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.
Tagovailoa has strong relationship with Sarkisian
As the days go by, it’s looking more and more likely that this will be Lane Kiffin’s final season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. Now, usually, when a main assistant leaves a program it tends to have a negative impact on recruiting in the short term.
But if former Southern California coach Steve Sarkisian — now an analyst on Nick Saban’s staff — takes over for Kiffin and becomes offensive coordinator, Alabama 5-star quarterback commit Tua Tagovailoa would be elated. Prior to committing to Alabama, it looked like it was a foregone conclusion that Tagovailoa was going to play for the Trojans. One of the main reasons for that was because of his relationship with Sarkisian.
“Sarkisian was the only head coach — when he was at USC — that flew to Hawaii to watch Tua throw and on the spot said we want to offer you,” Galu Tagovailoa, Tua’s father, told SEC Country. “We went up to the camp they had at USC, and Sarkisian was just blown away by Tua. We’ve built a really good relationship with him.
“If Sarkisian was still at USC, I think we would have committed to USC. That’s how good of a relationship we have with him.”
Sarkisian ultimately was dismissed from USC as he battled alcohol problems. Clay Helton took over for Sarkisian, but at the time of the latter’s firing, Tagovailoa slowly began to take a hard look at other schools because it was unclear to the Tagovailoas if Helton was going to be there long term.
But now that Sarkisian is at Alabama and is the favorite to replace Kiffin if he were to leave the program, the Tagovailoas would be overjoyed if that happened.
“We were with (Sarkisian), then we lost him and now we’re back with him. It’s funny how it works out,” Galu Tagovailoa said. “If things happen where Lane moves on and Sarkisian is the guy, then that would be great. But at the same time, whoever is the next offensive coordinator if Lane leaves, it wouldn’t matter. Saban has won championships with multiple different coordinators. He’ll bring the best out of them no matter what.”
In case you missed it, Tagovailoa’s father re-confirmed with SEC Country on Thursday that his son’s recruitment is over. Despite his recent offer from LSU, he will not visit the school and will enroll at Alabama in January.
Browning chooses Ohio State
On Thursday morning, we reported that Ohio State was considered the favorite to land 5-star linebacker Baron Browning. By nighttime, he was committed to the Buckeyes.
Heading into last Friday, Alabama was the favorite to land Browning. That shifted after the nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker took an official visit to Ohio State. Alabama was confident in landing Browning before the trip. Multiple sources told SEC Country that he had silently committed to Alabama last Wednesday and assured the staff that no matter what happened on the trip to Columbus, he was going to commit to Alabama.
Things change fast in recruiting. It became clear when he delayed his Tuesday commitment that Ohio State had become the favorite in his recruitment, and the Buckeyes capitalized on their momentum.
I know Alabama fans are going to be disappointed in not landing the uber-talented Browning, but before his official visit to the school in late October, it looked like there was around a 0 percent chance he was going to choose the Tide. Alabama made up significant ground in a little over a month. That’s a testament to Browning’s primary recruiter Tosh Lupoi’s recruiting prowess.
Alabama has four linebacker commitments in the Class of 2017 — 5-star prospect Dylan Moses and 4-star prospects Chris Allen, VanDarius Cowan and Markail Benton. The Tide also are in good shape with 4-star defensive end Jarez Parks, who is being recruited as an outside linebacker.
Moses’ mysterious tweet
Dylan Moses abruptly committed to Alabama during his official visit for the Kentucky game in early October. Since then, he’s taken a couple of trips to LSU which have caused some concern for some fans. That’s understandable because when he committed, he said he wasn’t going to take any trips to other schools not named Alabama.
Then you have this tweet:
Decisions, Decisions…The recruiting process is something serious..
— King Ⓜ️oses (@Dylan1Moses_) December 1, 2016
That tweet obviously got the rumor mill going on Thursday morning.
I was told that tweet has nothing to do with Moses’ recruitment — he was actually talking about Browning’s decision, which wasn’t made yet at the time of Moses tweeting that. Moses remains locked in with Alabama, and it would be a surprise if he ended up in LSU’s class, even though he is from Baton Rouge.
And before you ask, yes, we have to analyze tweets. This is 2016 after all.
Alabama 2017 class snapshot
Alabama has a good chance to have the nation’s No. 1 class for the seventh straight year. The Tide are in the running for several more 5-stars such as Baron Browning, Trey Smith, Isaiah Wilson, Shaun Wade and JaCoby Stevens. As it stands now, this actually might be Alabama’s best class in the Nick Saban era because it has commitments from a top-class running back, two future play-making quarterbacks, a bookend left tackle and more.
Where it ranks?
Alabama’s 2017 class is ranked No. 1 in the country. It passed Ohio State for the top spot once Jedrick Wills committed last week.
As is standard in the Nick Saban era, the majority of Alabama’s commitments are of the blue-chip variety, meaning they are either rated 4- or 5-star prospects. For context purposes, the Tide have 22 pledges, including five 5-star recruits (RB Najee Harris, OT Alex Leatherwood, LB Dylan Moses, QB Tua Tagovailoa and WR Jerry Jeudy), 11 4-star prospects and six 3-star talents.
Who are Alabama’s top 2017 commitments?
- 5-star RB Najee Harris
- 5-star QB Tua Tagovailoa
- 5-star OT Alex Leatherwood
- 5-star WR Jerry Jeudy
- 5-star LB Dylan Moses
Who committed to Alabama this week?
Chris Allen, a 4-star linebacker from Southern University Lab High School (Baton Rouge, La.), committed to Alabama this past Sunday after taking a trip to the Iron Bowl. Five-star offensive tackle Trey Smith is announcing his commitment this coming Tuesday. Alabama has a chance to land his commitment.
Who de-committed from Alabama this week?
Alabama hasn’t had a de-commitment since late October when 4-star linebacker Gary Johnson backed off his commitment. He took a class in junior college that would not have been accepted by SEC schools. He could have chosen to retake the class and remained in Alabama’s class, but it would have delayed his enrollment into a four-year university. Jhavonte Dean, a 3-star junior college cornerback, is someone Alabama fans should keep an eye on as far as the next de-commitment.
Who are Alabama’s top uncommitted targets?
- 5-star offensive tackle Trey Smith
- 5-star offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson
- 5-star cornerback Shaun Wade
- 5-star safety JaCoby Stevens
- 4-star safety DeAngelo Gibbs
- 4-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon
- 4-star defensive end LaBryan Ray
- 4-star wide receiver Henry Ruggs III
Breakdown by position
QB: 2 of 2
RB: 2 of 2
WR: 2 of 3 OR 4
TE: 2 of 2
OL: 5 of 5 OR 6
DL: 1 of 4
LB: 3 of 3 OR 4
JACK: 1 of 1 OR 2
CB: 2 of 2 OR 3
S: 0 of 1 OR 2
ATH: 1 of 1
K: 1 of 1
LS: 1 of 1
Geography of Alabama’s 2017 recruiting class
Florida (6): Leatherwood, Moses, Jeudy, Cowan, Jones, Fletcher
Alabama (6): Benton, Robinson, Randolph, Townsend, McDonald, Brannon
Texas (4): Shavers, Tennison, James, Dean
California (2): Harris, Baker
Louisiana (1): Allen
Hawaii (1): Tagovailoa
Kentucky (1): Wills
Arkansas (1): Byers
Arizona (1): Ruiz
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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