Alabama had its spring game last Saturday, but the Crimson Tide’s top commit was at a different scrimmage. We begin this week’s mailbag with a question about Najee Harris, the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit who has been committed to Alabama for a year now.
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), email: email@example.com or comment below this article and we’ll use the best ones for next week’s mailbag.
With that being said, here are the top questions from our readers this week.
Seeing Najee Harris at Ohio State this past weekend is concerning. What are the chances he stays committed and getting a recommit from Cam Akers and are there any other running backs you see committing?
I think the chances of Harris staying committed are good. Even though he wasn’t at Alabama’s spring game and decided to attend Ohio State’s, I still think he’s a strong commit.
He visited Alabama earlier this year for a couple of days and from all accounts, he told the staff that he was strongly committed. He’s still going to take other visits elsewhere and he has every right to because it’s his recruitment. Expect him to take all five official visits, too.
Akers de-committed from Alabama last month, but the Crimson Tide’s recruitment of the elite running back hasn’t stopped.
In fact, it may be better than it was when he called himself an Alabama commit.
“They continuously contact me, daily,” Akers told SEC Country at Nike’s “The Opening” regional camp in New Orleans on Sunday. “It’s not just me they are recruiting, either. They are always hitting up my mom to tell her to tell me to call them.”
When he de-committed from Alabama, Akers made it clear that he was still going to consider the Crimson Tide. Right now, I think Georgia is the strongest competition Alabama needs to worry about.
The 5-foot-11, 212-pounder is expected to make a visit to Alabama in the coming months. He did say that if Alabama continues to recruit him at a high level, then he would have no reservations about re-choosing the Crimson Tide.
Other RBs that could end up choosing Alabama: Anthony McFarland (Hyattsville, Md.), D’Andre Swift (Philadelphia), Bruce Jordan-Swilling (New Orleans) and Travis Etienne (Jennings, La.)
Don’t forget Alabama also has a commitment from Brian Robinson, the four-star RB from Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa.
How is the wide receiver board looking?
Alabama is still looking to land its first wide receiver commit in the Class of 2017. Receiver is one of the most important positions for the Crimson Tide in this class because they signed only two in 2016 — Trevon Diggs and T.J. Simmons.
There are five priority targets and then a few others that could be considered secondary options if Alabama doesn’t get someone in that group. The priorities are Devonta Smith (Amite, La.), Jerry Jeudy (Pompano Beach, Fla.), Nico Collins (Pinson, Ala.), Jeff Thomas (East Saint Louis, Ill.) and Henry Ruggs (Montgomery, Ala.).
In order of most likely to commit:
I don’t want to say it’s locked up just yet because recruiting is weird and wacky and anything can happen until that signature is on the letter of intent, but Smith is the most likely guy to end up in this class. He’s very good friends with Shyheim Carter, a 2016 signee, and is very close to assistant director of player personnel Sam Petitto and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. He’s made several visits to Tuscaloosa over the past few weeks and was on campus for A-Day. He’s so comfortable with Alabama that even though he was on campus for the scrimmage, he didn’t watch any of it. There’s nothing else he needs to see at this point, Smith told me recently. He’s supposed to make his decision a few weeks after his season ends. His recruitment may not last all of the way until then.
Ruggs is probably the second guy on this list most likely to end up at Alabama. It seems like he’s at Alabama almost every single week. He’s easily visited Tuscaloosa more than any other place, and the staff has made him a priority. Wide receivers coach Billy Napier visited Ruggs Wednesday. His commitment could come sooner than later.
Jeudy is close to Calvin Ridley, and I thought he was going to follow in the star receiver’s footsteps and end up committing at A-Day, which is what Ridley did in 2014. He’s named Alabama his leader at one point in his recruitment but has since backed off that statement and has said every school in his top 10 is equal. I don’t necessarily believe that’s the case, and I like where Alabama stands right now.
Some people may be surprised to see Collins fourth on this list. I am starting to get the feeling that Alabama isn’t in that great of a position with him as I had originally thought. And my feelings about that grew stronger after he told me that he was going to Georgia’s spring game and not Alabama’s. He also told Jeff Sentell of DawgNation that he has now made as many trips to Athens as he has made to Tuscaloosa. Personally, I think Smith and Jeudy are Alabama’s top two targets in this class and Collins may be Georgia’s top target. His recruitment is going to be one to watch over the next several months. Alabama is always going to be in this race, but it would not shock me if he ended up at Georgia.
Thomas is fifth because I really don’t know much about where he stands. I’m not even going to lie. I haven’t seen him grant an interview to anyone in months and he’s pretty much mute when it comes to his recruitment. I know Alabama is on him and was once considered the favorite for him. I do not know where things stand with Thomas now.
Look for Alabama to sign four to five receivers this class.
What’s going on with Tadarian Moultry?
I don’t think Tadarian Moultry knows what’s going on with Tadarian Moultry. Moultry, the four-star inside linebacker from Jackson-Olin High School (Birmingham, Ala.), has had a very confusing recruitment.
He told SEC Country a few weeks ago that he was no longer considering Alabama because he did not have a good relationship with the staff. It related to a “miscommunication” about him not being a take for the class.
After visiting Alabama for A-Day, he told me that Alabama was back in the mix and the main reason for that is what the Crimson Tide can offer their players for a career outside of football. That’s all he said as he enacted a “no interviews” policy until he makes his commitment, which will come sometime this spring. It could come in a few weeks.
I think Alabama is in a good position for Moultry if it really wants him at this time. The Crimson Tide are in good position for four-star linebacker Will Ignont and they have commitments from two other linebackers — VanDarius Cowan and Gary Johnson. Alabama is expected to sign four linebackers. If the Crimson Tide lands Ignont, which I think they will, will Moultry be the fourth? I don’t see it right now. I think he ends up at Auburn with his good friend Kenney Britt. Monty Rice from James Clemens (Madison, Ala.) is my pick as the fourth linebacker if Alabama gets Ignont.
What are the chances of landing Isaiah Wilson and Wyatt Davis?
Wilson, the five-star offensive tackle from Brooklyn, N.Y., visited Alabama for A-Day. He’s one that doesn’t talk to the media much at all, but he did tweet about his trip to Tuscaloosa.
If you wondering how my visit at bama was.. just know… I love the way crimson looks on me??
— 5️⃣++ (@_LayZay_) April 18, 2016
From speaking with him in the past, I can say that Wilson is very high on Alabama but I don’t think he’ll end up at Alabama unless he makes another trip to Tuscaloosa. A-Day isn’t a recruiting event that allows prospects the chance to really get a lot of 1-on-1 time with coaches. I think Michigan is the favorite for him right now.
As far as Wyatt, Alabama has been viewed as the favorite for the five-star offensive tackle for a while now. I don’t think it’s a lock he ends up with the Tide, though. He needs to get back on campus for me to say Alabama has an excellent chance at landing his commitment.
Who will be the next to commit?
Josiah Coatney, a 2016 prospect who attends Holmes Community College in Goodwin, Miss., is scheduled to make his commitment during the first week of May. He recently named Alabama his co-leader with Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide may have a leg up over the Rebels because his last official visit was to Alabama, so it was the last school to have the opportunity to leave a lasting impression on him.
Coatney, who is 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, is a take for the Alabama staff. If he were to commit, he would officially close out Alabama’s 2016 signing class.
If Coatney doesn’t choose Alabama, look for Ignont to be the next commit. After talking with him, I am very confident he’ll be a part of the Crimson Tide.
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.