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.
What the McKinney de-commitment means
Xavier McKinney, a 4-star safety from Roswell (Ga.) High School, reopened his recruitment Thursday afternoon on the heels of telling SEC Country a month ago that Florida and Clemson were tied for second for his services.
“Florida is a great place to be,” McKinney said at the Corky Kell 7-on-7 tournament in June. “Of course, they are ‘DBU’ and have all of those great defensive backs. Clemson has a family-based community and that’s what I’m looking for.”
Clemson should be the considered the favorite to land McKinney right now, because his current Roswell teammate, 4-star cornerback LeAnthony Williams, is committed to the Tigers and his former teammate Tre Lamar is a freshman linebacker for the Tigers. Those two have been recruiting McKinney hard for Clemson.
It needs to be said that McKinney was not pushed out of Alabama’s class. This decision was made on his own, a source told SEC Country. The Alabama staff was very high on McKinney and wanted him in the 2017 class.
With the loss of McKinney, Alabama is down to 14 commitments. The Crimson Tide remains No. 3 in the 2017 team rankings behind Ohio State and Georgia.
Excellent news coming in the secondary?
JaCoby Stevens, a 5-star safety from Oakland High School (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), will make his commitment known by the end of the month. Sources believe this has become a two-team race, with Alabama and Georgia are the potential suitors for Stevens.
Several months ago, Stevens looked to be a shoe-in for the Bulldogs. At one point, Stevens named Georgia his leader and said the Bulldogs held a giant lead over the rest of the field.
“Georgia is still recruiting me the hardest right now,” Stevens said to DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell back in April. “By far. .. You could say no one is gaining any ground on Georgia right now.”
Since then, Alabama has slowly cut into that lead Georgia once held. Here’s what he had to say about Alabama three weeks ago on the heels of a visit to Tuscaloosa.
“Alabama is a pretty good school. It’s a school that I am definitely considering at this point,” Stevens said. “I can’t really say what Alabama’s chances of getting me are. I can’t say it’s a great or bad chance right now because I need to go back in the lab and compare all of the schools.”
Sources have told SEC Country that Alabama has been gaining confidence in where it stands with Stevens as his announcement approaches.
More DBs to watch
It’s possible Alabama adds a commitment from 4-star safety Hamsah Nasirildeen (Concord, N.C.) as soon as this upcoming week. Nasirildeen will visit Alabama July 17-20, and it’s his second trip to Tuscaloosa in the past three months.
The U.S. Army All-American told SEC Country two weeks ago that Alabama was tied on top alongside South Carolina and Florida. He is expected to visit Florida on July 22, which could make him hold off on a commitment before he leaves Tuscaloosa.
He did know why he would commit to Alabama if he did choose the Tide.
“They put a high level of kids into the NFL and they graduate a high number of players each year,” Nasirildeen said. “They win a lot of national championships, too.”
James Clemens High School standout Kyriq McDonald is very likely to join the Alabama class when he makes his college decision. McDonald, a 3-star athlete from Madison, Ala., included Alabama in his top 7 earlier this week.
McDonald is teammates with major Alabama target LaBryan Ray, a 4-star defensive end. Those two, along with 3-star linebacker Monty Rice, another James Clemens star, have discussed the possibility of playing together in college. The three of those players have a chance to do that at Alabama in the coming months when they choose their schools.
A decision was supposed to come last week, but 4-star safety Montaric Brown (Ashdown, Ark.) opted to push back his commitment. At this time, it’s a two-team race with Arkansas and Alabama fighting it out. Brown is believed to be behind both Nasirildeen and McDonald on the wish list, so he may end up with the Razorbacks if a decision comes soon.
One incredible quote
Alabama linebacker commit VanDarius Cowan on why he thinks the Crimson Tide’s recruiting class is better than Ohio State’s: “That’s ranked off of all those stars and junk, but we’re talking about Alabama having goons and savages in this class,” Cowan said. “I’m talking about boys who want to play and give it their all. I’m telling you all of my boys that are committed are savages. We are straight dogs.”
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.