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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
There were A LOT of good questions this week, so let’s dig in.
As of right now, do we keep Najee Harris and Alex Leatherwood?
If I had a dollar every time I was asked this question over the past several months, I’d have all of my student loans paid for.
As of Friday, Oct. 21, 2017, I expect Alabama to get both 5-star running back Najee Harris’ and 5-star offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood’s signatures on their National Letter of Intent papers.
The one thing about recruiting is that it constantly changes, so this could change in one month as we get closer to when early enrollees, which both of these prospects are, have to make a final decision. Early enrollees will be on their respective college campus in mid-January, so time is ticking for both of these prospects.
Both Harris and Leatherwood have had lots of Michigan chatter surrounding them lately. Leatherwood took an official visit to Ann Arbor, Mich., a few weeks ago and Harris was visited at Antioch (Calif.) High School by Jim Harbaugh last week.
There’s a greater possibility of Harris, the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit, flipping his commitment from Alabama elsewhere than Leatherwood. From talking with people close to Leatherwood’s recruitment, he’s just enjoying his recruitment, while Harris is genuinely exploring other options. That’s not to say he’s not satisfied with Alabama — he is — but Harris is making sure Tuscaloosa is where he wants to be in college.
Alabama is recruiting both Harris and Leatherwood like they are uncommitted prospects, which means the coaching staff is in daily communication with both commitments to make sure they do sign with the Tide.
There’s obviously always some worry when your top commitments visit other schools, which both players are planning on doing, but I think both sign with Alabama when it’s all said and done.
Will Dylan Moses stay committed to Alabama?
From (Michael Lee — Alabama Insiders)
There was obviously some concern with Moses, the nation’s No. 1 outside linebacker, when he showed up to LSU’s game against Southern Mississippi last weekend, but I do not think that’s cause for concern when it comes to the strength of his commitment.
When he announced his intentions of playing for Alabama earlier this month, Moses said he was done visiting other schools. That lasted all of 13 days. While I’m sure that’s disappointing to Crimson Tide fans, I would say that recruits change their minds all of the time. This is nothing new.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see Moses visit LSU again this season. He is, after all, from Baton Rouge, La., and was a Tigers fan all of his life. But was this visit to LSU merely him checking out another game or was he actually interested in hearing what interim head coach Ed Orgeron had to say? That remains unknown as Moses, through IMG Academy’s sports information director, declined SEC Country’s interview request.
Moses will be back in Tuscaloosa this weekend, so Alabama’s staff will have a much better understanding of what that trip to LSU was all about. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Moses recruiting other top recruits this weekend in his first game as a commitment.
If Baron Browning’s official visit goes extremely well, how far does ‘Bama’s chances jump up?
From (Ricky Cochran — Alabama Insiders)
As I said in my weekly Facebook Live chat Thursday night, Browning is going to say how great of a time he had on his official visit when he talks to reporters about his trip. The most played out story in recruiting is X player says he enjoyed visiting X school. EVERY. RECRUIT. LIKES. VISITS.
Alabama could make up some ground this weekend for the 5-star outside linebacker from Kennedale (Texas) High School, but I still believe there’s a very low chance of him actually committing to the Tide when he is scheduled to announce on Nov. 29.
Ohio State, Texas, UCLA and Texas A&M all appear to be in a better position to land Browning than Alabama. This interest in the Crimson Tide seem legitimate as he is bringing his parents along on this trip, and he wants them to get a good feel for the school.
“Getting my parents down there to get them to meet coach Saban, the strength coach (Scott Cochran), get more familiar with (outside linebackers coach Tosh) Lupoi, the university and how they can develop me mentally, physically and academically,” Browning told SEC Country Thursday.
Even if Alabama makes a move for Browning this weekend, it seems like it would just be for second place when it’s time for his commitment.
Do you think Alabama still leads for Henry Ruggs III?
From (Todd Robertson — Alabama Insiders)
I think Alabama is the school to beat in the race for one of the most electrifying wide receivers in the nation. Man, was he impressive in person last week when he and his Robert E. Lee High School (Montgomery, Ala.) teammates squared off against Central High School (Phenix City, Ala.). It was a treat getting to see Ruggs in action, as he totaled more than 250 yards and three touchdowns.
Ruggs still has a top five of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Penn State. He is taking things very slowly in terms of his recruitment after he was scheduled to make his commitment on Aug. 1. He told SEC Country last week the reason for delaying his decision was just because he didn’t feel 100 percent ready.
He also said the Alabama commitments are recruiting him the hardest out of the four other schools’ commits. That’s not insignificant because Alabama is always going to be near the front of his mind as he hears from 4-star quarterback Mac Jones and 4-star linebacker Markail Benton almost daily.
Many of Ruggs’ family members are also Alabama fans, and they would like the 4-star recruit to play for the Crimson Tide.
He’s visited Alabama more than any other school (he’ll be there this weekend), and I think his familiarity with Tuscaloosa, his relationships with the coaches and commits along with the proximity to home is what’s going to give the Tide his commitment.
Why are reporters for every other school so confident that all of Alabama’s commits are flipping to them?
Laquon is referring to Michigan reporters’ confidence in the Wolverines flipping Najee Harris, which I think is premature.
The one thing I can say about this question is that those reporters are obviously talking to people in and around the Michigan program, so they’re obviously going to try to be as positive as they possibly can be when talking about flipping a 5-star Alabama commitment, who is the best player in the country. Some of those people could have their own agenda and want it out in the media that their team has a good chance at flipping an elite recruit. That not only gives hope to their fan base, but it also attracts other recruits’ eyeballs.
Like I said above, it’s premature to predict Harris to flip. There’s legitimate interest in Michigan, but that’s all it is right now.
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.