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.
Cam Akers committing next week
It’s crazy to think about, but Alabama had Najee Harris and Cam Akers committed in the same recruiting class at one point. Akers eventually de-committed from Alabama in March.
It was going to be very hard to sign both prospects because of how elite they are. Akers can easily be the lead back at a different school and not have to worry about beating out the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit for carries.
The 5-star prospect from Clinton (Miss.) High School announced on Tuesday night that he’ll no longer announce a commitment at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7. Instead, he’ll make his commitment known Dec. 27 on www.nfhsnetwork.com at 8 p.m. ET. Alabama, along with LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida State, are his finalists.
The only way I can see Akers in Alabama’s class once again is if Harris flipped before next Wednesday, which isn’t likely happening. Even then, with him announcing a commitment next week, it would still be highly unlikely that he chooses Alabama. He didn’t visit Tuscaloosa all fall and hasn’t since he de-committed, to my knowledge.
Alabama continued recruiting Akers after his de-commitment. He even told SEC Country this summer that he believed the Crimson Tide were recruiting him even harder than what they were when he was committed; however, the staff couldn’t turn that into a visit before his commitment. He was supposed to take an official visit to Tuscaloosa for the Texas A&M game, but he never made it.
Florida State, LSU and Ole Miss are the main contenders for Akers.
Akial Byers still fighting through academic struggles
It’s been said before here on SEC Country that 4-star defensive tackle commit Akial Byers had to overcome some academic issues in order to qualify. He’s still fighting through those issues as 2016 comes to an end; however, there’s growing confidence that he’ll be able to enroll.
Fayetteville (Ark.) High School coach Benji Mahan wouldn’t disclose the exact issue Byers is facing, citing Byers’ academic privacy, but he did say that the Under Armour All-American is working hard on making sure he gets to Tuscaloosa this summer.
“He is closer now than he has ever been to clearing those hurdles,” Mahan said. “I just know that the plan is much clearer and the hurdles don’t seem as high. I can say that there are some fantastic people at Fayetteville High School and at the University of Alabama that are mindful of keeping the students as their top priority.”
Mahan said the Alabama staff has remained in close contact with Byers throughout this process and has provided support to him as he continues to work toward graduating from high school.
“They’ve been outstanding,” Mahan said. “Just more proof of why they are so consistent in their success.”
We’ll get a chance to see Byers next week at the Under Armour All-America Game, where we hope to get more of an understanding as to where he stands with his academic work. Byers has definitely been the most mysterious recruit in this class. I’ve never spoken to him and haven’t seen quotes from him anywhere since he made his commitment to Alabama in July.
If Byers becomes an academic casualty who has to attend junior college, much like what Alabama 2016 signee Kendell “Hulk” Jones had to do, there are several defensive linemen that the Tide are in the mix to bring to Tuscaloosa. Outside of top defensive line targets Aubrey Solomon and LaBryan Ray, Alabama also is heavily recruiting 4-star defensive tackle prospects Javon Kinlaw and Phidarian Mathis. The Tide were also viewed as the favorite at one point for 4-star defensive tackle Elijah Conliffe. He’s considered to be a backup option at this point.
Alabama commits announce their future numbers
Several Alabama commitments have announced which numbers they are going to wear when they get to college. Five-star linebacker Dylan Moses said he’ll wear No. 7 next season. Five-star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy said he’ll wear No. 4 and 5-star offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood will don No. 70.
I’d caution those who may want to be one of the first to get a custom jersey of your favorite recruit to wait until they actually get on campus. I’m not saying they are going to de-commit. They’re solid with their commitments. But numbers do change.
Mack Wilson, who was a 5-star linebacker in the 2016 class, said he was going to wear No. 3 when he got to college. He ended up wearing No. 30. So, hold off on those custom jerseys you may ask for this holiday season and wait until spring practice begins.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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