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 5-star safety Tyreke Johnson and 4-star wide receiver Kearis Jackson.
Tyreke Johnson not hearing much from Alabama
SNELLVILLE, Ga. — It’s clear who is and who isn’t a priority for college programs when you ask recruits how often they are hearing from a particular school. The priorities usually receive multiple messages a week, if not every single day. The targets who hear from a school once every two weeks are usually not priorities for the coaching staff.
Tyreke Johnson, a 5-star defensive back from Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.), hears from Alabama once every two weeks. A sign that he isn’t being prioritized by the staff. You may think it’s odd that the Crimson Tide are not all in with a 5-star prospect, but the team did it this past year with 5-star cornerback Shaun Wade, who also attended Trinity Christian.
Wade, who signed with Ohio State, looked like a safe bet to end up flipping to Alabama at some point, but he stuck with the Buckeyes. He wasn’t prioritized by the staff near the end of his recruitment. One source told SEC Country that the team just wasn’t as high on him as his ranking suggested.
When asked what Johnson’s interest level currently is in Alabama, he answered honestly.
“I just don’t know,” Johnson said. “It’s one of those things where I have to get back down there and be reminded of who Alabama is and what they’re doing. I also need to take another look at their depth chart.”
Some recruits take a lack of communication with a school personally. Some just take it as one of those things that just happens in recruiting. Johnson is the latter. He’s a very smart kid. He has a 3.9 GPA. His only “B” came in calculus. When he gets to college, he wants to double major in business and finance with the hopes of “monopolizing” a real estate agency when he’s done with football.
At one point, Johnson was very high on Alabama because of his relationship with Tide defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Now, the relationship between him and Alabama seems to be fading.
“It is what it is,” Johnson said. “If I wanted to go to their school, I would go to that school whether you recruit me or not and as long as I have a committable offer.”
Johnson said he’s been told by the Crimson Tide staff that he does, in fact, have a “committable offer.” Whether that’s true or not isn’t clear. What can be said is Alabama’s top defensive back targets are Tyson Campbell, Josh Jobe, Kyler McMichael, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Kelvin Joseph and Jaycee Horn.
The nation’s No. 2 safety, who is strongly considering Florida, Georgia, Ohio State and UCLA, said there are some times where he feels like college coaches just tell him what he wants to hear. He also got a close look at the recruiting process because his brother, DeAndre Johnson, was a highly sought after quarterback prospect. DeAndre signed with Florida State before transferring to Florida Atlantic.
DeAndre’s advice to his little brother has been to research these schools for himself and not just rely on what coaches say.
“He has told me to not fall for the bullcrap that a lot of these coaches try to sell,” Johnson said of his brother’s advice to him. “Every coach makes their school look like the closest thing to heaven. It’s one of those things where you have to ask the players if it’s really as good as the coaches say.
“Also, some schools have told me they’re the No. 1 academic school in their conference and then I pull up the actual list and catch them in a dead lie.”
The Army All-American said he would like to visit Tuscaloosa this summer, but no visit is set yet. Barring a major shift in his recruitment, I would not expect Johnson to end up a member of Alabama’s 2018 class.
Kearis Jackson feels like a priority at Alabama
There are two major slot receiver targets in the Class of 2018 for Alabama, Jacob Copeland and Jaylen Waddle. Kearis Jackson is starting to enter the conversation.
Jackson, a 4-star prospect from Peach County High School (Fort Valley, Ga.), told SEC Country that he spoke with Nick Saban last week. During that phone call, Saban confirmed with him that he would like for Jackson to play slot wide receiver at Alabama. Before that call, Jackson was recruited as an athlete. There was some talk that he could play cornerback, but he wants to specifically play receiver in college.
Alabama signed four wide receivers last year. That doesn’t scare Jackson off. The Tide would like to add two tall receivers (Justyn Ross and Seth Williams) and a slot receiver this year.
“They’re basically trying to create a basketball team at the wide receiver position,” Jackson said. “They have a lot of targets this year who are very tall. They also want a short and fast guy like me.”
When most people discuss Jackson’s recruitment, it usually starts and ends with Georgia. The Bulldogs are the overwhelming favorite to land Jackson when he makes his college decision.
He wants schools to know that he is open and not locked in with UGA.
“Georgia is not the only school in it for me,” Jackson said. “I have a couple of big visits coming up. I’m going to Big Cat Weekend at Auburn this Saturday and then Alabama on Sunday. I’m still trying to enjoy my recruitment. I like Georgia a lot, but there are still other schools in it for me.”
That visit to Alabama this weekend will be the first time he’s been to Tuscaloosa. That’s important because recruits’ interest level in the Crimson Tide can’t be taken too seriously without ever stepping foot on campus.
Jackson said he hears from Alabama twice every two weeks, but if Saban reaches out, that means that player is important. The 5-foot-11.5 inch, 203-pound prospect said Saban told him to not worry about the depth at wide receiver when he sits down and thinks about the Crimson Tide.
“They told me that they signed a lot of guys last year and it will probably make me think differently about Alabama, but those guys are much taller than me,” Jackson said. “They’re all going to be fighting to play the same position, but I’m just going to be focused on the slot.”
As far as what he is looking forward to seeing in Tuscaloosa this weekend?
“I hope everything is as top-notch as all of the other schools I have visited,” Jackson said. “I’ve heard they have some really nice facilities and of course they have a great program. I just can’t wait to see it.”
The nation’s No. 20 wide receiver’s athleticism was on full display last month at the Georgia state track championships. He won a state championship in the shot put event after tossing a 12-pound shot 51 feet, 4 inches. He’s also been timed at 4.57 in the 40-yard dash. There aren’t many receivers with that combination in the nation.