HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Day 1 on the road took us from Auburn through Birmingham to Hunstville.
Alabama recruiting reporter Chris Kirschner and Auburn recruiting reporter Benjamin Wolk launched the journey from Central High School in Phenix City, Ala. A slight Easter Monday audible — no school in a few Birmingham districts — forced us to reschedule with 4-star Jackson-Olin defensive tackle Coynis Miller and 4-star safety Myles Mason for Wednesday.
Hoover High wide receiver Shedrick Jackson and Mountain Brook running back Harold Joiner became the focus of today’s Birmingham excursion. Both prospects are major wants for Auburn and targets who could receive a growing interest from Alabama.
Check out the quick-hitter of what we learned from these three prospects. Come back later in the week for more detailed updates from Ross, Jackson and Joiner.
Programming note: We will be in the Huntsville area Tuesday before returning to Birmingham to gather more of the area’s top recruiting targets Tuesday evening before heading to Montgomery for the night.
5-star WR Justyn Ross, Central
Kirschner: One of Brian Daboll’s first priorities when he got to Alabama was to reach out to Ross and get his mother’s contact information. Ross won’t make a decision until his mother returns from Kuwait. Since Daboll’s been at Alabama, he’s been in frequent contact with Ross’ mom. That could pay off down the line when Ross decides to make a decision. It’s clear he’s nowhere near making a decision. He wants to take his mother on several trips to schools that he’s interested in. Because she’s overseas, Ross fills her in on the programs he is most interested in right now. It seems like Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Clemson have made a great impression on him.
Wolk: The Clemson takeaways are as advertised: Ross loved it. He called the Clemson trip “one of his favorite visits” ever and said the only other time he’d felt that strongly about a visit was on his first trip to Florida State. Alabama and Auburn continue to be in the thick of things, but it’s not a flat-out guarantee that he remains in-state. The Tigers and Crimson Tide will have to work for it. National Signing Day continues to be the decision plan, but most of that will be determined by how he and his mother tackle the fall visits once she returns from her deployment in Kuwait.
3-star WR Shedrick Jackson, Hoover
Kirschner: Mostly everyone assumes that Bo Jackson’s nephew is automatically going to Auburn after picking up an offer from the Tigers. That’s not the case with Jackson. In fact, he says he wants to wait until his senior season ends to make a decision. To me, that sounds like someone who doesn’t know where he wants to go just yet. From talking with him, not only has Auburn made an impression on him, but also Georgia Tech. He likes the academic prestige the Yellow Jackets have to offer.
Wolk: Yes, Jackson is Bo’s nephew. But that’s not how he wants to be remembered. Yes, he received an Auburn offer at the end of last week. But it’s not a sure thing that Jackson will land at Auburn. The fast-rising wide receiver is sure to pick up steam on the recruiting trail this spring. He snagged Auburn and Georgia Tech offers on the same day. He has communicated with Vanderbilt, LSU and Ole Miss and wouldn’t be surprised if those schools offered soon, too. I’d expect many other coaching staffs to check him out during the evaluation period to give Auburn a tough push. It should be noted, however: Jackson was wearing an Auburn backpack during the interview with SEC Country.
4-star RB Harold Joiner, Mountain Brook
Kirschner: Although Joiner has the versatility to play many positions on the field, Joiner is set on playing running back at the next level. What’s interesting about that is, if he knew he was finished growing, he would already be committed to LSU. Joiner says he won’t make a decision until at least late October. He’s waiting to see if he will grow some more. If he does, he’ll likely have to switch to wide receiver or tight end. In that case, LSU wouldn’t be as likely an option. I’ve never heard of a prospect who doesn’t want to continue growing. He wants to stay at 6-foot-3, so he can play running back in college.
Wolk: What can this guy not do? In his 30 minutes with SEC Country, Joiner did multiple backflips and threw a football nearly 60 yards with a perfect spiral. It’s no wonder some programs can’t figure out what position they want the former basketball standout to play. LSU has made running back more clear than any other school, but Joiner (only 16) knows he might not be done growing. At 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds, Joiner has accepted if he grows, he will be forced away from the running back position altogether. If that happens, it could alter his recruitment. For now, LSU is sitting pretty for the running back version of Joiner.