Alabama has 5 commitments in its Class of 2018, but, technically, it has 8.
Akial Byers, an original 2017 commitment in Alabama’s class, for the record is among those 5 commitments. He might not qualify and would need at least a year at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, which is where he signed on Wednesday.
This is where things may get a little confusing.
4-star JACK Jarez Parks, 3-star offensive lineman Hunter Brannon and 3-star kicker Joseph Bulovas, although they are 2017 recruits, will be a part of the 2018 class. Parks committed to Alabama on National Signing Day but will be a grayshirt, as of now. A grayshirt is placed on scholarship in January and won’t be a part of the team and cannot practice this fall. Grayshirts count against your numbers in the following cycle.
Like grayshirts, blueshirts also count against your numbers in the following cycle. Bulovas and Brannon were not officially recruited by Alabama. That means they did not take an official visit to Tuscaloosa, had arranged, in-person, off-campus contact with a coach and did not sign a letter of intent. The difference between a blueshirt and grayshirt is that a blueshirt is placed on scholarship once he arrives on campus. Blueshirts count against the 2018 scholarship total if they don’t play in 2017.
Keep in mind that the Crimson Tide will lose several key players after the 2017 season. The following players who are projected starters or contributors won’t be in Tuscaloosa after next season: DB Tony Brown, DB Hootie Jones, DL Da’Shawn Hand, P JK Scott, WR Cam Sims, LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, CB Anthony Averett, LB Rashaan Evans, DL Josh Frazier and C Bradley Bozeman.
The following underclassmen could decide to declare early for the NFL Draft: WR Calvin Ridley, RBs Bo Scarbrough, Damien Harris, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick and DL Da’Ron Payne.
As you see, there will be loads of turnover after next season. But for Alabama, the good thing is that it reloads every year by landing the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, as the Crimson Tide have done for 7 years in a row now.
With that being said, here are several of Alabama’s top targets in the Class of 2018.
Xavier Thomas, 5-star DE, Florence, S.C.
Thomas says he is focusing on 2 schools in his recruitment: Clemson and South Carolina. Spoiler alert: That will likely change because we’re so far away from when high school players start heading off to college.
Alabama has Thomas near or at the top of its list when it comes to 2018 defensive linemen. Although he might say the 2 South Carolina schools are at the top of his list, the Crimson Tide will hope to change that over the next few months.
Micah Parsons, 5-star DE, Harrisburg, Pa.
Alabama offered Parsons, a Penn State commit, the opportunity to play running back and anywhere on the defensive line. He’s that coveted. Parsons scored 10 touchdowns in the postseason for his high school last fall.
Jackson Carman, 5-star OT, Fairfield, Ohio
Carman is a strong lean to Ohio State, but Alabama had him on at least 1 visit. Alabama staffers told Carman that he’s the best offensive tackle recruit they’ve ever scouted. But then again, Alabama probably told 50 other offensive tackles the same thing before — that’s recruiting.
Tyreke Johnson, 5-star S, Jacksonville, Fla.
Johnson is very close to Jeremy Pruitt. Pruitt has been recruiting Johnson ever since his first run at Alabama, where he coached from 2007-12. Johnson has said it means a lot to him that the coach has seen his potential for years.
“Coach Pruitt and I have been homies ever since he was at Alabama the first time around and then he went to Florida State and Georgia.
“I would love to play for Pruitt,” Johnson told SEC Country this past summer.
Kelvin Joseph, 5-star CB, Baton Rouge, La.
Alabama has made it a habit to steal players from LSU’s backyard. The Crimson Tide hope to do it again with Joseph. He was close to flipping to Alabama this summer but decided to hold steady with his commitment to LSU. It sure seems like this will be an Alabama-LSU battle throughout. It wouldn’t surprise one bit to see Joseph commit to Alabama.
Isaac Taylor-Stuart, 4-star CB, San Diego
Taylor-Stuart visited Tuscaloosa this summer and said Alabama was his leader. Cornerback is a major need for Alabama in the 2018 class after not signing any in the 2017 class. Nick Saban pointed that out in his signing day media conference.
“We obviously try to identify needs that we have each year and I think in this class we sort of hit every spot but one,” Saban said on Wednesday. “We wanted to recruit at least one corner, maybe two. It just worked out that it didn’t happen that way for us.”
Justyn Ross, 4-star WR, Phenix City, Ala.
The state of Alabama’s No. 1 player in the 2018 class happens to be a former teammate ofAlabama LB signee Markail Benton. The good news? They are very, very good friends. The Crimson Tide should be considered the favorites to land Ross when he makes his decision.
Seth Williams, 4-star WR, Cottondale, Ala.
It’s only a matter of time before Williams commits to Alabama. It could be at A-Day this April. It would be surprising to not see Williams suit up for the Crimson Tide in 2018.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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