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 a 5-star running back who committed to Georgia and an in-state 4-star running back.
Zamir White commits to Georgia
Zamir White, a 5-star running back from Scotland County High School (Laurinburg, N.C.), committed to Georgia on Tuesday. That decision wasn’t a surprise. The Bulldogs were considered the favorite pretty much since White became a national recruit.
What is surprising was Alabama, not North Carolina, being the runner-up to Georgia. Heading into White’s decision, the Tar Heels were thought to be the Bulldogs’ biggest competitor because he had taken two recent trips to UNC and his best friend, Jonathan Smith, is on the team. White and Smith are pretty much brothers.
So, how was Alabama squarely in the race leading up to White’s decision? The nation’s No. 1 running back made a trip on June 3 to Tuscaloosa with his mother, Shanee, whose birthday was on Tuesday. Since then, White had been in daily talks with the Alabama staff. Several of those conversations were initiated by White himself.
That doesn’t seem like a recruit whose mind was made up a month ago, which he told our Jeff Sentell, who was on the ground at Scotland County High School.
“Georgia is just Georgia to me,” White said. “I’ve known about them and loved them since my freshman year. Georgia has basically been leading for me ever since then.”
White said that he liked Alabama at about “75 percent” of how he felt about UGA. In the end, Georgia’s appealing depth chart won him over. The Bulldogs will lose both of their key running backs after this season in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Compare that to the Tide: It’s possible, but not likely, that Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris return after next season. Even if they left, the Tide have four capable RBs behind them in Josh Jacobs, BJ Emmons, Najee Harris and Brian Robinson.
“Playing time was just huge for me,” he said. “I should be able to play early there.”
The Army All-American has been compared to former Georgia running back Todd Gurley. There are several people in the state of North Carolina who think White is better than Gurley when he was being recruited out of North Carolina.
With White’s commitment, he becomes the 11th top-10 RB in the ESPN300 era to choose Georgia. The Bulldogs have zero national championships and zero SEC championships in that time period.
All eyes on Asa Martin now
Now that White is off the board, all of the attention shifts to 4-star running back Asa Martin out of Austin High School (Decatur, Ala.). Martin now is the clear top target at the position in the Class of 2018.
If White had committed to the Tide, the team would have also taken Martin’s commitment if he decided to play for it, too. Martin will make his decision on Aug. 24 from finalists Alabama, Auburn and Florida.
I like where Alabama stands with Martin as of today. The Crimson Tide, led by offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, have prioritized Martin since he picked up his offer at A-Day in April. Daboll visited Martin multiple times during the evaluation period and saw him in action at his spring game, where he rushed 8 times for 99 yards and 1 touchdown, with a 67-yard receiving score.
When SEC Country visited with the in-state prospect in April, Florida was his leader and Auburn was in second place. Before he was offered by Alabama, he told us that he felt like he wasn’t a good fit for the Tide’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. Alabama likes the fact that Martin is a true three-down running back and has the catching abilities to even line up in the slot on some plays.
“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 said.
From talking with sources close to both Auburn and Florida, both programs have lost the confidence they once held in potentially getting Martin’s commitment. My prediction on which running backs sign with those programs? Harold Joiner goes to Auburn and former Alabama commit Dameon Pierce chooses Florida.
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