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 Alabama’s running back targets after the team’s latest de-commitment.
Dameon Pierce de-commitment wasn’t a shocker
Dameon Pierce, after months of speculation, reopened his recruitment on Thursday after being committed to the Tide since July of 2016. The 4-star running back from Bainbridge (Ga.) High School was never going to sign with Alabama. The interest between both parties faded over the past several months. Pierce visited Tuscaloosa just once since his commitment and Alabama coaches hadn’t been in constant communication with him.
Pierce’s de-commitment leaves the Tide with just two commits in the Class of 2018: defensive end/outside linebacker Jordan Davis and wide receiver Xavier Williams. I don’t think Williams ends up signing with Alabama as of today despite him publicly being pro-Bama. Look for him to stay in Florida and sign with Miami.
There’s no doubt that Alabama recruiting is very slow so far this year, but there are many highly rated recruits who are very interested in the Tide. They are just taking their time on making a commitment. I spoke with one high-ranking source in the program this week who said fans shouldn’t worry one bit about the team’s recruiting efforts.
With that being said, here’s a look at who Alabama will likely focus on at the running back position with Pierce’s departure:
Asa Martin, 4-star prospect, Austin High School (Decatur, Ala.)
Martin was visited by offensive coordinator Brian Daboll on Thursday. Daboll and Martin spoke on the phone after his scrimmage Thursday night. In that scrimmage, Martin rushed 8 times for 99 yards and 1 touchdown, with a 67-yard receiving touchdown.
When SEC Country visited with the in-state prospect last month, Florida was his leader and Auburn was in second place. Before he was offered by the Crimson Tide before the A-Day scrimmage, he told us that he felt like he wasn’t a good fit for Alabama’s offense.
“I just don’t really know. … I just don’t think it really fits my style very much,” Martin told SEC Country at the time. “The style of running back I am, I don’t really feel like I fit into that style of offense.
“I’m more like of an open-type, shotgun offense. Spread style.”
He has since changed his stance after further evaluation. It should be noted, too, that the coaching staff believes he could also play on the defensive side of the ball.
“I went down there and Coach Daboll showed me a bunch of new stuff he installed and I could potentially play defense if I went to Alabama,” Martin told SEC Country on Thursday night.
The nation’s No. 9 running back said since the offer, Alabama has recruited him very hard.
Harold Joiner, 4-star prospect, Mountain Brook (Ala.) High School
Joiner is being recruited by Alabama as an athlete, and that’s a problem.
He wants to only be recruited as a running back by the schools he’s considering. Coach Nick Saban, when he offered Joiner, mentioned how the in-state player has the athleticism and build to play wide receiver, tight end and even linebacker. That is a turnoff for Joiner.
He needs to attend camp to get a shot at playing running back for the Tide. Joiner said even if Alabama offered him as a running back down the road, it wouldn’t matter because he feels like early playing time, which is the most important factor in his recruitment, at the position in Tuscaloosa is nearly impossible. The Tide have the most loaded backfield in college football.
“They have like 7 running backs,” Joiner said. “I don’t see how a guy would want to come there and just wait.”
If Joiner is finished growing, he already knows which school he’ll be committing to.
“If I stay 6-3 until like October or November, then it’s going to be LSU,” he said.
I’m not including 5-star prospect Zamir White as a legitimate possibility, even though the staff would love to get his commitment. He is likely going to commit to Georgia next month.