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 one of Alabama’s top linebacker targets.
JJ Peterson to Alabama seems likely
MARIETTA, Ga. — JJ Peterson cried when Colquitt County held Walton to a turnover on downs late in the fourth quarter. Colquitt advanced to the third round of the playoffs with a 28-21 win.
Peterson wasn’t crying because his team won.
The nation’s No. 1 outside linebacker in the 2018 class was crying because of how much pain he was in. Peterson sustained a leg injury in the second half of the game after one of Walton’s offensive linemen stepped on his foot causing Peterson to awkwardly fall on his leg. He went to the sidelines for one play before returning to the game with an obvious limp.
That didn’t stop him from causing havoc for Walton’s offense. Peterson was flying sideline-to-sideline, shedding blockers and stuffing Walton in the backfield. After the game, Peterson told SEC Country that on a 1-to-10 scale, the pain level was at a 9. He explained why he fought through the excruciating pain that caused him to cry.
“My team won’t give up on me, so I won’t give up on them,” Peterson said. “I can’t ever give up on my team. We’ve put in so much work this season, and we’re almost at the end.”
Peterson and his teammates will now face Archer High School this Friday in the next round of the playoffs. Don’t expect him to sit out if his leg is still bothering him. That’s the kind of player Peterson is.
It’s also the main reason why the 4-star prospect hasn’t visited any school this fall. His focus is 100 percent on Colquitt County’s season. He keeps up with his recruitment some, but his head coach, Rush Propst, a legendary figure in high school football, is the main person in contact with college coaches.
Propst told SEC Country that lots of schools have started to back off recruiting Peterson because the thought is that his star player is as close of a lock to Alabama as you can get. He said the only school that continues to fight hard for Peterson to not choose the Tide is Oregon.
“I think Alabama is the strong leader right now,” Propst said. “If JJ wants to be a great college player and a player who wants to be on the level after that, I think Alabama is the place he probably needs to go. Jeremy Pruitt has done an outstanding job [recruiting him]. And I’ll say this about Coach [Nick] Saban, I’ve watched him talk to JJ Peterson a bunch, and he has done a great job recruiting him. Right now, Nick Saban is the head coach that has talked to JJ Peterson the most.”
Peterson said Auburn, a school that he was highly considering for a good portion of his recruitment, hasn’t talked to him in nearly a month, which is most likely a sign that the Tigers have moved on. But, Peterson said Auburn is still in the running for an official visit after the season. He’s planning on taking all five of his trips, but don’t expect that to happen. Oregon and Alabama are the only two schools, he said, that will for sure get one. The Ducks are currently his No. 2 team, at the moment. Michigan, Georgia and Auburn all remain in the mix, too, but, again, this is really Alabama’s recruitment to lose.
But Peterson committing to Oregon doesn’t make much sense. He has a baby daughter, Alexandria, who he cares for and is support system is all in the South. Propst, who has almost taken on a guardian role in Peterson’s life, wants him to remain closer to home in Moultrie, Ga.
Even Peterson himself says it’s going to be difficult to not choose a school that’s not located in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
“It’s going to be hard,” Peterson said. “I’ve been there so much. They’re just a fantastic team and they’re just a family at Alabama. I just need to see a school that’s like a family somewhere else.”
Peterson will not make his commitment until after Colquitt County’s season is over. Expect him in crimson next season.
New in-state offer out for Alabama
SEC Country was told late Sunday night that Alabama has offered in-state tight end Michael Parker out of Westminster Christian Academy (Huntsville, Ala.) while on his visit to Tuscaloosa this past weekend for the game against Mercer.
If you’re a loyal reader at SEC Country, you likely know that the plan for the Tide was to take only one tight end in the 2018 class and the likely target to take that spot was either going to be the nation’s No. 1 junior college prospect at the position in Dominick Wood-Anderson or 4-star prospect Luke Ford.
That plan has now changed.
The Tide are now planning on taking two tight ends in this cycle. Parker, whose brother Jacob is a walk-on for the Tide, has called Alabama his dream school in interviews with SEC Country before. Also, after checking with a source close to Auburn, the school Parker was likely leaning toward before Alabama extended a committable offer his way, the Tigers felt that if the Tide ever offered him, he was likely going to choose ‘Bama.
With numbers being so tight in this class, how does Alabama plan on taking two tight ends when the position isn’t a priority for the Tide?
According to a source close to Alabama, Parker will likely be a blueshirt, just like how Hunter Brannon and Joseph Bulovas were in the 2017 class.
Blueshirts are put on scholarship once they arrive on campus and are recruits who were not “officially” recruited. That means Parker, if given a blueshirt, will not be able to take an official visit to Alabama, have off-campus, arranged contact with coaches and he’ll not be sent a letter of intent or written scholarship offer. Most importantly, a blueshirt counts against the number you can sign in the following class.
So, that’s how the numbers will work out if Parker ends up committing to the Tide.
Last Monday, I promised you that I would reveal a secret visitor Alabama was hoping to host this past weekend for its game against Mercer. The prospect didn’t end up visiting.
The Tide were trying to host 5-star Ohio State defensive end commitment Brenton Cox on an official visit. He ended up not making it because he visited Georgia instead for its game against Kentucky.
Alabama remains in communication with Cox and will continue to try to flip him from the Buckeyes.
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