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 a 5-star LSU commit who is still considering Alabama.
LSU commit still looking at Alabama
Kardell Thomas was hoping LSU’s game against Alabama this past Saturday was going to resemble the 2011 matchup where the Tigers edged the Tide, 9-6. The 2017 version of the rivalry didn’t have the drama of the 2011 game, as Alabama, though tested, was never in danger of losing.
Thomas, a Class of 2019 5-star offensive guard committed to the Tigers from Southern University Lab High School (Baton Rouge, La.), was in Tuscaloosa this past weekend. And while he is committed to LSU, he wasn’t necessarily rooting for the Tigers.
“I was just rooting for LSU to make it a good game,” Thomas told SEC Country. “I wanted it to go into overtime. That’s what I wanted. I wanted to be on the edge of my seat the entire time not knowing who was going to win.”
The nation’s No. 2 offensive guard in the 2019 class has been committed to LSU since July of 2016. He originally committed to Les Miles and ultimately stayed with the Tigers during their transition period from “The Mad Hatter” to Ed Orgeron. One of the biggest reasons why Thomas stayed committed is because Orgeron started recruiting him when he was just an eighth-grader, so there was familiarity.
But just because he’s had a long-standing relationship with LSU and he lives 20 minutes away from campus, it doesn’t mean he’s locked in with the Tigers yet. He’s still considering Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma and Texas.
He’s visited Tuscaloosa several times now and hasn’t seen one flaw out of the Crimson Tide.
“I haven’t seen one negative thing at Alabama,” Thomas said. “I know coach [Nick] Saban will probably disagree with me. The first practice I went to, man, I saw how they’re just so technically sound. You could tell that that is why they’re on a different level than everyone else. I’m not saying everyone else isn’t good, but I’m just saying that’s why Alabama is the way it is.
“Their résumé speaks for itself. If you go there and do what you’re supposed to do, you’re going to come out strong.”
It was impressive to hear the amount of research the junior has already done with the schools he’s still considering. He knows LSU’s depth chart on the offensive line inside and out. He feels like the Tigers offer him the best opportunity to play right away, which is what he wants to do.
Some recruits are concerned about what the facilities at these schools look like or how big the dorms are, but Thomas couldn’t care less about that stuff. He just wants to compete.
“I’m not focused on, ‘Oh, my bed has to be this comfortable’ or, ‘I got to have this in the facility or that,”‘ Thomas said. “I am just focused on playing and becoming the first pick in the draft, honestly.
“LSU is looking like a place where I can go in and start. I know I’m going to have myself ready, and I’m not going to have to fight with 22 other linemen to play there. It’s not so much of a “home thing” with LSU; it’s more so of a depth chart thing with them.”
That’s where Alabama may be at a disadvantage when it comes to possibly flipping the 5-star prospect. LSU is dangerously thin on the offensive line and Alabama just isn’t.
The Tide already have a guard committed in the 2019 class in the nation’s No. 4 prospect at the position in Deyavie Hammond and are likely going to add the nation’s No. 1 guard.
“I know they have Pierce [Quick] committed,” Thomas said. “I know [5-star guard] Clay [Webb] will probably go to Alabama and they have one more guy already committed, [4-star guard Deyavie Hammond].
“I do feel like I’m the best offensive lineman in my class, hands down, though. That’s not me throwing shade at anyone. I know the work I’ve put in. I know I can go anywhere and compete. My confidence is high, but I still want to be aware of the depth. I know at Alabama, kids are just going to commit there because it’s Alabama.”
Thomas said he speaks with at least one Alabama staff member almost seven days a week. He said his relationship with Alabama is just as strong as it is with LSU. But, it’s clear that it’s going to be tough for any school to flip the 6-foot-4, 320-pound prospect.
“I just don’t have a reason to de-commit,” Thomas said. “My options are still open right now, though. I’m not just all LSU, LSU, LSU. I’m open. If there’s another school that has a better chance for me to come in and play, then that’s where I’m going. I know everyone is thinking that I’m just a hometown guy because I live 20 minutes away from LSU. It’s not about that. LSU’s depth chart is just nice for me.”
If Alabama did flip him, just read this quote from him to see the kind of mindset Thomas has:
“When I look at these offensive lines across the country, you need someone who is just nasty,” he said. “There’s a difference between good offensive linemen and nasty offensive linemen. Those are the guys who are going to get the job done. They’re the guards who are going to run down the field and block three more people along the way. I feel like that’s how I’m different. If you check my film, I’m running down the field on screen plays, keeping up with the running back. If I continue to work on that in college, I feel like I could be that first pick in the draft. The NFL needs guys like me.”
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