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 some of Alabama’s top 2018 targets.
Alabama now turns its attention to recruiting
It wasn’t a fun weekend for Alabama.
With the Crimson Tide losing the Iron Bowl, Alabama won’t play in the SEC Championship Game. That now gives the Tide this week to recruit with no distractions of preparing for a game. The contact period started Sunday. That means coaches are free to visit with recruits in their homes and their schools. If the Tide made it to the SEC title game, recruiting would have been limited because, obviously, their main focus would be on the game.
Alabama will now use this week to hit the recruiting trail and meet with the majority of its top targets. Per NCAA rules, coaches are allowed to visit prospective student-athletes once a week.
We still don’t know how this early-signing period is going to work exactly and how many recruits are going to take advantage of it, but Alabama having an extra week to focus on recruiting isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you look at how slowly this class has started.
Jacob Copeland de-commits from Florida; Alabama the favorite to land him?
Jacob Copeland, a 4-star wide receiver from Escambia High School (Pensacola, Fla.), de-committed from Florida on Saturday night after the Iron Bowl had finished. The news didn’t come as a surprise. We have been talking about Copeland reopening his recruitment ever since the Gators fired Jim McElwain.
Since Copeland de-committed, Florida hired Dan Mullen to be the next coach of the Gators. It’s an interesting hire for Copeland’s recruitment because the Under Armour All-American has been a big fan of Mullen. He visited Starkville, Miss., after being offered by the Bulldogs last year.
Now, Copeland doesn’t have a strong relationship with Mullen; he has just been a fan of his from afar. Will that be enough for him to rejoin the Gators’ class? I don’t know right now. All I can say is that Alabama sources continue to feel confident that the top-50 overall prospect, according to the 247Sports Composite, will be in crimson next season.
Copeland is expected to take his recruitment all the way until signing day in February now and take all 5 of his allotted official visits, but the Crimson Tide should still be considered the favorites.
Luke Ford intel after his Auburn official visit
Luke Ford, a 4-star tight end from Carterville (Ill.) High School, took an official visit to Auburn this past weekend for the Iron Bowl, and, unsurprisingly, he left impressed with everything he experienced.
Before this weekend, Alabama and Georgia were his clear top schools. We have to include Auburn in that group now.
“I don’t know if I have an official leader,” Ford told SEC Country’s Benjamin Wolk. “I have pretty much a top 3 right now that are all right beside each other. It’s Auburn, ‘Bama and Georgia. It’ll just have to be me looking at tight ends and seeing where I fit in. That’s just going to come down to my personal decision.”
Ford is one of Alabama’s top tight end targets along with 4-star prospect Dominick Wood-Anderson. Sources close to the Tide believe Wood-Anderson will end up choosing Alabama which would mean that Ford likely wouldn’t have a spot in the team’s 2018 class because numbers are tight and the team just doesn’t need 2 tight ends this recruiting cycle.
And, if we are judging Ford’s recruitment as it stands now, Alabama is likely third on his list because the Tide haven’t offered his brother, Noah, a walk-on opportunity like the Tigers and Bulldogs have. Luke and Noah, a fullback who spent a season at Southern Illinois, want to play together. As of now, the brothers don’t have that chance at Alabama. Nick Saban has been up front with the Ford family that Alabama doesn’t use a fullback in its offense. That could end up hurting the team’s chances with Ford if it misses on Wood-Anderson, who is the team’s top target.
Emory Jones note
Emory Jones, Alabama’s top quarterback target in the 2018 class, was in Auburn this past weekend. It was his second trip to Auburn this fall, but the Tigers, according to a source close to the program, still don’t believe like they have a legitimate shot to flip him.
This recruitment is still an Alabama-Ohio State battle.
It should be noted that Auburn does have a commitment from Joey Gatewood, a 4-star quarterback from Jacksonville, Fla. I have heard some rumblings that the Tigers haven’t been thrilled with Gatewood’s progression as a passer, and it’s the main reason why Auburn has been going back and forth on wanting a second quarterback in this class.
I still think Jones is going to flip to Alabama. Don’t expect a decision until his high school season ends. He has another playoff game this Friday.
How Kevin Sumlin’s departure from Texas A&M affects Alabama recruiting
Texas A&M wasted little time getting rid of Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies are now searching for their next coach.
I wrote the following analysis last week, but in case you missed it, here’s how Sumlin leaving College Station affects the Tide on the trail:
Alabama has three major targets who are connected with the Aggies. We’ll start with the one who’s currently committed to TAMU.
Bobby Brown, a 4-star defensive tackle from Lamar High School (Arlington, Texas), committed to Texas A&M over Alabama in October. The Crimson Tide staff thought it was going to land Brown’s commitment, but then the Tide’s No. 1 defensive tackle target at the time decided to move up his decision date unexpectedly. Brown decided that he wanted to remain closer to home, and that’s why he chose the Aggies. It was a giant blow to the Tide because Brown had been the team’s top target since the summer, and the team was confident he was going to commit there.
It remains unclear how, and if at all, Sumlin’s departure would affect Brown. He hasn’t commented on the situation yet, but Alabama certainly will try to capitalize on the situation.
One of the Tide’s current commitments, 3-star linebacker Vernon Jackson, has taken multiple visits to Texas A&M and continues to listen to the school’s recruiting pitch. Jackson might lose his spot because the team has several linebacker targets it feels good about landing such as 4-star prospects JJ Peterson, Brandon Kaho and Eyabi Anoma. If Jackson, who’s considered a project because he actually plays quarterback and safety for his high school and has no experience at linebacker, wants to take visits elsewhere, the Tide might end up replacing him. I think if he doesn’t end up with Alabama, two schools — Texas A&M and TCU — would be potential new landing spots.
Jaylen Waddle, a 4-star wide receiver from Episcopal High School (Bellaire, Texas), is Alabama’s top slot wide receiver target. He has been labeled as such since the summer, when he put on a show for the coaching staff at one of the team’s camp sessions.
There was a point when Texas A&M was considered the favorite to land Waddle’s commitment. The Aggies are pitching him to be the team’s next Christian Kirk. Though Waddle is still considering the Aggies, they have definitely fallen out of major contention for him. It’s a two-team race for Waddle’s commitment with Alabama and Oregon fighting it out. I have supreme confidence that Waddle will be in crimson in 2018.
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