Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting, with Chris Kirschner. Today, we discuss the latest with Devonta Smith and a new defensive back prospect who we may need to watch closer.
Devonta Smith’s surprise official has new team in the mix
Nowadays, it’s hard to take a “surprise” recruiting trip anywhere with the world of social media. But, somehow, 4-star wide receiver and major Alabama target Devonta Smith pulled it off this past weekend when the Louisiana native visited Florida State.
The Seminoles now are in a four-team race with the Crimson Tide, LSU and Miami. SEC Country’s Sam Spiegelman caught up with Smith at Amite (La.) High School on Wednesday to get the latest on how his official visit to FSU affects his recruitment, and it’s not bad news for Alabama.
“They’re in the top 4,” Smith said. He did say that the Seminoles remain behind Alabama, LSU and Miami, which all hold the top spots in his recruitment.
Alabama wide receivers coach Billy Napier was in Amite on Wednesday to meet with Smith and his coaches. Smith has previously said that out of all the coaches he talks to, he may not be closer to any coach than Napier.
As written multiple times on SEC Country, the relationships Smith has at Alabama trump those at the other three schools in the mix. Alabama’s assistant director of player personnel Sam Petitto got his coaching start at Amite High School and was an influential person in Smith’s life when he was growing up. Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt was one of Smith’s primary recruiters when he was at Georgia, where Smith was once committed. He’s also good friends with Alabama freshman defensive back Shyheim Carter.
Smith has been to Tuscaloosa countless times and will be back there this weekend on an official visit. He doesn’t need to see anything else for him to make a decision on whether Alabama is the school he’ll commit to on National Signing Day. This trip this weekend is mainly for his mother to get a feel for the school.
“This is really for my family to get the feeling of how it is,” Smith said.
LSU is still viewed as the biggest competitor for Smith, but one source close to the program said the Tigers’ confidence in having him in their signing class is waning.
Tigers offensive coordinator Matt Canada and wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig have been all in on making Smith feel like a priority. Their message to Smith on why he should choose LSU is interesting.
“Come be different and come to LSU,” Smith said. “Be different. Don’t go places where they talk about throwing the ball. Here, it’s opening up. It’s opening up.”
I’m not sure if the LSU staff is taking a veiled shot at Alabama when talking about the Tide’s offense or not. But Alabama is surely a run-first offense and has been for quite some time.
Even with that being said, Alabama should be considered the favorite to land Smith when he makes his commitment. He was set to commit to the Tide back in August but ultimately delayed his decision due to the tragic flooding that swept through the state. Nothing has changed since then, and spending this weekend around all of the Alabama commits and coaches should reassure Smith of his likely college destination.
Speed on Alabama’s radar
Nick Saban, while out on his recruiting tour, made an interesting pit stop in Jacksonville, Fla., on Wednesday. Saban stopped in at Sandalwood High School, which is the home of 4-star cornerback Ameer Speed.
We mentioned Speed back in the summer when he attended Saban’s football camp and how he was looking for an offer from the Crimson Tide, but it never came. Even with Saban’s meeting on Wednesday, an offer still hasn’t happened just yet.
According to a source close to Alabama, though, the team is looking to bring him in on an official visit in the next two weeks, and it’s possible he’s in Tuscaloosa this weekend. Speed is expected to visit Oregon, but he is open to canceling that trip to go to Alabama with the hopes of possibly earning a scholarship offer.
There are two defensive backs higher on the board for Alabama at this time: 4-star cornerback Chris Henderson and 4-star safety Todd Harris. If those guys go elsewhere, Speed could be the back-up option.
He’s someone to keep an eye on moving forward.
Robinson cancels Alabama visit
In not-so-surprising news, 4-star wide receiver James Robinson is no longer visiting Alabama this weekend. Instead, he’ll take an official visit to Ohio State.
It was always strange as to why Robinson would travel to Alabama this late in the recruiting process because he’s not a guy the Crimson Tide seriously considered. The main wide receiver targets have been 4-star prospects Smith and Henry Ruggs III.
Alabama is confident it can land at least one of those prospects listed above. Nico Collins, a 4-star wide receiver from Clay-Chalkville High School (Pinson, Ala.), remains in the mix, too. Robinson never had a chance to be in Alabama’s class, so canceling this trip isn’t a bad thing.
Saban in a helicopter
Nick Saban was in Florida on Wednesday to recruit several of Alabama’s top targets. He showed up to the schools in style.
Here he is with 4-star JACK prospect Jarez Parks in Sebastian, Fla.:
— Eric Hasert (@TCPalmHasert) January 18, 2017
Here is Saban landing at Bolles High School in Jacksonville, Fla., to see 4-star Alabama quarterback commit Mac Jones:
— Mac Jones (@macjones2017) January 18, 2017
Saban also arrived at Providence High School in Jacksonville to see 2018 4-star tight end Will Mallory:
— T.CallahanFoundation (@TC22Foundation) January 18, 2017
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All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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