Well, we sure have a lot to discuss.
Alabama will look to replace a top assistant after allegations of possible recruiting violations surfaced. The Tide could have their quarterback commitment in the Class of 2017 Monday as well. We begin this week’s mailbag with those two pressing questions.
Each week, we hope to answer some of the most pressing questions asked by our readers. You can either ask me on Twitter (@ChrisK_AJC) or comment below this article and we’ll use the best ones for next week’s mailbag.
That said, here are the top questions from our readers this week.
Are we screwed with defensive line recruits now?
In case you missed it on Thursday, Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis is expected to be fired or resign due to possible recruiting violations.
Davis is one of the best recruiters in the country, and was the main recruiter of record for some of Alabama’s major targets, including five-star defensive linemen Marvin Wilson and Tyler Shelvin. He also recruited Cam Akers, the nation’s No. 2 running back.
Wilson tweeted that he was done with Alabama after the Davis news broke. SEC Country confirmed that the nation’s No. 1 defensive tackle was serious about him no longer being interested in Alabama anymore.
I would not put much stock into that statement. I’d wait until we see who the next coach is going to be. Some recruits say many things that turn out to be either false or just a quick emotional reaction that they backtrack on at some point.
The loss of Davis will hurt momentarily, but Alabama will be fine. The Tide will continue rolling on, and they’ll keep on getting the most elite players to commit to the program, as long as the championships keep piling up.
What do you think our chances are for landing Tua (Tagovailoa)?
I will be shocked if Tua Tagovailoa, the nation’s No. 2 dual-threat quarterback from Saint Louis School (Honolulu) does not commit to Alabama on Monday.
As I have written recently, Tagovailoa’s father, Galu, told me right after his trip to Alabama, Ole Miss and Auburn, that if a decision was to be made at that time, his son would be a member of the Crimson Tide. That mainly stems from the family’s relationship with the coaching staff.
“Our relationship with them got better on this visit,” Galu said. “Right now, we are kind of gauging toward Alabama only because of the relationships we have with (offensive coordinator) Lane Kiffin and (Coach) Nick Saban.
“That’s the family’s favorite, and mainly Tua’s right now.”
Since Tagovailoa’s trip to the Southeastern United States, I have not gotten any information on that stance changing or even wavering.
It also needs to be noted that the family has talked about the possibility of moving closer to their son if he did choose Alabama. His father admitted that he had talked about possibly looking for jobs in the Mobile area.
Even if a move did not work out for the family, his mother said she would be OK with sending her son 4,000 miles away from home for college.
“I was just sharing with him that if he didn’t have all of these (three SEC) offers and had just one, the SEC would be the one to go with,” Diane Tagovailoa said at the time. “To me, you can’t go wrong choosing any of the SEC schools.”
What also makes me confident about predicting Tagovailoa in this class is the fact that Southern California, Alabama’s main competition, has already offered another elite QB in the 2017 class, four-star Davis Mills, a Stanford commit. That tells me the Trojans aren’t confident with Tagovailoa choosing them.
Do you really think we have a shot at landing Shaun Wade this cycle?
This has been a very popular question as of late. Since we’ve started doing this mailbag, I think I’ve gotten a question about Shaun Wade, the five-star cornerback from Trinity Christian High School (Jacksonville, Fla.), every week.
I think there’s a very good chance Alabama will land his commitment at some point. He has told me that Alabama is his No. 2 school behind Ohio State, which is the program he is currently committed to.
“I have a great interest level in Alabama right now,” Wade said a few weeks ago. “I get along with all of the coaches and that’s where I’m from. I grew up there and was raised there.”
The Montgomery native expanded on why he thinks Alabama is currently his No. 2 school
“It’s close to home. They’re talking really well to me,” Wade said. “Those are the two main reasons right now. They would develop me as a player and could help me play any DB position — safety or corner. I could come in and play whatever. They aren’t just going to develop me as a one-side corner.”
Wade is also considering Florida, USC, Notre Dame and Stanford. He said Alabama may have a leg up over those schools in an important area.
“He’s getting to know me on a personal level,” Wade said of Alabama defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley. “Some coaches don’t really try to get to know me, all they want to talk about is football 24/7. (Ansley) is trying to get to know who I am as a kid.”
If I was making a bet, Wade, the nation’s No. 3 cornerback, will be a member of the Crimson Tide in 2017.
Are there any JUCO defensive linemen that we are after in 2017?
As of now, the only 2017 junior college defensive lineman I’m familiar with is Isaiah Buggs, the nation’s No. 1 defensive end in junior college.
Buggs, a 6-foot-5, 280-pounder from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, is very interested in Alabama. Some believe he currently favors the Crimson Tide, though he does not have a public leader. He recently cut his list of offers down to 10 schools, and Alabama did make the cut. He is expected to visit Tuscaloosa in the coming months.
Though LSU did not make that top 10 list that he revealed a few weeks ago, I would not count the Tigers out just yet. He is from Louisiana and LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron has made Buggs a priority.
Even if Alabama doesn’t land Buggs or any JUCO defensive lineman in 2017, the Tide are after several elite players who could make an immediate impact. That list includes five-stars Tyler Shelvin and Marvin Wilson and four-stars LaBryan Ray, Ryan Johnson and Aubrey Solomon, to name a few.
Don’t forget that 2016 JUCO defensive end Josiah Coatney makes his commitment on May 5. It’s expected to come down to Alabama and Ole Miss. I liked where Alabama stood before the Davis news broke. I can’t say where the Crimson Tide stand now with no defensive line coach.
Is Trey Smith really that good and are we in the race for him?
ESPN released its rankings for the 2017 class a few days ago and the offensive tackle from University School of Jackson (Jackson, Tenn.) was rated as the nation’s No. 1 player.
In my opinion, Smith is not the top player in the country. That’s not to say he’s not good — he definitely is. He’s rated as the nation’s No. 11 offensive tackle according to the 247Sports Composite.
Alabama is in the mix to land Smith when he ends up committing to his school of choice. The 6-foot-5, 302-pounder grew up an Alabama fan and is a priority to the coaching staff.
“The program speaks for itself. Their resume speaks for itself,” Smith recently told SEC Country. “They might have one of the best coaches of all time. There’s definitely a standard of excellence down there. Alabama is definitely a school I’m interested in.”
Tennessee should also be considered a top contender for Smith. I’d look for the Tide and Volunteers to battle it out to the end.
That’s all for this week’s mailbag. Make sure to comment below with your questions that could be featured next week.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.