Alabama is on the hunt for its seventh straight recruiting championship. Join us here on SEC Country for a daily recap of Alabama recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind the scenes, and for a glimpse at what’s coming next.
ORLANDO, Fla. — SEC Country is live in the heart of “The Happiest Place on Earth,” as some of the top high school football players in the nation will converge on ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex for the Under Armour All-America Game.
As is standard, Alabama will be well-represented in the game, with eight commitments, the most of any school. The Crimson Tide also have numerous uncommitted targets in the event, which takes place a few miles from Walt Disney World. Those recruits most likely will be courted by the Alabama commitments.
That’s important because a few of those players are expected to announce where they’ll play college football at the game.
Here is a breakdown of the current ‘Bama commits and targets who fans should be paying attention to on New Year’s Day at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN:
Dylan Moses, 5-star LB (Baton Rouge, La.) | Team Armour — Moses recently announced that his recruitment was finally over. He has signed his financial aid agreement and will be in Tuscaloosa this January.
Alex Leatherwood, 5-star OT (Pensacola, Fla.) | Team Armour — Like Moses, Leatherwood announced that he was done entertaining other schools by saying he could only see himself at one college. Alabama will be home for him for the next three to four years. He had taken multiple visits elsewhere, but they were, in the end, just free trips. Leatherwood will be in Tuscaloosa next month.
Jerry Jeudy, 5-star WR (Pompano Beach, Fla.) | Team Armour — Jeudy tried to keep a recent Miami official visit under wraps, but he failed in that plan. It didn’t matter, though, announcing that his recruitment was over. Jeudy will be an early enrollee.
Christopher Allen, 4-star LB (Baton Rouge, La.) | Team Highlight — Allen committed to Alabama shortly after the Iron Bowl. He won’t be an early enrollee, but he’s 100 percent committed to the Crimson Tide despite LSU doing everything it can to change his mind.
Markail Benton, 4-star LB (Phenix City, La.) | Team Armour — Since committing in June, Benton has not visited any other school besides Alabama. He has no plans to take any official visits elsewhere in January. He’s locked in with the Tide.
Akial Byers, 4-star DT (Fayetteville, Ark.) | Team Armour — Byers is somewhat of a mystery. He doesn’t talk to the media, so this event will be our best shot to interact with him. He hasn’t visited any other school since committing. There are some concerns on whether he’ll be able to qualify as he has some academic work to do before making it to college.
Jedrick Wills, 4-star OT (Lexington, Ky.) | Team Highlight — Wills has visited Kentucky since committing to Alabama in November, but it’s nothing to worry about. His high school is just a few miles away from Kentucky. He will start his college career this summer.
Daniel Wright, 4-star S (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) | Team Highlight — Wright flipped his commitment from Florida State to Alabama earlier this month. It came as no surprise. He was on flip watch since mid-November before making the final decision this month. Wright will be in Tuscaloosa next month.
DeAngelo Gibbs, 4-star S (Loganville, Ga.) | Team Highlight — Gibbs will announce his commitment Sunday. His decision is expected to come down to Alabama and Georgia. The Crimson Tide have liked where they stood with Gibbs ever since his official visit to Tuscaloosa on Oct. 22 for the Texas A&M game. This recruitment is too close right now to offer a prediction.
Todd Harris, 4-star S (Plaquemine, La.) | Team Armour — Harris was viewed as one of Alabama’s top safety targets, but he got passed by Wright and Gibbs. Could he become the team’s main focus at safety if Gibbs chooses Georgia? It’s possible.
Chris Henderson, 4-star CB (Miami) | Team Armour — Henderson has emerged over the past few weeks as a possible addition to Alabama’s class. The Tide have ramped up their recruitment of him, but it still remains to be seen if the Tide will decide to add a corner. Henderson is thought to be leaning toward Florida at this time. He will visit Tuscaloosa on Jan. 13.
Ryan Johnson, 4-star DE (Mobile, Ala.) | Team Armour — Johnson looked like a likely addition to the Tide’s class over the summer, but other defensive line targets have emerged. He is likely a backup option at this point as other targets are viewed as being higher on the big board.
Joshua Kaindoh, 5-star DE (Bradenton, Fla.) | Team Highlight — Kaindoh took an official visit to Tuscaloosa a few weeks ago, but Florida State and Penn State are viewed as the favorites. He’s expected to announce his commitment on Sunday. I don’t think Alabama will be his choice.
Phidarian Mathis, 4-star DE (Monroe, La.) | Team Highlight — Mathis’ recruitment is still viewed as an LSU-Alabama race for the Louisiana prospect. Sources close to his recruitment have said that he has been close to committing to both schools. Even with the Tide’s signing of Isaiah Buggs, Mathis remains a “take” for Alabama.
Anthony McFarland, 4-star RB (Hyattsville, Md.) | Team Highlight — The only way McFarland joins the class is if 5-star running back Najee Harris flips his commitment. He’s down to Alabama, Miami and Maryland but expect him to choose somewhere else if Harris sticks with his commitment.
Xavier McKinney, 4-star S (Roswell, Ga.) | Team Highlight — McKinney was once committed to Alabama. He decided to de-commit to make sure he was making the right decision. Some Crimson Tide fans on Twitter sent him some very negative messages. He hasn’t forgotten about them. It’s hard seeing him back in this class, but the coaching staff has continued to recruit him.
LaBryan Ray, 4-star DE (Madison, Ala.) | Team Highlight — It would be shocking to see Ray in any other jersey but an Alabama one come 2017. He is arguably the most important recruit the Tide need to get before signing day.
JaCoby Stevens, 5-star S (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) | Team Armour — LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond was given an extension by the Tigers on Dec. 19. Stevens likely will stick with his commitment to LSU.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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