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.
Only one official visitor for Alabama this weekend
Alabama is expected to just have one official visitor this weekend: 4-star cornerback Chris Henderson from Columbus High School (Miami). Crimson Tide 4-star linebacker commit Chris Allen was supposed to take an official visit this weekend, too, but he has decided to push it back to next weekend, according to a source close to the program.
Henderson is currently the only cornerback Alabama is recruiting at this time. As I reported a few weeks ago, the team isn’t sure if it wants to add a true cover cornerback in the Class of 2017. Getting a cornerback doesn’t need to be a priority for the team if Marlon Humphrey decides to stay at Alabama for one more season. The Tide signed four cornerbacks in the Class of 2016 and have three defensive backs — but no corners — this year.
Florida has been viewed as the favorite for Henderson ever since he de-committed from Miami last fall. That’s where I expect him to commit, but if Alabama tells Henderson it wants him, then perhaps there will be a reshuffling of plans in his recruitment.
The Under Armour All-American spoke with SEC Country earlier this month about what Alabama is telling him.
“Just come in and dominate because they produce guys to the NFL,” Henderson told SEC Country at the Under Armour game check-in.
The 6-foot, 175-pound prospect was visited by defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley during the last contact period. While he may have better relationships with the coaching staffs at Florida and Miami, the school he de-committed from, Henderson said he’s starting to build a solid relationship with the Tide DBs coach.
“Me and coach Ansley get along well,” Henderson said. “I think we would — if I got him to coach me.”
Henderson said Alabama, Florida and Miami are his final three schools. He’ll make his commitment known on National Signing Day, which is Feb. 1.
Where other targets are visiting
Here’s a list of where other Alabama commits and targets are visiting this weekend:
• Jhavonte Dean, 3-star Alabama CB commit — Miami (flip watch)
• Henry Ruggs, 4-star WR — Florida State
• Aubrey Solomon, 5-star DT — Southern California
• LaBryan Ray, 4-star DE — Tennessee
• Jarez Parks, 4-star JACK — Florida
• DeVonta Smith, 4-star WR — LSU
• Elijah Conliffe, 4-star DT — Tennessee
• Phidarian Mathis, 4-star DT — LSU
• Javon Kinlaw, 4-star DT — Southern California
• Devon Hunter, 4-star S — Florida
• Todd Harris, 4-star S — LSU
• Markaviest Bryant, 4-star JACK — Georgia
• Ryan Johnson, 4-star DE — Stanford
Which recruits received visits from coaches on Thursday?
The contact period started at midnight on Thursday, and Alabama coaches wasted no time seeing some of the team’s top targets.
Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, defensive line coach Karl Dunbar and outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi visited Lee County High School (Leesburg, Ga.) to see Solomon, a 5-star defensive tackle. The Alabama staff ran into Georgia defensive line coach Tracy Rocker and outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer while there.
Solomon told SEC Country last week that Alabama holds a “huge lead” for his commitment, while Michigan is his No. 2 school and Georgia is in the No. 3 spot.
Dead Period is over. First stop for Alabama and UGA this morning is Lee County pic.twitter.com/13TARefVOK
— Coach Pych (@pychke) January 12, 2017
Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and offensive line coach Brent Key made a stop at Bob Jones High School (Madison, Ala.) to see 4-star Alabama offensive line commit Kendall Randolph. Randolph is 100 percent committed to Alabama, even though he may take an official visit to Florida later this month. Sarkisian and Key also traveled to Lexington, Ky., to see 4-star offensive line commit Jedrick Wills. Though Kentucky is right down the road from his high school, Wills is 100 percent locked in with Alabama and isn’t planning to visit other schools.
Wide reveivers coach Billy Napier visited 4-star wide receiver DeVonta Smith at Amite (La.) High School. Smith, along with 4-star wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, is one of Alabama’s top wide receiver targets in the Class of 2017.
Defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley and coach Nick Saban stopped by Central High School (Phenix City, Ala.) to see 4-star Alabama linebacker commit Markail Benton and 2018 4-star wide receiver Justyn Ross. Benton was supposed to visit Georgia this weekend, but he canceled that trip. Instead, he’ll have surgery on his shoulder and knee on Friday morning.
Just in case you’re still a non-believer …
Here is the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in Alabama’s weight room getting ready for the 2017 season.
Here's Najee Harris working out at Alabama today. pic.twitter.com/oaAS8DkM8w
— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) January 13, 2017
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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