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 target from North Carolina.
KJ Henry expects Alabama to be one of his finalists
KJ Henry has been to Tuscaloosa several times. He has previously told SEC Country that he Alabama is “a great place to be.” There are some in the recruiting industry, me included, who believe the 5-star JACK linebacker from West Forsyth High School (Clemmons, N.C.) will ultimately decide from Alabama and Clemson when he makes his decision.
But the No. 2 weakside defensive end in the Class of 2018 per the 247Sports composite rankings won’t admit to that. He’s instead playing it coy when it comes to saying any school has an advantage over the next. His top 10, which he released three months ago, is still intact.
“They’re just as good as the other nine,” Henry said of the Tide’s chances to land him. “It’s crazy to say. They’re a good team, but I’m liking all of those schools.”
Surprisingly, it’s not Alabama or Clemson who is recruiting the 6-foot-5, 235-pound prospect the hardest. It’s a team who is on the rise with second-year coach Justin Fuente.
“Virginia Tech,” Henry said of the school who is on him the hardest. “They’re a much smaller school compared to Alabama and Clemson, but I like them. They’re doing the right things. They’re close to home. They have good relationships with my parents. The coaches have shown lots of love.”
Alabama, via outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi, is talking to Henry multiple times a week. Those two have already established a good relationship — one of the better ones he has with any college coach.
His interest level in the Crimson Tide is high mainly because of Lupoi, who is arguably the team’s best recruiter outside of Nick Saban himself. Each time Henry has visited Tuscaloosa, he’s gotten closer to Lupoi.
“He’s a really down-to-earth guy,” Henry said. “He’s lively and very energetic, too. He’s connected very well with my mom and dad. Just that relationship with him definitely works well.”
Henry is planning on releasing a top 5 before his senior season begins. Those five schools will all receive official visits from him this fall. Expect the Crimson Tide to be one of the five teams — as Henry says, “they have been up there throughout this whole process. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did [get a visit].”
A final decision will likely be made in December as Henry is planning on signing his letter of intent on the first day of the new early signing period. Even though Henry won’t give any clues to where he stands with his recruitment, he did say that if the Crimson Tide keep up their efforts, they’ll be one of his finalists.
“They will be with me in the long run,” Henry said. “As long as they are staying with it and doing the right things and I continue to see success on and off the field, I don’t see why they wouldn’t be.”
Nation’s No. 1 OLB Adam Anderson has Alabama in his top 5
Adam Anderson de-committed from LSU on Thursday night. On Monday night, he released a top 5 of Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.
my top 5 not in any order Giving each one another look before my final commitment.
— Adam Anderson (@AdanAnderson5) July 11, 2017
Staying closer to home is important to Anderson, who attends Rome (Ga.) High. Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Tennessee offer him the best opportunities to do so. Alabama is 180 miles from Rome High, Clemson is 185, Georgia is 133 and Tennessee is 166. Staying close to home is important to Anderson because of all the adversity he has faced in his life.
Anderson told SEC Country on Monday night that the Crimson Tide staff has been in contact with him a lot as of late. But Georgia is seen as the clear favorite for Anderson. He was once committed to the Bulldogs and it’s the school he has visited the most. He’s comfortable there. The Crimson Tide will need to get him on campus to have a shot.
Jalen Cunningham has Alabama in his top 3
Jalen Cunningham, a 3-star defensive tackle from Saint Clair County High School (Odenville, Ala.), released a top 3 of Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss on Monday night.
This is a simple recruitment to understand. If he ends up earning a committable offer from Alabama in the future, then he will be a Crimson Tide commitment. As of now, he doesn’t have that committable offer. He still needs to work out for the staff. That may not be possible for some time as Cunningham has turf toe, which will cause him to miss part of his senior season.
There are concerns with Cunningham’s weight, as well. At last check, he weighed more than 360 pounds. Alabama wants him to be around 340. If that happens and he has a good performance in front of the coaching staff in the future, Cunningham will get the green light.
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