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.
Isaiah Wilson down to three, so where does Alabama stand?
Let’s rewind back to July. Isaiah Wilson, a 5-star offensive tackle from Poly Prep (Brooklyn, N.Y.), visited Tuscaloosa for several days when he attended the Champions Cookout, an invite-only event. Alabama was considered the favorite to land him at the time. Michigan eventually regained momentum with Wilson after multiple trips and now Georgia likes where it stands with him after he took an official visit to Athens last weekend.
With five offensive line commitments in the Class of 2017 and 25 overall commitments, space is very limited. Alabama is happy with the offensive tackles it’s bringing in with 5-star prospect Alex Leatherwood, the nation’s No. 1 junior college offensive lineman Elliot Baker and top 10 offensive tackle Jedrick Wills.
If Alabama did have some additional spots where it could afford to take another offensive tackle, perhaps it would. But the Crimson Tide need several more defensive linemen and at least one more wide receiver in this class. Because of the lack of remaining spots, I do not expect Alabama to be his choice this Friday.
Javon Kinlaw has Alabama in top 3
One of Alabama’s top defensive line targets released his top 3 Wednesday night and Alabama made the cut along with South Carolina and Southern California. But if you’ve been reading SEC Country for a while now, you know this is really just a race between the two SEC schools.
Kinlaw, a 4-star prospect from Jones County Junior College, de-committed from South Carolina in late November, and he has worked his way up the top of Alabama’s wish list on the defensive line. The nation’s No. 1 junior college strong-side defensive end told SEC Country why the Crimson Tide made the cut for him:
“You just can’t turn down the chance to play for one of the top schools in the country,” Kinlaw said. “They just keep telling how much they need me.”
The 6-foot-6, 305-pound prospect said all three of his final schools are the ones he communicates with the most. He will take an official visit to Southern California on Jan. 13, Alabama on Jan. 21 and South Carolina on Jan. 27. He will announce his commitment on Jan. 31.
The school that wins his commitment will have the best criteria for the following two items:
“All I’m looking for is early playing time and good relationships,” Kinlaw said. “Whichever school can give me that is the winner.”
Alabama has two commitments on the defensive line in the Class of 2017 in 4-star defensive tackle Akial Byers and the nation’s No. 1 junior college weak-side defensive end in Isaiah Buggs, who signed his letter of intent to play for the Tide on Wednesday. The Tide would like to add at least two or three more defensive linemen, and Kinlaw is one of those guys.
Buggs talks signing with Alabama
Alabama is in serious need of defensive linemen in this year’s class, and the Crimson Tide officially added one of their biggest targets in Buggs.
With defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Dalvin Tomlinson moving on from the program at the end of the season, signing at least one prospect who could potentially play right away was important for Alabama. The coaching staff has told him that he should expect to see time in the rotation in 2017.
“They expect me to come in and be an impact player right away,” Buggs told Patrick Ochs of the Sun Herald. “Nobody recruits junior college players to come in and sit on the bench. You have to come with it or be left behind.”
The biggest question fans wanted to know is how Alabama — seemingly in no time at all — became the favorite for Buggs over the perceived favorite for months, LSU. He took an official visit to Tuscaloosa this past weekend, but Alabama was seen as the favorite heading into the visit.
It ultimately came down to the coaching staffs at both schools.
“At Alabama, I feel like they have a secure coaching staff with all of the coaches coming back. I know the DC and my D-line coach personally. I know who I’m going to be playing for,” Buggs said. “As for LSU, I didn’t know who was coming back and who was going to be there.”
Expect to see Buggs on the field a lot next season for Alabama.
Two more early enrollees have signed their financial aid agreements
Several of Alabama’s 2017 early enrollees have already signed their financial aid agreements, which guarantees them a scholarship from the University of Alabama.
Those documents are non-binding. They protect the recruit by ensuring the school holds a scholarship for him, but the prospect is still free to choose any school. The benefit for the program is that it allows for unlimited contact between the football staff and the recruit, even once the dead period began this past Monday. Recruits can sign as many financial aid agreements as they want.
Tight end commit Major Tennison and long snapper commit Thomas Fletcher became the latest recruits to sign those papers.
Financial Aid Agreement signed✔️ One step closer to being in Tuscaloosa! pic.twitter.com/ie4sO9jvOk
— Major Tennison (@major_tennison) December 15, 2016
— Thomas Fletcher (@longsnapfletch) December 14, 2016
Tennison and Fletcher join fellow Alabama early enrollees Chadarius Townsend, Dylan Moses and Kyriq McDonald who have signed their paperwork. Baker and Buggs have already signed their letters of intent.
So, for an update on where things stand with the other early enrollees, here’s a list of the commitments who have not signed their financial aid paperwork to SEC Country’s knowledge just yet:
- 5-star running back Najee Harris
- 5-star offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood
- 5-star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy
- 4-star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa
- 4-star linebacker VanDarius Cowan
- 4-star running back Brian Robinson
- 4-star wide receiver Tyrell Shavers
- 4-star safety Daniel Wright
- 3-star center Hunter Brannon
In case you missed it …
I wrote a feature story on Alabama’s first official signee in the Class of 2017, 4-star offensive tackle Elliot Baker. He has an interesting story. Coming out of Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco, Baker had no college offers. He was going to be a firefighter when he finished high school, but a day at high school senior pictures changed everything.
I hope you find the time to read that story. I’m very happy with how it turned out. Make sure you share it with all of your friends.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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