Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting, with Chris Kirschner. Today, we discuss the latest with defensive back Todd Harris and the importance of Xavier Williams’ commitment.
Todd Harris recaps visit from Nick Saban
Nick Saban spent an hour inside Plaquemine (La.) High School with 4-star safety Todd Harris and his high school coach before following the recruit home, which is about 45 minutes from the school.
To speed up the process of returning home, Saban and Harris received a police escort from a local officer. It’s something that stood out from every other in-home visit he’s received from other coaches up until now.
“That’s the first time I’ve had a police escort like that,” Harris said with a laugh. “That was really nice.”
Saban spent two hours at Harris’ home talking about how good character is more important than any football skill, the 1st & Ten Club of Alabama and how it helps athletes transition into post-athletic careers and, of course, how he fits into the Tide’s future plans.
Harris received his offer from Alabama this past summer while at Saban’s camp. He admits that he came close to becoming a part of the Crimson Tide.
“When I first got offered, I’m not going to lie, I thought it was going to be the place I was going to choose back in the summertime,” Harris said.
“This Alabama offer has been a wrench in my recruitment, especially now that Nick Saban has been here and met my parents. His personality and character is just different from other coaches, and it’s something I like about him. It really just makes you think like, ‘Why wouldn’t I want to play for him?’ But I have to do what’s best for me.”
The Under Armour All-American is down to a top 4 of Alabama, LSU, TCU and Arizona State. Most people in the recruiting industry believe his decision will come down to the SEC schools.
Both the Crimson Tide and the Tigers have two safety commitments in the Class of 2017, but that doesn’t matter to him, he said. Saban actually told Harris he prefers him at the star position, which is where Tony Brown played for Alabama this past season.
Harris doesn’t have a preference where he plays in college. He calls himself a “defensive back” and not just a safety.
“I don’t care where I play — star or safety,” Harris said. “If I can play both, that would be great. That’s more playing time for me. Saban thinks I’m a heck of a football player overall. He said he thinks I’d fit the best in their scheme at the star position.”
Alabama is losing cornerback Marlon Humphrey to the NFL Draft and Eddie Jackson to graduation, so there are some holes that need to be filled heading into next season. During the in-home visit on Tuesday, Saban told Harris that ideally two defensive backs from the Class of 2017 will find their way into the rotation next season.
Harris likes the sound of that because he’s confident that with hard work, he could find himself cracking the depth chart at Alabama if he chose the school on National Signing Day.
“That’s great news to hear that I could potentially be a starter for the Alabama Crimson Tide,” Harris said. “This recruiting process is just getting hard now. I have so many great opportunities. I just don’t want to make the wrong decision. I don’t think you can understand how hard this is. Man, man, man.”
Harris will get some more face time with Saban this weekend when he makes his official visit. He’ll visit TCU the weekend before signing day. Expect either Alabama or LSU to gain his commitment on Feb. 1.
Alabama gets huge commitment on Tuesday
Although Xavier Williams is a 2018 recruit, his commitment to Alabama on Tuesday night sets in motion the Crimson Tide’s desire to get back to the No. 1 spot in the recruiting rankings once again.
What’s become extremely important to recruiting nowadays is having at least one alpha dog in your recruiting class who’s going to make sure other top recruits follow in his footsteps. Williams mentioned how important Alex Leatherwood and VanDarius Cowan are to Alabama’s 2017 class — the originators of the “savages want to play with savages” motto until Georgia’s class copied them. Those two guys were instrumental in several commitments in Alabama’s class, including 5-star linebacker Dylan Moses, 4-star offensive linemen Elliot Baker and Jedrick Wills and so on and so forth.
Williams wants to be that guy for Alabama for the 2018 class.
He already has his eyes set on three highly rated guys in the 2018 class: 5-star cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr., 4-star cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. and 4-star wide receiver Mark Pope. Pope is the only guy he mentioned who has previously said Alabama was one of his top two schools.
But getting Williams on board in January gives him a full year until National Signing Day 2018 rolls around to recruit for Alabama. He will be in Tuscaloosa on Jan. 28 for one of Alabama’s junior day events. Expect him to be in the ear of several elite juniors on that day.
Randolph 110 percent committed to Alabama
Kendall Randolph, a 4-star offensive lineman from Bob Jones High School (Madison, Ala.) took to Twitter to calm down some Alabama fans who were worried about him visiting Florida the weekend before signing day.
110% committed to Alabama ?
— Kendall Randolph♨️ (@KendallRandolp1) January 18, 2017
I have a hard time believing Randolph is going to be anywhere other than Alabama in 2017. He grew up an Alabama fan and has dreamed about playing for the Crimson Tide. His brother, Levi, also played basketball for the Tide. Kendall’s 5-year-old brother, Alex, also played a big part in him choosing Alabama, too.
If anything, his late trip to Florida, if he follows through with it, should be viewed as a free trip.
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All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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