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 the nation’s top cornerback.
Patrick Surtain Jr. not looking like a lock to LSU anymore?
Patrick Surtain Jr. has named LSU his leader for more than a year and a half. It has always looked like the nation’s No. 1 cornerback was going to commit to the Tigers. It was just a matter of when he wanted to announce his decision.
It doesn’t seem that simple anymore.
“It’s very close,” Surtain told SEC Country at the U.S. Army All-American Game media session on Wednesday. “It’s a close race between both those schools. Both schools are recruiting me hard. Both schools have great defensive backs coaches: Corey Raymond and Coach [Derrick] Ansley. Both have great coaching staffs. It’s a race between those two [schools].”
RELATED: 2018 Alabama recruiting big board
Alabama would like to add two more defensive backs to its 2018 class. The Tide currently have Jalyn Armour-Davis, Josh Jobe and Saivion Smith signed. With the team losing Anthony Averett, Tony Brown, Levi Wallace, Hootie Jones and possibly Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison, signing the nation’s top corner would alleviate some of the pain.
Surtain has been a top target for the Tide in excess of a year. But, as stated in the first paragraph, it has always seemed like he was Baton Rouge-bound. He has strong family ties to the city; however, he has noticed that the Tide need bodies in the secondary. He also sees an opportunity at LSU, too.
“I’ve been looking at it like they’re [Alabama] losing a lot of defensive backs, so there’s a high chance I can come in and compete and play as a freshman,” he said. “On the LSU side, they’re losing a lot of defensive backs, too, and I look at it like I have the chance to compete and play at a high level.”
The Army All-American said the national championship game on Monday won’t have an impact on his decision. Alabama has made it to the championship game 6 times in the past 9 seasons, but Surtain isn’t concerned about the Tide’s prolonged success.
“I weigh it out like … do I want to go to school and play for championships or write my name out, my legacy out,” Surtain explained. “I’ve been looking at it like that for the past few months. It’s been a hard struggle. This is a tough decision picking my school for the next three or four years and it’s been really tough.”
Surtain heads to LSU on Jan. 12 right after the dead period for his first official visit. He travels to Alabama on Jan. 19. Both of those official stops loom large in the All-American’s upcoming decision.
“I’m going to take these official visits coming up, and from then on, I’ll make my decision,” he said. “It’s just about getting a bond with the players, talking to the coaches and seeing what best fits for me.”
Surtain is planning on making his final decision on National Signing Day.
Trey Sanders talks de-commitment from Alabama
Trey Sanders decided to de-commit from Alabama just a few hours before the Crimson Tide took the field against Clemson for a national title berth.
Sanders, a Class of 5-star running back from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), had been committed to the Tide since the A-Day game back in 2016. While Sanders did take visits elsewhere after committing to the Tide, he showed no signs of actually going through with de-committing. So, why did Sanders decide that Monday was time for him to reopen his recruitment?
“I only get this chance one time to get recruited in high school,” Sanders told SEC Country. “It’s a onetime thing. I’m going to take my time and enjoy the process.
“I was thinking about it for a while and me and my family got together to talk about it. We decided that it would be best for me to open my recruitment back up.”
The nation’s No. 1 running back said there was no reasoning behind him opening his recruitment shortly before Alabama took the field against Clemson. He said that he just felt like it was the right time to go ahead and make that decision.
“It got to the point where I said I just might as well go ahead and do it and enjoy it,” Sanders said. “Alabama is still my top school.”
The coaching staff has reached out to Sanders since Monday. He remains a giant priority for the Tide in the 2019 class.
“I talked to them and they still said that they’re going to recruit me,” Sanders said. “As of now, they’re my top team. It’s not like they really went down at all. There’s still a chance I might be going there.
“I just told them that it was a family decision. It was also a business decision. You only get to be a high school recruit one time. I might as well go ahead and enjoy it.”
Does he regret committing to Alabama when he did?
“I don’t regret committing early. I feel like it was the best thing I could have done,” Sanders said.
Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings recruiting notebook right here.