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, and our Alabama SEC Country Facebook page. 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.
Who is going to be the next to commit?
Alabama picked up a commitment last Sunday from 3-star tight end Major Tennison, and of course one of the first questions I received from Tide fans was, well, who’s next?
My pick for the next to commit to Alabama is 4-star defensive lineman Elijah Conliffe. Like Tennison, Conliffe was on commitment watch last weekend when he visited for the Texas A&M game, but as I said, it was more probable he’d hold off on committing while in Tuscaloosa because he’s announcing his decision via commitment video from Bleacher Report.
Conliffe told SEC Country this week that Alabama is still his top school, and a decision could be coming at any time. His mother, Kachelle Brown, also said her son has her blessing if he wanted to commit to Alabama.
“I would be comfortable if he went there,” Brown said. “I really liked the atmosphere, and I feel like he could grow there and learn a lot of things. I think he has a lot to bring to the team as well. I think they could benefit from him being there. I also think Elijah could benefit from going there and getting his degree.”
The Tide only have one defensive line commitment in 4-star prospect Akial Byers. I think Conliffe is going to be the second.
Does Alabama have a chance with Trey Smith, or is he a lock to Tennessee?
From David Hollingsworth, via Alabama Insiders Facebook)
Smith, a 5-star offensive tackle from Jackson, Tenn., actually grew up an Alabama fan. He’s been going to games at Bryant-Denny Stadium since he was in kindergarten. At this time, though, I don’t expect Smith to be in Alabama’s class.
Smith did visit Alabama for the Texas A&M game, and by all accounts, that trip went very well. But sources close to the Alabama program believe he’s Tennessee-bound when he makes his commitment known in early December.
His sister, Ashley, is on the football staff at Tennessee, and his relationship with her is very important in his recruitment. Publicly, Smith downplays the significance of his sister at Tennessee, but ask anyone with knowledge about his recruitment and that’s usually the first thing they point to as to a sign of where Smith will sign.
Before the Alabama visit, the Under Armour All-American told ESPN.com that he has a top school in mind, saying, “I have. The most important part is just taking more visits and getting more familiar with the campus and staff. To me, the main factor is life after football. There are lots of opportunities that come after playing the sport. I want to see what the school can do for me and the opportunities it can provide.”
Is Devon Hunter a legitimate possibility?
Safety is one of the biggest needs for Alabama in the Class of 2017, but it happens to be the hardest position to project at this time because there’s no clear definitive prospect who has Alabama on top.
Hunter, a 4-star safety from Virginia, is one of the handful of safeties Alabama is looking at, but the Tide are on the outside looking in when it comes to which schools he’s considering. Florida, Virginia Tech and possibly North Carolina have better chances with Hunter than Alabama.
He recently talked to SEC Country about what he likes from the Gators.
“It’s amazing how those guys are playing,” Hunter said last week. “I’ve been watching them and they’re aggressive. They’re just making plays out there and getting turnovers. That’s why they call Florida ‘DBU.’ Coach (Torrian) Gray has those guys putting on a show. I love it a lot.”
Hunter is expected to take an official visit to Alabama for the Iron Bowl, but I do not expect him in the Tide’s class as of this time. If he does make it to Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl, I think Alabama’s chances will increase.
Did Alabama really make a move with 4-star safety DeAngelo Gibbs?
From Bill Ley, via Alabama Insiders Facebook
Continuing with the safety position, Alabama certainly gained momentum with Gibbs after his official visit to Tuscaloosa last weekend for the Texas A&M game, but will it be enough?
I don’t think so.
Georgia and Tennessee have long been the favorites for Gibbs. His relationship with both schools is strong because of his family ties to both programs. His cousin J.R. Reed transferred to Georgia over the summer, and another cousin, Nigel Warrior, is a freshman defensive back at Tennessee.
Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt will be at Hoover (Ala.) High School Friday night to see Gibbs play in person — another sign that the Tide would like to add Gibbs to the Class of 2017.
Even with the added momentum Alabama received after his official visit, there’s still a lot of ground to be made up.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Follow Chris on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.