Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we discuss the latest with 4-star Penn State quarterback commit Justin Fields.
Fields still considering Alabama
Alabama is still in search of a 2018 quarterback. Near the top of its wish list is the nation’s No. 3 dual-threat prospect, Justin Fields. The problem — like with many other of the Tide’s QB targets — Fields is committed elsewhere.
Fields, a 4-star prospect from Harrison High School (Kennesaw, Ga.), chose Penn State on Dec. 1 this past year. Fields committed to the Nittany Lions because of the academics and the offense Penn State runs. He is keeping the door open to other schools, though.
“As of now, I’m 100 percent committed to Penn State,” Fields told SEC Country. “My dad — I guess you can call him my recruiting coordinator for me — he’ll handle all of that stuff when it comes to visits and other stuff.”
The Elite 11 finalist has been in contact with Alabama offensive line coach Brent Key, who is his primary recruiter, but Fields hasn’t been to Tuscaloosa yet. Nick Saban himself offered Fields a scholarship on National Signing Day on Feb. 1.
Though Alabama has been in the race for a little more than a month now, it’s going to be tough to flip Fields.
“I don’t see anything changing, to be honest with you,” Fields said. “In reality, you never know what can happen. Coach (James) Franklin could leave. Coach (Joe) Moorhead could leave. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’ve talked to them both about that.”
Fields, who has some family in Pennsylvania, said location isn’t a factor for the school he ends up picking. His sister — a sophomore at Harrison High — has already committed to play softball for Georgia. The Bulldogs could make things interesting. Florida is another school who could creep in the mix. The Gators also view Fields as one of their top quarterback targets in the Class of 2018.
So, where does that leave the Crimson Tide?
“Alabama is always No. 1 in the country; well, not this year. They’re always toward the top,” Fields said. “They’re one of the best programs in football. They have great prominence. I just need to figure things out.”
Kendell Jones still considers himself an Alabama commit, but does it mean anything?
Kendell Jones, who was a 4-star defensive tackle in the Class of 2016, signed with Alabama but failed to qualify. He’s now at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, where he’ll play football this season after sitting out last year.
SEC Country caught up with Jones on Wednesday, and he had some interesting things to say. One of the most important things he said was that he considers himself an Alabama commit.
“The comeback is real. I’m still truly in love with Alabama,” Jones said. “Coach Saban called my coach at junior college the other day and told him how they don’t want to lose me. I’m doing everything possible to stay in my books and still working out trying to lose weight.”
Does it matter that he still considers himself a Crimson Tide commit? Quite simply, it doesn’t.
After failing to qualify, he was no longer bound to Alabama and the Crimson Tide were no longer bound to him. Alabama needs to re-recruit him and offer him a scholarship once again to attend its school, even though it did that back in 2016. So, the team could decide that it doesn’t want Jones in the Class of 2018.
He doesn’t have an offer from the Tide, despite him saying Saban has been in touch with his coach. The staff will continue to evaluate Jones’ progress in the classroom and on the field this season before deciding if it wants Jones to play for Alabama next season.
To sum it up, there’s still a long way to go before we get a final answer on whether the Tide want Jones in this recruiting cycle.
It should be noted that this class won’t be as big as the Class of 2017. Alabama had 26 initial counters plus two blueshirts (Hunter Brannon and Joseph Bulovas) and one greyshirt (Jarez Parks). Those three players will count against the team’s 2018 scholarship count. Alabama will only sign 21 or 22 recruits this season because of Brannon, Joseph and Parks.