BEAVERTON, Ore. — 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.
Smith a “Roll Tide fan through and through”
Trey Smith, the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle, according to 247Sports, has been an Alabama fan since kindergarten.
“I’m definitely a Roll Tide fan through and through,” Smith told SEC Country at The Opening, a premier camp for the nation’s top high school football players held at Nike’s world headquarters.
Smith vividly remembers when he was in kindergarten going to Bryant-Denny Stadium with his teacher and son, who was a manager for the team.
“We go down there and I’m like 5 or 6 years old and we go into the locker room because we had access so I got to talk to players and coaches,” Smith said. “It was the whole nine yards. From then on, I’ve been a huge fan.”
Naturally, because of him paying close attention to Alabama for pretty much his entire life, the Crimson Tide has a good chance at landing Smith when he makes a commitment this December before enrolling early.
“They stand pretty high on my list,” Smith said. “The Crimson Tide’s process works obviously. They send so many players to the league. Every time I go down there, they show me the left tackle film from Andre Smith to big Cam (Robinson). The film is impressive. Pretty much every left tackle there has been drafted in the first round. Even D.J. Fluker who played right tackle was taken in the first round.”
The 6-foot-6, 299-pound prospect said Alabama is recruiting him very hard despite the Tide having commitments from 5-star tackle Alex Leatherwood and the nation’s No. 1 junior college tackle Elliot Baker.
At one point, Smith said competition at his position did matter to him. If a school had multiple tackle commitments, it would hurt its chances at landing him. He’s had a complete 180 from that mindset.
“There’s going to be competition at any school, and I’m just starting to realize that,” Smith said. “Before, I had that mindset where it bothered me. Now, I just look at it as more competition and it’s whatever to me. I don’t mind.”
Smith will release his list of top 6 schools Saturday, so will Alabama make the cut? He didn’t want to give away any spoilers but he did give it away with his answer.
“I think they have a pretty good chance at making the list,” Smith laughed.
My thoughts: After speaking with Smith, I really like Alabama’s chances of landing him. So much so that I’m now predicting him to commit to Alabama come December. Speaking with someone close to him Friday, the source said the Crimson Tide should be considered the favorite here.
Harris done with visits?
What’s the best news Alabama could get this week at The Opening? It probably would be Najee Harris saying he’s done taking visits. That sort of happened Friday.
Harris told SEC Country that he believes he won’t be taking any more visits in the near future, but even more interesting than that was the fact that he said it’s possible he doesn’t even take official visits. Is that likely to happen? Probably not. But the less visits he takes elsewhere, the better the chance is for him sticking with his commitment.
So why has Harris decided that he’s going to start scaling back his travel plans?
“I’ve been away from my team for so long so I don’t think I’m going to be doing too much stuff,” Harris said. “I want to spend time with my team because it’s a new team. I’ve been gone a lot, so I want to get to know them before we play.”
Harris’ desire to be the best teammate possible may ultimately help Alabama’s chances of keeping the best player in the country committed.
Alabama commits recruiting top players
During my interview with Harris, he joked that VanDarius Cowan and Alex Leatherwood have asked so many players to join them at Alabama this week.
Leatherwood told SEC Country that he’s been working hard on Trey Smith, Cesar Ruiz (named Alabama his leader Thursday) and Marvin Wilson. Cowan and Leatherwood have been instrumental in plenty of Alabama’s commitments’ decisions thus far. Expect them to continue to pitch Alabama all weekend.
Another championship for the Tide
No trophy for this one but major bragging rights.
Alabama’s commits beat out various Pac-12 commits for The Opening’s title of tug-of-war champions. They took down commits from LSU and Georgia in an eight-team bracket to reach the finals. Check this out (skip ahead to the 42 minute mark):
All rankings are provided by 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.