Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today we discuss the latest with Georgia linebacker Richard Jibunor and quarterback Dakereon Joyner.
Alabama interested in intriguing athlete
BUFORD, Ga. — The first thing you notice about Richard Jibunor is how overly nice of a person he is. Jibunor says ‘sir’ at the end of each of his sentences and thanked me for talking to him, which isn’t common.
Jibunor, a 3-star athlete from Athens (Ga.) Christian High School, moved to America from Nigeria in 2014. He started playing football just two years ago and still is learning the game.
“I just told my coach after my freshman year that I wanted to try football,” Jibunor told SEC Country at the Atlanta Opening regional. “He told me that he would love to have me out there and he would teach me how to play. I had just come off of being a track champion in states. I just picked up the game and I fell in love with it.”
The other characteristic about Jibunor that stands out is his willingness to compete no matter what. Jibunor is wanted by programs as a linebacker. At the Atlanta regional two weeks ago, he played defensive end after noticing other highly ranked recruits on the offensive line.
He had never played defensive end before. He didn’t even know what the position was called in our interview. The coaches at the event showed Jibunor some techniques and he came away as the camp’s defensive line MVP.
“I talked to a bunch of the top offensive linemen and knew they were coming to the camp,” Jibunor said. “I really wanted to go up against them, so I decided to come at defensive line.”
At a different camp last weekend, Jibunor played cornerback, with his hand in the dirt like a defensive lineman, and ran step-for-step with some of the top wide receivers in attendance. Needless to say, Jibunor is still learning the game of football.
He moved from Nigeria to Athens, Ga. as a foreign exchange student. His mother sent him to America to escape religious unrest in Nigeria. He hasn’t seen his mother since he came to America in 2014, but they do talk on the phone often about his recruitment, life in America and accomplishing his main goal — going to college.
“There’s better education here. It’s just a better place to live. Everything is just better,” Jibunor said. “Nigeria is really like here, except the difference is you don’t have much electricity, water or food there.”
Both Alabama and Auburn have offered Jibunor scholarships despite how raw of a prospect he is. Perhaps because the 6-foot-3, 206-pound prospect has been clocked in the 40-yard dash at a sub 4.5 second time. The Crimson Tide are in contact with Jibunor often via defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
Jibunor, who was invited to the prestigious Opening Finals event in Oregon this summer, has been talking to Pruitt ever since he started playing football.
“He was the one recruiting me at the time when he was there,” Jibunor said. “It feels like I’ve known him forever.”
That relationship with Pruitt has Alabama high on Jibunor’s list of favorite schools. While he doesn’t have an official list, he did name Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia, despite not having an offer there yet, as standouts.
“Alabama is one of my favorite schools,” Jibunor said. “I talk to Coach Saban every once in a while. They’re very high on me, and they really like me. They are very high on my list. I don’t have any favorites yet. I just have schools I am really focusing on and Alabama is one of them.”
The Crimson Tide are recruiting Jibunor as an outside linebacker/strong safety, he said. He’s not picky when it comes to where he plays in college. Like these camps he’s been at, he’ll play anywhere.
He hasn’t visited Tuscaloosa yet but is planning on going soon because he said he’s heard how nice it is from his friends. When he does commit to a school, which he’s expected to do before his senior season begins this fall, he knows what he wants.
“I am looking for a school that has a good educational program where I can really learn,” Jibunor said. “I also want to find a coaching staff who can make me into the best player I can be.”
Auburn appears to be the school to beat right now. He’s been there more than any other school plus the Tigers have two Nigerians on their roster who he has a friendship with. That may be a key influence when it comes time to making a decision.
Check out his highlights:
Important visitor coming to town next week
As Alabama continues to sort through its quarterback options in the Class of 2018, one prospect with an offer at the position will be in Tuscaloosa next week.
Kereon Joyner, a 4-star dual-threat prospect from Fort Dorchester High School (North Charleston, S.C.), will be on campus for A-Day. Joyner recently released a top 5 of Alabama, Georgia, N.C. State, Oregon and South Carolina. The Gamecocks are believed to be the favorite. South Carolina offered Joyner a scholarship when he was in eighth grade.
“I know that place in-and-out,” Joyner said a few weeks ago. “It’s only like an hour away from my home.”
Joyner has only visited Tuscaloosa that one time when he played safety at camp his freshman year. The Tide offered him as a defensive back originally but it wasn’t until a few weeks back where Alabama extended a quarterback offer his way.
He likely will have to return to Tuscaloosa to throw for the coaches in early June and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll likely will travel to Charleston when the evaluation period begins in mid-April to see him throw.
Joyner is scheduled to make his commitment on June 18, which is Father’s Day. His father, Damond, died of a heart attack at age 35 in his sleep. Joyner was only 9 years old when he lost his father.
The nation’s No. 9 dual-threat quarterback told SEC Country he’s hoping to build a solid relationship with Daboll before making his decision on a day to honor his father.
“I want to sit down with the new offensive coordinator and ask him what he thinks of me and see what he thinks my strengths and weaknesses are and what I need to work on,” Joyner said. “I really want to build a relationship with him in the next few months. Three months isn’t that long.”
There’s no denying his familiarity with South Carolina, but he says the lack of visits to Alabama doesn’t hurt its chances with him because he knows what he’d get there if he chooses that school.
“Everyone knows Alabama is one of the best programs,” Joyner said. “There’s really not much I want to know about them that I don’t already know. Everybody wants to get that exposure and get to the league. That’s the ultimate goal. You can get that at Alabama.
“Alabama is one of the best programs, if not the best. They are definitely at the top of my list because they have great coaches. Coach Saban develops athletes all over the field. He’s a great coach.”
2019 athlete, teammate of big Alabama target, picks up dream offer
Jammie Robinson, a 2019 athlete from Crisp County High School (Cordele, Ga.), only had offers from Tennessee-Chattanooga and Georgia Southern entering Sunday. He went to bed with one more.
Robinson, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound prospect, added an offer from the Crimson Tide on Sunday night after receiving the news from his coach at Crisp. He’s teammates with 2018 4-star outside linebacker Quay Walker, who is one of the Tide’s top targets at the position.
“Coach Derrick Ansley told my coach I was offered as a nickel back and star,” Robinson told SEC Country. “I was shocked once my coach told me and my mom the awesome news. Me just making my mom proud is the best feeling.”
Robinson said he’s been to Tuscaloosa plenty of times and said the atmosphere is amazing. He’s hoping to get back to Tuscaloosa soon but doesn’t know when. He’s also unsure of when he’ll make a commitment, but when he does, expect Alabama to be in it until the end for him.
“It is a dream school because when I was younger I grew up watching Alabama every year in a national championship basically and I was like I want to be part of a winning program and a disciplined program,” Robinson said.