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 Alabama’s pursuit of Ohio State QB commit Emory Jones.
More competition for Alabama when it comes to Emory Jones?
Recruiting changes what seems like every single day.
Last weekend 4-star quarterback Emory Jones, Alabama’s top target at the position, visited Auburn. It was the second time Jones visited Auburn this month. The Tigers weren’t viewed as a legitimate threat to pull him away from Ohio State, which is where he’s committed, but maybe it’s time to include them in the mix.
According to a source close to the Auburn program, the Tigers believe they have about a 50-50 chance to get Jones on board. That other 50 percent? Auburn feels like it’s in a two-team race with Alabama. The Tigers don’t believe Jones sticks with Ohio State. That mirrors what sources at Alabama have told me regarding Jones and the Buckeyes.
Alabama has felt confident that it can flip Jones from Ohio State for several months now, but if Auburn is now in the mix, would that change things? The Tigers’ quarterback room, depth-wise, is more appealing to any quarterback recruit. Auburn has Jarrett Stidham, who is draft-eligible, and freshman Malik Willis. I’ve heard that Stidham has been pegged as a potential 2nd- to 3rd-round pick in the draft this year. That could be good enough for him to leave.
Auburn also has a blue-chip quarterback already committed in the 2018 class. Joey Gatewood, a 4-star prospect from Bartram Trail High School (Jacksonville, Fla.), has been committed to the Tigers for almost 2 years. I’ve heard some talk that Gatewood hasn’t progressed how the Auburn staff thought he would. This is just my opinion now, but I have certainly thought that Gatewood would be better off playing a different position. If he sticks at quarterback, he will need time to develop.
When it comes to Alabama’s quarterback situation, the Tide will have Jalen Hurts, who will be a junior, Tua Tagovailoa, a sophomore, and Mac Jones, a redshirt freshman. It’s not the most appealing situation for a 2018 quarterback recruit, but Jones has told me on multiple occasions that he doesn’t mind redshirting at whichever school he attends.
I am planning on attending Jones’ high school playoff game this Friday, so I hope to have more information on where things stand at that point. But, right now, it’s looking like staff members at both Alabama and Auburn expect one of the nation’s top quarterbacks to end up in the SEC next year.
What if Alabama misses on Emory Jones?
This is a question that Alabama is hoping doesn’t come true. If it does, things will become dicey.
The Tide hosted Florida quarterback commit Matt Corral on an official visit during the weekend of the Mercer game. Sources close to the program told me shortly after the visit that they didn’t expect Corral to flip his commitment.
Since then, Florida has hired Dan Mullen as coach. Mullen runs a spread offense and Corral is a pro-style quarterback. The new Gators coach usually adopts his offense to the quarterback he has on the roster, but it’s clear he would prefer a dual-threat quarterback.
According to Zach Abolverdi who covers Florida recruiting for us, Mullen visited 5-star quarterback Justin Fields Tuesday night. Fields, the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit, is committed to Georgia. He would be a perfect fit in Mullen’s offense. It sure is interesting that Mullen visited Fields first before traveling to California to visit the team’s current quarterback commit.
I believe it’s a long shot for Florida to flip Fields from Georgia, but I think the interest in the 5-star prospect tells me that Mullen may not be 100 percent sold on Corral.
There are other factors at play when it comes to Corral. He has off-field issues and his maturity level has been questioned. He left his previous high school after getting into a fight with Wayne Gretzky’s son and Southern California decided to back off on taking his commitment because of his problems off the field. The talent for Corral is there, but if he’s going to be an elite quarterback, he has to get his mind right.
Alabama is keeping tabs on the Florida quarterback situation and likes Corral as a backup option to Jones.
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