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 QB Dakereon Joyner.
Alabama originally offered Joyner for his athleticism
It’s easy to find out when teams offer recruits scholarships nowadays because most publicize them through their Twitter accounts. Kereon Joyner kept an Alabama offer quiet for a few months.
Joyner, a 4-star dual-threat quarterback from Fort Dorchester High School (North Charleston, S.C.), was offered by the Crimson Tide back in September or October — he can’t remember exactly when — as an athlete and free safety. The problem with that offer was Joyner already had several offers to play quarterback in college, and that’s the position he wants to advance his career in.
Joyner visited Tuscaloosa going into his sophomore season and played safety in a freestyle 7-on-7 tournament at one of Alabama’s camps that summer. The Tide staff became interested in Joyner back then after he made several interceptions during the tournament.
“They didn’t really mention my quarterback skills when they offered me a few months ago,” Joyner told SEC Country. “They were just talking about how good of an athlete I am. Then I guess after they saw my film from this past season, Coach Saban really wanted to offer me as a quarterback.”
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound prospect hasn’t gotten a chance to speak with Saban himself. Outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi was the one who offered Joyner. Lupoi told Joyner that the staff liked the way he progressed over this past season. Joyner threw for 3,642 yards with 44 touchdowns and rushed for 1,089 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. He was named South Carolina’s Gatorade Player of the Year.
Despite those gaudy stats, he couldn’t remember the last time he spoke to an Alabama staff member before getting offered on March 8.
“The crazy thing about this offer is that I hadn’t been talking to them,” Joyner said. “Just that one day — randomly — I got on the phone with them and got that offer. I’m just blessed to have this opportunity.”
Now that Alabama has offered him as a quarterback, Joyner said it is one of the schools he’s strongly focusing on. In addition to Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Oregon and N.C. State are in the running to land his services when he commits on June 18.
Significance of his commitment date
June 18 is Father’s Day. Joyner won’t be celebrating his commitment with his father on that day — he’ll be remembering the limited memories he has of him.
Joyner’s father, Damond, died of a heart attack at age 35 in his sleep. Joyner was only 9 years old when he lost his father.
“I’m going to commit on Father’s Day for him,” Joyner said. “It’s definitely special. I know whichever school I choose is going to be the right choice.”
Joyner makes sure he prays in his father’s room before he leaves for his games on Friday nights. It’s his ritual and his way to always have his father on his mind before he plays the game they both enjoyed watching together.
“I know he’d be happy for me,” Joyner said. “I just wanted to do something special for him with committing on Father’s Day.”
Alabama’s chances with Joyner
The Crimson Tide have a lot of ground to make up when it comes to Joyner because South Carolina, the prohibitive favorite, offered him a scholarship when he was in the eighth grade.
“I know that place in-and-out,” Joyner said. “It’s only like an hour away from my home.”
Joyner has only visited Tuscaloosa that one time when he played safety. He likely will have to return to Tuscaloosa to throw for the coaches in early June and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll likely will travel to Charleston when the evaluation period begins in mid-April to see him throw.
The nation’s No. 8 dual-threat quarterback knows that time is ticking until his commitment — and if Alabama is going to be a possible choice for him — he needs to start building a relationship with Daboll.
“I want to sit down with the new offensive coordinator and ask him what he thinks of me and see what he thinks my strengths and weaknesses are and what I need to work on,” Joyner said. “I really want to build a relationship with him in the next few months. Three months isn’t that long.”
South Carolina’s No. 3 prospect said he’s planning on visiting both Alabama and Auburn this spring. He’ll visit Georgia in the coming weeks and is trying to make it to Oregon before he makes his final decision.
There’s no denying his familiarity with South Carolina, but he says the lack of visits to Alabama doesn’t hurt its chances with him because he knows what he’d get there if he chooses that school.
“Everyone knows Alabama is one of the best programs,” Joyner said. “There’s really not much I want to know about them that I don’t already know. Everybody wants to get that exposure and get to the league. That’s the ultimate goal. You can get that at Alabama.
“Alabama is one of the best programs, if not the best. They are definitely at the top of my list because they have great coaches. Coach Saban develops athletes all over the field. He’s a great coach.”
Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Oregon all started freshmen quarterbacks last season. Sometimes, that matters to quarterbacks because the path to play early isn’t clear. The Tide signed two quarterbacks in 2017 and want to add one more in 2018.
So, does Joyner care about what a school’s depth chart looks like?
“Yes, but at the same time it doesn’t,” Joyner started to explain. “I can always redshirt my freshman year. If they are good enough as they are now, then they would probably leave after three years. So, I could redshirt my freshman year and be fine.
“My expectation is to go wherever and win that job. If they have a great year, then so be it. That’s their job to do that. But I’m going anywhere to win that job.”
Another reason why Alabama’s main competition looks like it will be South Carolina is because of who he mentioned he’d like to play with in college: Gamecocks defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and 5-star defensive end Xavier Thomas. Kinlaw considered Alabama last season before the Tide cooled off on him and Thomas says he’s 99 percent sure he’ll either end up at Clemson or South Carolina. That other 1 percent is for Alabama.
“If I do commit to Alabama, we’ll see how it goes,” Joyner said of Thomas. “I may have to convince him to come because I definitely don’t want to play against him. He’s really good.”
Joyner is one of three uncommitted quarterbacks the Tide have offered — the other two are 4-star QB prospects Tanner McKee and Dorian Thompson-Robinson. As it stands now, it’s unlikely either sign with Alabama.
South Carolina seems like the favorite right now for Joyner, and he knows why many think that.
“I’m an in-state guy. I can’t say what I exactly want to say on Twitter, but that’s what everyone thinks,” Joyner said. “If I do go out of state, then some people may be sad. I would love to get out of state — I’m not saying that I am — but I would love to get out and explore.”
The interesting part of him saying that is Joyner said his mother has said she’d like to move closer to her son if he did choose somewhere other than South Carolina. We’ll see if the family will have to leave the Palmetto State come June 18.