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 inside linebacker.
Alabama didn’t have one of its star defensive players host the nation’s No. 1 inside linebacker Nakobe Dean on his official visit to Tuscaloosa over the weekend. Instead, the Crimson Tide had redshirt junior Joshua McMillon, who has 5 career tackles, host him.
It seems like the plan to use a linebacker who has seen little playing time after being a top recruit coming out of high school to help recruit Dean, a 5-star prospect from Horn Lake (Miss.) High School, worked.
“He told me that he was glad that he made the decision to go to Alabama,” Dean said of McMillon. “He told me that he’s had so much fun and how Alabama has been good to him since he got there. Him not being able to play much and still liking Alabama says a lot. I feel like everything he was saying was real to me and he was talking from the heart.”
The relationship built with McMillon and other Alabama players was important for Dean on this visit. He’s visited the campus over five times now since his recruitment began but never fully got a chance to sit down with the players and go in-depth with them. That’s why he called this trip to Tuscaloosa “completely different.”
“Hanging with the players was great,” Dean said. “They told me all about the schedule and how much would be demanded out of me if I did decide to go to Alabama. They answered every question I had. They gave me huge insight into the program.”
Not only was Dean satisfied with the visit to Alabama, but so was his mother, Neketta. Dean’s mother will play an important role in her son’s commitment, which will happen in December.
Academics are most important to Dean and his mother, so that was a heavy focus by the Alabama staff. Dean, who has a 4.7 GPA and hasn’t made a “B” since middle school, is planning on majoring in either chemical or mechanical engineering.
The Deans spent lots of time with the dean of Alabama’s College of Engineering, Dr. Charles L. Karr, who personally gave a tour to the family. That was well-received.
“Dean Karr is crazy,” Dean said with a laugh. “He’s full of energy. He made the engineering tour great. He made me really enjoy everything about it. His energy just made me really like the visit. And my mom, she loved the visit. I feel like she had as much or even more fun than I did. She took advantage of everything. We had a dinner at Coach [Nick] Saban’s house. They had some karaoke that first night for the parents. I heard they had a really good time there.”
The 6-foot, 220-pound prospect won’t be away from Tuscaloosa for long. He’s planning on returning this weekend because his high school team is participating in a 7-on-7 tournament on campus. Alabama’s premier summer event, the Champions Cookout, is Friday, and the plan is for Dean to attend that and stay through the weekend with his high school team.
He also plans on returning this fall for at least one game. But at this point, Dean feels like there’s nothing left for him to see at Alabama, and that’s a good thing.
“That’s not going to stop me though from coming back for more visits,” Dean said. “Now when I go to Alabama, it’ll be more about hanging out with the players and building more relationships with guys I would play with if I do go to Alabama.
“Alabama is high on my list, of course. I just can’t say they are No. 1 right now because I still have to visit more schools first.”
Georgia and LSU are guaranteed official visits from him. He’s not sure if Mississippi State and Ole Miss will get official visits because he’s been to both schools so many times and can visit them often.
The Bulldogs are the team that the Tide have to worry about. Dean’s mother called the first visit the family took to Athens the best one yet. He then followed that visit to Athens with a return trip shortly after. Several recruiting reporters in the industry now believe UGA is the favorite to land Dean.
“The Georgia visits were good,” Dean said. “I worked out for them and got a chance to see how Coach [Glenn] Schumann coaches. But I think I got some Crystal Balls to Georgia probably because my mama, after the scavenger hunt visit, told some reporters that that was her favorite visit. That’s why I think some reporters think I’m going to Georgia.”
Dean said he doesn’t see many differences between Alabama and Georgia. The only difference he sees between the championship game participants are the people at both schools, and he has good relationships with both staffs.
But after this weekend, Dean says, there’s nothing the Tide can do to improve their standing with him. He feels like the visit was a success in every way possible.
“At this point, Alabama did everything they needed to do,” he said. “It’s just me now seeking out these other schools to see what they have to offer. I’m looking for the best fit out of everything from defensively to academically. I want to love everything about the school I choose.”
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