Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. In this edition, we discuss the latest with Louisiana tight end Glenn Beal and Georgia tight end Tyneil Hopper.
Louisiana TE has his eyes on Alabama
Glenn Beal’s recruitment is shaping up to be a classic Alabama-LSU recruiting battle. If things turn out how they did for the Class of 2017, that’s good news for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama landed five of LSU’s top targets in the Class of 2017 (Dylan Moses, Christopher Allen, Phidarian Mathis, Isaiah Buggs and DeVonta Smith) who were all from the state of Louisiana. The Tide are trying to do it again in 2018 with Beal (ranked as a 3-star tight end by 247Sports) from John Curtis Christian High School in New Orleans.
Beal has emerged as one of the team’s top tight end targets. He explains why his interest level is high in the Crimson Tide.
“They use their tight ends a lot,” Beal told SEC Country. “They just got a new offensive coordinator from the Patriots where he was a tight ends coach. He knows how to work with the tight ends and knows all about using the tight ends. My eyes are on Alabama right now.”
The 6-foot-5, 256-pound prospect has a top 4 of Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and UCLA. That’s in no specific order, but the Tide and Tigers are going to fight this recruitment out until Beal makes his decision, which he says will happen this February.
Alabama running backs coach Burton Burns is Beal’s primary recruiter and he has positioned the Tide in a good spot when Beal announces his commitment.
“Me and Coach Burns talk all of the time,” Beal said. “That’s my guy. The staff told me that I am their No. 1 guy. I’m their target for them. They told me that I could be their next O.J. Howard and turn me into a No. 1 draft pick.”
How each team uses the tight end this season will play a major factor in Beal’s recruitment. Howard had 45 receptions for 595 yards and 3 touchdowns this past season, while Scott Orndoff had 35 receptions for 579 yards and 5 touchdowns for Pittsburgh under new LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
LSU tight ends coach Steve Ensminger has made it clear to Beal that he doesn’t want him to leave Louisiana for any other school.
“They really want me … bad,” Beal said. “They want to keep all the best talent in-state and win a national championship. I haven’t seen the offense really yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to get out there soon and I still have to see how they use the tight end with the new offense.”
The nation’s No. 16 tight end is expected to return to Tuscaloosa this summer for camp. He does hold a committable offer from Alabama. He doesn’t need to show out at camp to earn that coveted committable offer from the Tide.
It should be noted that Beal was very close to committing to LSU this past National Signing Day, but he decided to hold off to further evaluate his options.
Georgia TE also strongly considering Alabama
Tyneil Hopper is expected to release his top 5 schools this summer, and Alabama will make the short list.
Hopper, a 3-star prospect from Roswell (Ga.) High School, told SEC Country that the Tide have two factors on their side when it comes to possible reasons for why he would commit to the team: the O.J. Howard factor and his good friend, former teammate Xavier McKinney, already being in Tuscaloosa.
McKinney enrolled at Alabama in February and has told Hopper all about life as a student-athlete in Tuscaloosa. McKinney was an avid social media user before arriving at Alabama. He has since deleted his Twitter and SnapChat.
“He was honest with me,” Hopper said of McKinney. “He doesn’t go out a lot. He deleted SnapChat and Twitter. That’s the thing about Alabama. You need to remain locked in. If you’re going to play there, you need to work your butt off.”
And that appeals to Hopper. He believes it takes a special kind of player to play at Alabama. It’s a message that coach Nick Saban has personally told Hopper himself on his several visits to Tuscaloosa.
“I’m going to put in the work and do what it takes to get to the league wherever I go,” Hopper said. “That’s my goal right there.”
On all of his visits to Tuscaloosa over the past year, Hopper paid close attention to how Howard conducted himself on and off the field. Howard’s hard work paid off as he was drafted in the first round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“You could just tell that O.J. is a very hard worker who deserved everything he got,” Hopper said. “I don’t think he was worried about anything else that was around him when he was at Alabama. I’m pretty sure he was locked in.”
Hopper’s older brother, Tyrone, is a linebacker for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Tyneil says that won’t play any factor in which school he chooses. That could happen as soon as this summer.
Alabama signed two tight ends in the Class of 2017 in Major Tennison and Kedrick James. The Crimson Tide would like to add one in this recruiting cycle and both Beal and Hopper are near the top of the wish list for the team.
Christian Tutt, a 4-star cornerback from Thomson (Ga.) High School, was supposed to make his college decision on May 30 to honor his late brother’s birthday, but he has decided to push back his decision.
“I’m just not ready yet,” Tutt said. “That day will also be hard enough for my family.”
Tutt’s older brother, Christopher, was killed in a car crash on June 1, 2016. Christopher would have been 21 years old on May 30. Christian changed his number from No. 2 to No. 1 last season. That was his older brother’s number. He told the Augusta Chronicle that he wanted to make so many plays in the No. 1 jersey that Thomson would have no choice but to retire it one day.
The nation’s No. 19 cornerback, according to 247Sports, says he will now make his decision either this fall during his senior season or at the conclusion of it. Tutt had previously told SEC Country that he was down to Alabama and Florida State.
Multiple sources close to the Alabama program told SEC Country that Tutt needed to attend camp next month for further evaluation. Until that happened, the Crimson Tide would not have accepted his commitment. It’s not uncommon for Alabama to not accept a commitment, even from highly ranked players, until that recruit attends camp in Tuscaloosa. The team is being very selective with who it wants in this class because Alabama will only have 22 commitments.
The Tide are planning to sign four cornerbacks in this recruiting class after not signing any corners in the Class of 2017. Tyson Campbell, Josh Jobe, Patrick Surtain, Kyler McMichael and Jaycee Horn are the team’s top targets.
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