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 discuss the latest with Nigerian defender Richard Jibunor.
Jalyn Armour-Davis committing this Friday
Jalyn Armour-Davis was always going to commit before his senior season, but a decision was likely coming in June or July.
But Armour-Davis, a 4-star cornerback from St. Paul’s Episcopal High School, has decided to make his commitment this Friday afternoon. His finalists are Alabama, Auburn and Florida State. His reason why the Crimson Tide are a finalist sounds good for Alabama’s chances.
“It’s the most secure place for me and my family,” Armour-Davis told SEC Country.
That quote is a 180-degree turn from where Alabama stood with the nation’s No. 15 cornerback in February. The Crimson Tide were on the outside of Armour-Davis’ top 6, and they had a lot of ground to make up. In March, Alabama was back in the mix, but Auburn and Florida State were still clearly ahead of Alabama. And then, just over two weeks ago, Armour-Davis told SEC Country that the three finalists he named on Wednesday were the top contenders to land him.
Even when Alabama was on the outside looking in for Armour-Davis, the Tide never stopped recruiting him.
“They just wondered where I went wrong and I wouldn’t say there was anything they did wrong,” Armour-Davis said earlier this month.” It was just a way I was feeling. I think, from a more mature standpoint, it would just be a 10-times-better decision for them to be in it. I was more excited in the moment and wanted to push something out. I just took a step back to look at all my schools and everything outside of football.”
Alabama has certainly closed the gap over these past few weeks, mainly from the job Tide defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has done. From talking with multiple sources after his Wednesday night announcement, I believe Alabama is in a very good spot. My prediction is Armour-Davis will pick the Crimson Tide and become the team’s third commitment in the Class of 2018.
This could be the start of a big run for Alabama this summer.
Alabama still keeping eyes on Richard Jibunor
Richard Jibunor is still trying to figure out this crazy and sometimes bizarre recruiting world.
“I don’t really know right now,” Jibunor told SEC Country’s Benjamin Wolk. “For real, I don’t really understand it.”
It’s easy to understand why when you learn about the nation’s No. 25 athlete’s past.
Jibunor, a 3-star outside linebacker from Athens (Ga.) Christian High School, moved to America, by himself, three years ago from Nigeria. The explosive athlete moved to America to escape Boko Haram — an Islamic extremist group — that has killed thousands in his home country since attacks began in 2009. The majority of the attacks are located in the northern part of the country, which is where Jibunor lived before settling in Georgia.
He’s also only played football for two years. Before realizing his potential on the gridiron, Jibunor was focused on running track, basketball and soccer. Those sports have really helped Jibunor on the football field. The 6-foot-3, 206-pound prospect was last clocked at 4.71 in the 40-yard dash, which is good for his size.
“Most schools like my size and speed,” Jibunor said. “They like my frame. They think they can bulk me up, too, and I won’t be slower. They like me as an outside linebacker because I’m fast. The way my frame is, they think they’ll be able to put a lot of weight on me and be a defensive end.”
Alabama is one of those schools that is intrigued with the combination of his size and speed.
Jibunor hasn’t visited Tuscaloosa yet, but the coaching staff has been trying to get him on campus for several months now.
“They talk to me all of the time, but I have not been up there,” Jibunor said. “I’ve only heard of them and seen them on TV and researched them online. I just want to go see for myself and know where I’m going to place them for my recruitment.”
Pruitt has been in touch with Jibunor, but not as often as other coaches from other schools. Auburn and Tennessee are the schools recruiting Jibunor the hardest. There are a lot of big-time outside linebacker/defensive end targets for the Tide in this recruiting cycle.
The names to know at the position are Alabama commit Jordan Davis, Eyabi Anoma, Nikolas Bonitto, Andres Fox, KJ Henry and Micah Parsons. JJ Peterson and Quay Walker, arguably Alabama’s top linebacker targets, are viewed as linebackers who could play outside, inside and middle.
As you can see, there are plenty of targets at outside linebacker this year. Outside of Davis, Alabama is the favorite for Peterson and Walker. The Tide are in a really good position with Anoma. SEC Country was told Alabama is planning on signing four linebackers this cycle. That could be your four right there: Davis, Peterson, Walker and Anoma.
So, some pieces may have to fall Jibunor’s way if there’s a spot for him, if he ends up falling in love with Tuscaloosa when he visits. He has high expectations for that trip when he does visit.
“I mean Roll Tide,” Jibunor said. “It’s home of the 5-stars, home of champions. I just want to go see Coach Pruitt. And meet coach [Nick] Saban. Me and Coach Saban have spoken on the phone a couple times. I just want to shake his hand and have him tell me everything he said over the phone to my face.
“Coach Saban’s talked to me a couple times. He congratulated me after the Nike camp. He said he’d heard a lot about me and realized what kind of player I am. He told me how he sees me. He likes my speed and everything. He thinks I can be a big piece for a team because of my versatility, speed and size. He thinks he can use me in different ways.”
Auburn surely seems like the school to beat right now. Jibunor has a very close relationship with Tigers linebackers coach Travis Williams, defensive line coach Rodney Garner and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. Auburn has definitely made Jibunor one of its top priorities, and he has realized that.
“Since the first day they offered me, they’ve been 100 percent on me and nothing has changed,” Jibunor said. “We talk the same way, always have fun. Sometimes we never talk football. I like my relationship with them.
“Auburn has been with me since the day they offered me last summer. They’ve just always been the same.”
Jibunor wants to have a decision made before his senior season so he can put this recruitment process, that he still doesn’t completely understand, behind him.
“I don’t want to be the type to commit and de-commit,” Jibunor said. “I want to be true to a school. I’ve been praying hard. When I take all my visits, whatever my mind picks, no matter which school, I’ll go with it.”