It sure has been a happy 2016 for Alabama fans. The Crimson Tide won the national championship earlier this year and finished with the No. 1 recruiting class in 2016. The Tide have positioned themselves for both of those accomplishments once again.
But what happens if things go awry during the next couple weeks? Though unlikely, what could be the worst-case scenarios for Nick Saban and Alabama in the 2017 recruiting class? Let’s take a look.
Najee Harris flips to Michigan
The possibility of Najee Harris, the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit, not being in Alabama’s class has picked up steam during the past month after he took an official visit to Michigan shortly before the dead period went into effect. It was the last school he visited as a recruit.
Michigan has grown confident in flipping Harris, but several sources close to Alabama have told SEC Country that he will stick with his commitment to the Crimson Tide when he chooses to announce a final decision.
But, if something changes in the next few weeks and he flips to Michigan, that would be a crushing blow to the Crimson Tide, considering Harris may be the best running back recruit since Adrian Peterson.
Alabama does have four talented running backs currently on the roster in Damien Harris, Joshua Jacobs, B.J. Emmons and Bo Scarbrough, and another tailback in the 2017 class in 4-star prospect Brian Robinson, but none may have the upside that Harris possesses.
LaBryan Ray chooses Tennessee
Ever since the 4-star defensive end picked up his offer from Alabama, it has seemed like a virtual slam dunk that LaBryan Ray would be a part of the Crimson Tide’s signing class. The only question would be when he’d actually make his decision.
While it still remains unknown when Ray actually will make a commitment, what is clear is that he is one of Alabama’s biggest priorities in the Class of 2017, so losing him to another SEC school would be a big blow. Tennessee has been Alabama’s biggest competition for Ray. His coach at James Clemens High School (Madison, Ala.) made some eyebrow-raising comments to SEC Country recently about where Ray’s recruitment stands.
“He’s not leaning anywhere,” Wade Waldrop told SEC Country. “There are people writing that he’s a heavy lean here or there. I can tell you right now and I would tell God and everybody that he has zero clue where he’s going. He does not know. All these people writing all this stuff about Alabama is the furthest thing from the truth.”
Mostly everyone in the recruiting industry, myself included, think Ray will choose Alabama, but maybe it’s not a lock?
“I would not be surprised if it is Tennessee,” Waldrop said. “It just would not surprise me because of the relationship there. It is crazy how hard the coaches on that staff want him for their team.”
Alabama misses out on one more WR
Henry Ruggs III and DeVonta Smith have been major Alabama targets since the beginning of the year, but both 4-star wide receivers have kept their eyes on other schools.
Both recruits originally were expected to announce their commitments in August, but they delayed any decision until National Signing Day. It was looking like Alabama was going to be the pick for both if they ended up committing, as both were considered the biggest locks for the class at the time.
Things aren’t so certain now. Ruggs has given considerable attention to Florida and Florida State, while Smith has given extra attention to LSU, the in-state school.
I don’t think it’s likely Alabama misses on both of these guys. It’s more so likely that one of them chooses a school not named Alabama.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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