Until Alabama lands a commitment at quarterback in its Class of 2017, the biggest recruiting news Crimson Tide fans can get will be about signal-callers.
SEC Country has spoken with several of the quarterbacks Alabama is targeting for its recruiting class, and you can read about the latest news below.
Tua Tagovailoa, a four-star prospect from St. Louis High School (Honolulu), comes from a very religious family. When asked what would be the biggest reason to commit to a school, Tagovailoa was quick to answer.
“The biggest thing I look for in coaches at these schools are their beliefs,” Tagovailoa told SEC Country.
That’s one of the reasons why Alabama is in the mix to land his signature.
“Coach Saban has talked to us and his beliefs are God first before anything,” Tagovailoa said. “Every school is going to have good academics. Every school is going to have good football. But when you have a coach like Saban, who believes in God and is a defending champion, that makes it even more special.”
The Hawaiian QB has never been to Alabama before. He said the only thing he knows about the school is, “… that they go to the championship almost every year.”
The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder recently said USC is his “dream school” and that the Trojans lead for him. But when asked if Southern California was still on top, Tagovailoa attached a qualifier.
“Yeah, but you have to realize that (Hawaiian prospects) usually only get offers from West Coast schools, and you just come to expect that,” Tagovailoa said. “But with something like Alabama, knowing that I am so far out of their boundaries, it’s kind of crazy. When I got offered, it was something really big for me and our school.”
While USC has led for over a year now, Alabama has definitely made a significant dent in his recruitment.
Bailey Hockman, a four-star prospect from McEachern High School (Powder Springs, Ga.), told SEC Country that Alabama is in his top five, along with Auburn, Tennessee, Florida State and North Carolina, in no official order.
Recently, Alabama has turned up the heat on the left-handed gunslinger, and he says if he were to commit to the Tide, he knows what the reason would be.
“They just played in a national championship on the biggest stage,” Hockman said. “If you go there, you’re going to get drafted, most likely. They’re just a really good team and they have great coaches.”
Now Alabama will have some competition with the schools listed above. In fact, the Tide may have a little bit of catching up to do.
“Florida State, Tennessee and North Carolina have been there prior to everything with Alabama,” Hockman said.
It’s clear Alabama has some work to do if Hockman is going to be their guy at quarterback. He may visit Tuscaloosa the first weekend in April, but nothing is set yet.
One advantage the Crimson Tide has is the fact that Hockman’s mother is an Alabama graduate, so there is some familiarity with the program.
Hockman is rated as the nation’s No. 7 pro-style quarterback.
Just one day after he announced his commitment to Stanford, Davis Mills announced Alabama had offered him a scholarship.
Mills, a four-star prospect from Greater Atlanta Christian High School (Norcross, Ga.), visited Alabama this past Friday for the start of spring practice but left without a scholarship offer. Just four days after that unofficial visit, he committed to the Cardinal. Stanford seemed like Mills’ top choice for a while now even if he didn’t publicly name the school his leader.
With Alabama no longer having a quarterback commitment in the class of 2017, the Crimson Tide are going to continue to target some of the top names in the country even if they are committed to other schools. Since Jake Fromm de-committed, Alabama has offered four-stars Tagovailoa, Hockman, Mills and Jake Bentley.
In my opinion, Mills seems like a longshot at this point, especially with him just giving his commitment to Stanford. It would be interesting if Mills ends up visiting campus again.
Mills is rated as the nation’s No. 4 pro-style quarterback.
Alabama only signed two wide receivers in the Class of 2016: T.J. Simmons and Trevon Diggs. Thankfully for the Crimson Tide, the No. 1 player in the state of Alabama is a wide receiver.
Nico Collins’ voice raised when asked if the fact that Alabama only signed two receivers helps its case when it comes time to make his decision.
“Yeah,” Collins said in a high-pitched tone. “I say that because they only signed two guys in the Class of 2016. Now with me being in 2017, that just tells me that the opportunity is there to possibly get early playing time.”
One of those receivers Alabama signed, Simmons, happens to be a former teammate of Collins’ and one of his good friends. That also helps the Crimson Tide’s chances to keep the receiver in state.
“It’s kind of a big deal because if I go there, I know I’ll have one person that’s already there,” Collins said. “I played three years of high school football with him. We’re really close.”
Simmons, an early enrollee at Alabama, was just at Clay-Chalkville High School (Pinson, Ala.) Tuesday to get a workout in at his old school. Collins said the pair were back in the gym “pushing each other as always.”
With Simmons on campus already, the receiver is playing as big of a role in Collins’ recruitment as Alabama wide receivers coach Billy Napier. Simmons is constantly blowing up his friend’s phone.
Even though Collins would not mention any leaders, Alabama seems like it is in a very good position to get his commitment when that time comes.
Alabama already has two running backs committed in the Class of 2017: the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, Najee Harris, and four-star Brian Robinson.
With the Crimson Tide having the top player in the country committed, would that make D’Andre Swift stay away from Alabama?
“Najee and I are really good friends, actually. I’m a competitor. I think I could contribute in ways that he can’t,” Swift said. “We’re both good players. He brings a lot to the table and I bring a lot to the table as well. I’m very versatile in my style of play. I can do whatever coaches need me to do. I’m not shying away from any competition.”
Swift, who was named the U.S. Army All-American combine MVP in January, said Harris’ game is similar to his. But there’s one big difference.
“He’s more of the typical Alabama running back,” Swift said of Harris. “He’s like 220 pounds and over six feet tall, which is the typical Alabama back. I think I’m more shifty than he is and could play in the slot as well.”
The 5-foot-10, 207-pounder said Alabama is a school he’s been interested in since he was a little kid, even with him being from the Northeast. Swift will make the trip to Tuscaloosa sometime this spring or summer.
Swift is one of four running backs that Alabama is seriously recruiting at this point, along with four-stars Cam Akers, Anthony McFarland Jr. and Bruce Jordan-Swilling.
All ratings and rankings are from 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.