected with him and is starting to build the key relationship that he needs in order to choose Alabama.
“He’s a pretty cool dude,” Stingley said of Scott. “I like talking to him. He likes to joke around, but he’s serious at the same time. A lot of people like to build off my status because I’m a 5-star and say, ‘Oh, you are the best cornerback.’ Coach Scott tells me that I have to earn everything at Alabama. He just keeps it straightforward with me.”
Alabama signed five defensive backs in the 2018 class, including Surtain, who was the crown jewel of the group. The Tide have two defensive backs committed right now in 4-star cornerback Brandon Turnage and 4-star safety Brendan Gant.
Stingley doesn’t care about depth charts, which is the good news for Alabama because it is something the Tide have to combat on the recruiting trail with some prospects.
“As long as I get a fair opportunity to have a chance to play, I’m good,” Stingley said.
The No. 2 prospect in Louisiana isn’t sure when he will make a final decision. He’s also not sure which schools will get official visits. Alabama is in the mix to get one of the five allotted visits.
Stingley’s father is the head coach of the Georgia Doom, an American Arena League football team located in Macon. Because of that, Stingley isn’t sure if he’ll be able to take his official visits beginning in the spring because he said his father has to accompany him on all of the trips.
One thing that’s not going to work as a recruiting pitch for Alabama is its ability to churn out defensive backs to the NFL. The Tide sent more defensive backs to this year’s NFL combine than 90 percent of schools sent players, according to a graphic from Alabama.
But Stingley is of the belief that no matter what school you end up attending, the NFL will find you.
“One of my teammates — Makiya Tongue — his dad (Reggie Tongue) played in the league for 10 years and went to Oregon State,” Stingley said. “I think he said they won like four games in four years. They’ll find you wherever you are. If you’re good, you’re good.”
Alabama has a long way to go to get Stingley on board, but that’s just how it was with Surtain, too.
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