Alabama is on the hunt for its seventh straight recruiting championship. Join us here on SEC Country for a daily recap of Alabama recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind the scenes, and for a glimpse at what’s coming next.
What’s up with Najee Harris?
That is really the question everyone wants to know, right? The 5-star Alabama running back commit took an official visit to Michigan over the weekend with his mother, Tianna Hicks, who is an integral part of his recruitment.
She’s been to Michigan twice now and Alabama at least three or four times. Hicks has told SEC Country previously that she’s extremely comfortable with her son going to college on the other side of the country in Tuscaloosa. We have not spoken to Hicks since her recent trip to Ann Arbor to see if she has similar feelings on that city potentially being her son’s home for the next three to four years.
Ultimately, despite visits to the California schools, the recruitment for the nation’s No. 1 overall player will come down to either Alabama or Michigan. Several sources close to Harris have no idea what’s going through the Tide commit’s head, as he hasn’t given any indication on what he’ll do.
Those close to the Alabama program believe he will stick with the Tide and those close to the Michigan program believe the Wolverines gave Harris a lot to think about this weekend. Again, not even the people closest to Harris know what he’ll actually do. His recruitment has been a giant mystery, and that won’t be changing until he signs with his school of choice.
There is one thing that could be a deciding factor in his recruitment — the training regimen at both schools. A source close to Harris told SEC Country recently that he prefers Alabama’s weight program more so than Michigan’s. In fact, one player Harris personally knows at Michigan became very out of shape, and it was off-putting. Harris is a workout freak and Alabama strength coach Scott Cochran may be the best in college football.
Harris is an early enrollee and his final decision will have to come in the next few weeks. Hicks told SEC Country that Harris is expected to announce his plans at the Army All-American game, but because of his lack of interest in the recruiting process, it’s possible he could announce it before then.
Numbers becoming clearer for Alabama at CB?
Alabama was seemingly in the hunt for 5-star Ohio State cornerback commit Shaun Wade for several months, but on Monday, he chose to stick with the Buckeyes. We’ll dive into what happened with the Tide and Wade below, but because he’s now no longer a possibility for Alabama, we’ll first discuss what happens at cornerback in the Class of 2017 for the team.
SEC Country was notified on Monday night from a source close to the team that it’s possible Alabama doesn’t sign any cornerbacks in the Class of 2017 and instead focuses its attention on getting at least one more safety.
That’s surely interesting because Alabama does have a commitment from junior college cornerback Jhavonte Dean. As of writing this, though, it’s likely Dean won’t be a part of the Tide’s signing class. Expect Dean to de-commit at some point. Miami is a likely landing spot for the Blinn College product. Dean didn’t have the most productive season for Blinn, and it’s likely the two parties will part ways.
The cornerback class in 2017 is very top heavy and has been described by another source close to the team as being “very thin.” There are two cornerback recruits on the board for Alabama right now: 4-star prospects Tariq Castro-Fields and Chris Henderson. Both of those guys are still being evaluated by Alabama at this time.
Alabama will not just accept a commitment if and when Dean departs from the class. The Tide feel comfortable with each of their four defensive back signees from last year and they love safety Daniel Wright, who committed last week, and Kyriq McDonald, who signed his financial aid agreement with Alabama on Monday.
DeAngelo Gibbs and JaCoby Stevens, despite his strong commitment to LSU, remain top targets for Alabama at safety.
There’s still more than seven weeks to go until signing day, so things will and can change. But as of right now, it’s very possible Alabama doesn’t take a true cover corner in this year’s class.
What happened with Shaun Wade?
As mentioned above, it looked like Wade was a top priority for Alabama for several months. But unbeknownst to SEC Country, the staff’s opinion of Wade changed over time, a source close to the team said on Monday night.
That was evident when Alabama did not conduct an in-home visit with Wade during the contact period. If Wade was truly a top priority for Alabama, the staff would have visited him no matter what, but no coach saw him.
It’s unclear why Alabama’s opinion of Wade changed, but it is apparent that the Tide are not beating themselves up over missing on him. They were upset when they missed on another Ohio State commitment, 5-star linebacker Baron Browning, but not Wade.
It sure is interesting how their opinion changed in a few short months because I was told in early fall that Wade was the team’s top cornerback target.
In case you missed it …
- Five-star offensive tackle commit Alex Leatherwood is done with the recruiting process.
- Quarterback commit Tua Tagovailoa reacted to Lane Kiffin’s departure.
- Other Alabama commits reacted to Kiffin leaving the program.
- Five-star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy reaffirmed his commitment to Alabama.
- Five-star linebacker Dylan Moses signed his financial aid papers with the Tide.
- Defensive back commit Kyriq McDonald signed his financial aid agreement.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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