Welcome to the Alabama recruiting mailbag, I am your letter-opener Chris Kirschner.
Questions for the mailbag were submitted to me via my Twitter account, which you can follow here. If you didn’t get a chance to submit your question for this edition of the mailbag, you still can send me questions for future editions by tweeting me or emailing me at email@example.com.
There were A LOT of good questions this week, so let’s dig in.
Are there any 5-stars out there that you think Alabama has a good chance to land/flip that you haven’t mentioned much before?
This is a question that hasn’t been asked to me yet, so I appreciate the creativity here.
Let’s start off with the 5-star prospects that I have mentioned a lot previously: Marvin Wilson, Shaun Wade, Cam Akers and Baron Browning. There are three 5-star prospects who I have briefly mentioned recently but haven’t gone too in-depth on them.
I’ll start with Trey Smith, who is an offensive tackle from Jackson, Tenn. The last time I talked to Smith extensively was back in July at The Opening. At the time, I thought Alabama had a really good chance at landing his commitment. My stance on that changed when his sister, who is very qualified, was hired by Butch Jones to work in the recruiting office. Staying close with family is important to Smith, especially after his mother’s death.
Alabama has two offensive tackle commitments in the Class of 2017 in 5-star Alex Leatherwood and the nation’s No. 1 junior college tackle in Elliot Baker. Smith is arguably the most important recruit for Tennessee, and I think the Volunteers keep him in state. He’s expected to visit for the Texas A&M game next weekend.
Foster Sarell is another 5-star offensive tackle. Sarell, who’s from Washington state, is expected to take his official visit to Alabama for the Auburn game, but it’s a long shot he ends up in the Tide’s class. There’s always a chance to make up ground with a recruit on an official visit, but I think there’s a microscopic chance he ends up signing with Alabama. I believe he’ll end up staying on the West coast.
Joseph Lewis is the last 5-star prospect who I have not talked much about that could possibly end up in Alabama’s class. Like Sarell, I think this is not likely going to happen. Lewis, who is the nation’s No. 2 wide receiver, will take an official to Alabama for the Iron Bowl. Lewis is from California, and I think he’ll stay in state and sign with Southern California.
Do you think there is a chance that LSU commits Jacoby Stevens and Tyler Shelvin look around if LSU has a bad season?
A bad LSU season isn’t going to change these Tigers commitments’ minds; however, another coaching change certainly will.
Will Ed Orgeron get his interim tag removed and become LSU’s permanent coach? That’s a question that remains unknown right now. LSU has a tough remaining schedule, so it’s not going to be easy for Orgeron to win the job.
The word from college football pundits is LSU would like to hire an offensive-minded head coach, and Orgeron’s background is on defense.
As there is with every coaching change, it’s possible the new head coach wipes out the majority of the staff and brings in his own guys.
For the guys you asked about, 5-star safety JaCoby Stevens is a prime Alabama target if Corey Raymond isn’t coaching at LSU in 2017. Stevens has made it clear that he’s 100 percent committed to LSU, but that’s only contingent on if Raymond remains in Baton Rouge. If you remember, when Stevens committed to LSU, Alabama finished No. 2.
Tyler Shelvin, a 4-star defensive tackle from Lafayette, La., remains a mystery. He doesn’t talk to the media much, and he still, somehow, only has two scholarship offers — LSU and Alabama. Shelvin is expected to take an official visit to Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl. He hasn’t visited Alabama in over a year, so there’s some work to do with Shelvin if the Tide did want to flip his commitment.
Do you see Shaun Wade in this class on NSD, and if so, why hasn’t he flipped yet?
I do still expect Alabama to flip 5-star Ohio State cornerback commit Shaun Wade when he makes his final decision in late November or December.
He’s been committed to the Buckeyes for nearly two years, but he’s still weighing his options. This is really only a two-team race, despite what you may read about his interest level in Florida, Michigan and Notre Dame, among others.
Alabama is an intriguing option for the nation’s No. 3 cornerback because it offers nearly the same things Ohio State does — legendary coach, NFL pedigree and the ability to compete for national championships every year.
Wade has told SEC Country previously that he’d like as many family members as possible at his games on Saturdays. Compared to Ohio State, Alabama is more realistic to get that done because a lot of his family lives in Montgomery, Ala., which is where he was born.
I caught up with Wade’s father the other day, and he told me that he and his wife have a closer relationship with the Ohio State staff, but that’s only because their son has been committed for almost two years.
His father said the distance from home is not going to be a factor at all in his son’s decision to either stick with the Buckeyes or sign elsewhere.
“It’s ultimately about the relationships he has with the coaches,” Randy Wade said. “It’s his decision at the end of the day, and people are going to believe what they want. I understand people are going to say (Alabama) is close, but I just think it’s crazy. His relationships with the Alabama staff is going to be what brings him over there and not just because he was born there.”
To answer the last part of your question, he hasn’t flipped yet because Wade wants to take all of his official visits before making a final decision.
What’s the latest with Alabama commit Jhavonte Dean?
Junior college cornerback Jhavonte Dean is definitely in the running for least talked about Class of 2017 Alabama commit. He doesn’t use social media often and doesn’t do many interviews.
That’s no reason to be concerned though. Dean is firmly entrenched in this class and has no plans, as of now, to visit any other schools. Do you want to know how solid a recruit is in their commitment? If they are done with visits elsewhere, that’s example No. 1.
I was told that Dean is expected to take his official visit to Alabama next weekend when the team takes on Texas A&M.
Florida and Miami probably are the biggest contenders at flipping him if those schools were to pursue harder. The 4-star recruit originally is from South Florida. But again, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to Dean’s commitment.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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