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 potentially flipping Florida commits.
Flip watch is on for 4-star WR Jacob Copeland
Jacob Copeland committed to Florida over Alabama in an SEC Country exclusive video back in August. Since then, the two programs have gone in opposite directions on the field. The Crimson Tide are ranked fifth in scoring offense, while the Gators are 109th out of 130 FBS teams.
The stats are worse when you see that the Gators only have 5 passing touchdowns this season, which is the same amount as schools such as Georgia Tech, which runs the triple option, Rice, Rutgers and Kent State. That’s not ideal for incoming wide receivers.
Copeland has visited Tuscaloosa twice, and although he announced on Twitter on Sunday for reporters to not interview him about Florida firing Jim McElwain, he spoke with SEC Country last month regarding his concerns about the Gators offense and the “wishy-washy” quarterback play.
“Always gotta leave your options open,” Copeland said. “You never know what could happen at any given moment.
“All I can do is wait out the season and go from there. I committed to UF because they were there first and stayed with me. But, at the same time, I got to do what’s best for me at the end of the day. I haven’t lost interest in ‘Bama. That’s why I made my way down there [for the Colorado State game].”
The Under Armour All-American also visited Tuscaloosa for the Ole Miss game. He’s been in contact with the Crimson Tide staff, led by primary recruiter Jeremy Pruitt, almost daily this fall. Wide receivers coach Mike Locksley and Pruitt were at Copeland’s game this past Friday.
Even before McElwain was fired, sources in Tuscaloosa were confident that Alabama could flip Copeland from Florida. Now that it has happened, I had one source tell me that it will happen. It’s just a matter of when Copeland wants to announce his decision.
Copeland was very close with McElwain. When McElwain was hired by UF, one of the first recruits he developed a relationship with was Copeland. McElwain made Copeland a giant priority and wanted to make sure that when it was time for the receiver to make his commitment that the Gators would be his choice.
There’s no doubt about it that Copeland’s bond with McElwain was a big reason why he ended up choosing Florida and could be the reason why he flips to Alabama now that McElwain isn’t there anymore.
Tide may circle back for former commit now devoted to Florida
Dameon Pierce, a 4-star running back from Bainbridge (Ga.) High School, was committed to Alabama for almost a year before de-committing from the Crimson Tide in May. His decision to back off from his pledge wasn’t a surprise. He hadn’t visited Tuscaloosa often and it was just clear that he wasn’t sold on Alabama anymore.
A source told SEC Country on Sunday that the staff is going to circle back with Pierce to see if he has any interest in the Tide. Pierce has been incredible for Bainbridge (Ga.) this season. Through eight games, he has 1,709 yards and 26 touchdowns. He’s averaging more than 200 yards per game and over 10 yards per carry.
Pierce seems pretty locked in with his commitment to Florida, though, as he’s visited Gainesville for every home game. He has also said that he won’t be visiting any other schools before he enrolls in January, but if the new coach doesn’t retain running backs coach JaJuan Seider, perhaps it may be open season for Pierce.
Alabama doesn’t have a running back commit in the 2018 class. Jerome Ford, a 3-star prospect from Armwood High School (Seffner, Fla.), is the team’s top uncommitted target.
Two Gators’ commits expected to get looks
Defensive line recruiting has been all over the place so expect more names to pop up in the coming weeks. With Pitts, I don’t think there’s much to say because I expect Alabama will land junior college tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson when he makes his next commitment after de-committing from Texas. The Tide will only sign one tight end.
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