Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with the first day of the early signing period.
Alabama sees former staffers Jeremy Pruitt and Kirby Smart steal key recruits
Alabama showed some vulnerability on the recruiting trail on Wednesday. First, 4-star quarterback Emory Jones, a longtime Alabama target, ended up flipping from Ohio State to Florida. That wasn’t a surprise.
Then, a few hours later, the Tide lost out on 5-star defensive end Brenton Cox to Georgia. Again, not all that surprising. There was a glimmer of hope there but not much.
Fast-forward to Dominick Wood-Anderson‘s decision, and this was truly the first player Alabama had a very good chance of landing. Wood-Anderson was all over the place in his recruitment. He silently committed to Alabama, Louisville, Texas and Oregon, at least, at different points in his recruitment. There was truly no way of knowing what he actually was going to do until he signed his letter of intent.
SEC Country was told by an SEC assistant on Tuesday that he believed Wood-Anderson’s decision was going to come down to Alabama and Texas A&M, but Tennessee would try for a late surge before he announced. It worked. Wood-Anderson was expected to announce his commitment on a San Diego television station at 11 a.m. ET. He canceled. He ended up delaying his decision until the evening.
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Truthfully, Alabama may have dodged a bullet with Wood-Anderson because I don’t see his personality meshing with how the Tide operate. But he was a major target for the Tide and they lost him to former defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and Tennessee. That part stings.
Wood-Anderson is a pretty special talent, and hindsight is always 20/20, but I think Alabama should have focused harder on 4-star tight end Luke Ford, who, at one point, considered the Tide his leader.
Then, Kirby Smart comes in a few hours after Wood-Anderson’s announcement to flip and sign 4-star defensive back Nadab Joseph. SEC Country learned, however, that Joseph wasn’t sent a letter of intent by Alabama on Wednesday, which meant he could not sign with the Tide. There were concerns with his academics. Alabama didn’t want to take a risk knowing how important signing defensive backs are to this class and if it signed him, that’s one less scholarship.
Now, Smart and UGA have the top-ranked class. The Bulldogs did a remarkable job on the recruiting trail on Wednesday, but remember, it’s not over yet for Alabama. Lots of major targets are still out there.
Vernon Jackson doesn’t sign/Quay Walker buzz
Vernon Jackson, a 3-star linebacker from Boling (Texas) High School who Alabama is very high on, was expected to sign with the Tide on Wednesday. He decided Wednesday morning that he no longer was going to do so.
With him deciding to postpone his decision, that means he’ll likely take other visits in January. It’s not ideal for the Tide. Alabama will likely have to fight to keep him committed next month.
SEC Country was notified on Tuesday that Quay Walker, a 4-star linebacker commit out of South Georgia, had submitted an application to get into Georgia. The Bulldogs staff was trying to hurriedly push that through in order to have his paperwork ready for him to sign with UGA. Walker didn’t make any moves on Wednesday, but it is something to keep an eye on. It may not happen this week. It could happen in February. But it’s clear that Walker isn’t 100 percent locked in with the Tide.
Alabama needs to keep these guys committed. Jackson and Walker are the only true linebackers Alabama has committed. But especially with Brandon Kaho surprisingly signing with Washington and JJ Peterson naming Tennessee as his leader. The Tide were also trying to convince Adam Anderson, the nation’s No. 1 outside linebacker who signed with Georgia on Wednesday, to visit Tuscaloosa this past weekend. He ended up not making the trip. So, keeping these two commitments is of utmost importance.
Alabama lands important prospects
As a senior, Anoma recorded 98 tackles, 22 sacks and forced 4 fumbles. He explained why he chose the Tide.
“I mean, it’s the [Nick] Saban era,” Anoma said live on the ESPN2 broadcast. “Time in and time out, he just produces top-notch players that compete at a high level. I want to go there and compete at a high level. Nothing is going to be given to me and I like competing against the top people in the country. So, that’s where I’m going to get top-notch competition.”
Barmore told SEC Country why he chose Alabama.
“When I visited them, it felt like home,” Barmore said. “I love their academic support, how they prepare you for not just football but for life. Lastly, it’s Bama. So many great players came from there.”
Both of these guys were major priorities for the staff. Don’t be surprised to see both make an impact next season.
Now what for Alabama?
There’s still lots of work to do for the Crimson Tide on the recruiting trail. Saban said it at his press conference on Wednesday.
“We can only take 23 guys this year so we basically have eight spots left. I think these signees today represent a lot of hard work. The coaches did a good job. A lot of our players, the team we have here at Alabama, the academic folks, when these guys visit, our administration, all did a very good job. We’ve kind of identified our needs — and hopefully — we’ll be able to finish with a lot of good players who are left out there that are going to wait until February or maybe sign in the next two days, but we really can’t comment on that.”
The Tide possibly got some good news late Wednesday night from 4-star defensive tackle Bobby Brown, who de-committed from Texas A&M. Co-defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi has put in some serious work here the past few weeks. If Alabama could somehow land him by the end of the week, that would be a massive pull for the Tide.
Alabama, now that it has just three defensive backs committed, perhaps became a little more enticing to 5-star cornerbacks Tyson Campbell, Patrick Surtain Jr. and Isaac Taylor-Stuart. Those guys are all expected to visit next month. Kelvin Joseph, a 4-star safety, also remains out there for the Tide. There are options.
What about a quarterback? Here’s what Saban had to say about that subject:
“We have tried to recruit a quarterback and we’re going to continue to try to do that,” he said. “If we can get somebody that we feel can be a positive in the organization, we would like to get a quarterback. I would always like to have four on the roster.”
James Foster is the clear target for the Tide moving forward. Foster is down to Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Texas A&M. Foster grew up an Alabama fan and it is his dream school. We’ll see what happens.
Wednesday wasn’t a typical day for the Tide. I do think this class will still be in the top 5 when February rolls around.
And, I can say that good news is on the horizon.
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