Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. In this edition, we talk the latest with the nation’s No. 1 junior college linebacker.
Lakia Henry commits to Tennessee on Sunday
Lakia Henry, the nation’s No. 1 junior college linebacker out of Dodge City (Kan.) Community College, committed to Tennessee after visiting Knoxville for the first time last weekend. Henry called the Volunteers his leader after visiting, which culminated in his commitment on Sunday.
“It was my first Division I visit that I have ever been on, so they kind of won me over with that,” Henry told SEC Country. “They have really nice facilities. They have really nice people and Knoxville is a nice city. I really enjoyed the whole coaching staff when I was there.”
Henry, who’s one of Alabama’s top inside linebacker targets in the 2019 class, visited Nebraska and Ole Miss this weekend, but those trips just didn’t match what he felt at Tennessee.
He said he felt like Tennessee was the place for him after he put on the Vols jersey for the first time last weekend. He walked out on Neyland Stadium’s field, and it felt right to him.
Alabama’s staff reached out to Henry shortly after last weekend’s trip to Knoxville. Henry said the coaches were just asking him when he was going to set his visit to Tuscaloosa. The plan was for him to visit Tuscaloosa this summer, but that’s now up in the air.
“I don’t know if I am going visit, honestly,” Henry said.
Inside linebacker is one of the Tide’s most important needs in the 2019 class. Alabama signed one inside linebacker in the 2018 class, 3-star prospect Jaylen Moody.
Dylan Moses and Mack Wilson are the likely starters heading into this season. Moses showed he’s bound for stardom in his freshman season while Wilson is likely the next Tide linebacker who’s going to get selected early in the NFL draft. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him leave after this season. Outside of Moses and Wilson, there are unknowns. Ben Davis hasn’t developed the way we thought he would coming out of high school and Markail Benton hasn’t played yet.
There are question marks after Moses and Wilson, so that’s why the Tide are trying to sign several at the position.
“They just keep telling me that I can come in and make an immediate impact,” Henry said of Alabama’s message. “They have told me that I am one of their top priorities. Nothing has changed with them.”
Nick Saban spoke with Henry last month and relayed the same message to him as his primary recruiter, defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, and inside linebackers coach Pete Golding. Henry likes the fact the depth chart at inside linebacker is open because he only has two years of eligibility remaining, so he has to make an immediate impact.
The good news for Alabama is Henry’s recruitment is still in its infant stages because last weekend’s trip to Tennessee was the first visit he had made to an FBS program, so the emotions have been running high for Henry since then. But with him not being sure if he’s going to visit Tuscaloosa, it seems like the coaches will have to work hard to change his mind.
Now what for Alabama at inside linebacker?
Alabama has a commitment from 4-star prospect Shane Lee. The Crimson Tide are in the mix for 5-star prospect Nakobe Dean and 4-star prospects Christian Harris, Kalen Deloach, Mohamoud Diabate and Kane Patterson. There’s also a good possibility of the Tide starting to pursue 4-star, in-state inside linebacker Vonta Bentley more.
I think the Tide are in good position for both Dean and Harris, who are the team’s top targets at ILB. Dean has visited Tuscaloosa around five times already, but he is strongly considering numerous schools and isn’t close to narrowing his choices yet. Harris has been close to committing to Alabama a couple of times now. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him on Alabama’s commitment list before the start of the season.
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