We are now less than three weeks away until National Signing Day 2017. The day itself shouldn’t be as crazy as 2016’s for Alabama because the majority of the Tide targets are expected to have made their decisions by then.
This class is going to be bigger than the normal 25-man signing class because of the attrition Alabama sustained this past summer and fall. Right now, I have Alabama at 29 signees in the Class of 2017. It’s still a very fluid situation, but 28 or 29 seems like the logical number with the needs Alabama has to fill with its remaining spots.
With that said, here’s who I think Alabama will sign come Feb. 1, 2017:
Who’s already enrolled
The following players have already enrolled at Alabama. There’s no need to worry about them possibly flipping their commitments:
Tua Tagovailoa, 4-star QB
Najee Harris, 5-star RB
Jerry Jeudy, 5-star WR
Tyrell Shavers, 4-star WR
Major Tennison. 3-star TE
Alex Leatherwood, 5-star OT
Elliot Baker, 4-star OT
Isaiah Buggs, 4-star DE
Dylan Moses, 5-star LB
Kyriq McDonald, 3-star DB
Chadarius Townsend, 4-star ATH
Thomas Fletcher, 2-star LS
The following players are expected to arrive later this spring:
Daniel Wright, 4-star S
Brian Robinson, 4-star RB
Xavier McKinney, 4-star S
Committed, but enrolling in the summer
Jedrick Wills, 4-star OT
VanDarius Cowan, 4-star LB
Markail Benton, 4-star LB
Christopher Allen, 4-star LB
Akial Byers, 4-star DT
Kendall Randolph, 4-star OG
Jhavonte Dean, 4-star CB
Mac Jones, 4-star QB
Kedrick James, 3-star TE
Hunter Brannon, 3-star C
Brandon Ruiz, 3-star K
There are two guys who are currently committed who I don’t expect to be in Alabama’s class come signing day: Jhavonte Dean and Akial Byers.
Dean committed to the Tide this summer and hasn’t visited Tuscaloosa since then. He doesn’t have an official visit set to Alabama. He’ll visit Miami, the school likely getting his commitment, this weekend. Dean will be on flip watch. SEC Country was told by multiple sources close to the team that Dean’s departure from the class will likely be a mutual parting of ways. Don’t expect Alabama to fight to keep him committed.
Byers has academic work he needs to get done before he can even enroll in a university. He will retake the ACT later this month. Besides that, he was really overmatched all week in Orlando for the Under Armour All-America Game earlier this month. He looked like he didn’t belong with the top talent in attendance. Alabama is aware of his poor showing.
I expect Alabama to keep Hunter Brannon, but I think he won’t “technically” count for the Class of 2017. I think he will either get a gray or blueshirt. If he receives either colored shirt, it delays his scholarship until the 2018 season. For those who do not know, a grayshirt can not participate in any team activities until the following season; so, in this case, Brannon wouldn’t practice with the team until 2018. A blueshirt can practice with the team as soon as he gets to campus.
If we take those three out, that brings the Tide to 23 current commits/signees.
So, who’s next?
Aubrey Solomon, 5-star DT, Leesburg, Ga. — This is the first time Solomon has made my signing day projection. He told SEC Country last week in San Antonio that Alabama has a huge lead for his commitment. That’s a big deal because he’s committing near the end of the month and will likely only take one more official visit, and that’s to Southern California this weekend. His recruitment should come down to Alabama, Georgia or Michigan. The Crimson Tide have felt confident in landing Solomon since he took an official visit to Tuscaloosa, but it’s going to be a dogfight. If you’ve followed Solomon’s recruitment, expect there to be many twists and turns over the next few weeks.
Henry Ruggs, 4-star WR, Montgomery, Ala. — Things are still relatively the same with Ruggs. He says he’s still down to his top five of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Penn State. Although, Tagovailoa told SEC Country that Ruggs told him at the Army Bowl last week that he was down to just Alabama and Florida State. Ruggs is considered one of Alabama’s top priorities regardless of position. It’s hard to see Alabama losing out on an in-state recruit it wants and one that has family who love the Crimson Tide.
DeVonta Smith, 4-star WR, Amite, La. — Smith makes his appearance once again in the mock signing class. Numbers are becoming clearer and there should be room for both Ruggs and Smith if they want in. Alabama has long been considered the favorite for Smith ever since he de-committed from Georgia back in January. The relationships he has at Alabama trump the ones he has at LSU, which is the team’s biggest competition, and it’s not even close. The Tigers have made up lots of ground for Smith, but it won’t be enough for the Tigers.
LaBryan Ray, 4-star DE, Madison, Ala. — It would be shocking if Ray wasn’t in Alabama’s class. He’s visited Alabama countless times and has grown comfortable around the program. It also helps that Alabama has commitments from two of his best friends in 4-star offensive guard Kendall Randolph and 3-star defensive back Kyriq McDonald. Ray is Alabama’s top target at defensive end.
Jarez Parks, 4-star JACK, Sebastian, Fla. — Parks has quietly had Alabama as his leader behind-the-scenes according to people close to his recruitment. He nearly committed to the Tide in the summer but he chose to hold off to make sure he was making the right choice and not one based off an immediate reaction. All signs still point to Alabama right now. A decision date is still unknown at this time.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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