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.
Byers to visit Sunday, commitment on the way?
Akial Byers, a 4-star defensive tackle from Fayetteville (Ark.) High School, is scheduled to arrive in Tuscaloosa late Saturday night for his visit to Alabama on Sunday. Byers visited Georgia on Saturday afternoon for Kirby Smart’s camp.
The Bulldogs are not a serious player for Byers, but the Crimson Tide are. One source close to Byers told SEC Country on Saturday that Alabama has been his leader for some time and his mother has been pushing for her son to commit when he visits Tuscaloosa.
Byers’ mother plays a big role in her son’s recruitment, so if she gets her wish, Alabama could have its first interior line commitment in the Class of 2017.
Out of the schools he’s strongly considering at this point, Alabama is truly the only serious contender for Byers’ services. He is one of the team’s top defensive tackle targets along with 5-star prospects Marvin Wilson and Tyler Shelvin (LSU commit) and 4-star talent Aubrey Solomon (Michigan commit).
It would be somewhat surprising if Byers left Tuscaloosa still as an uncommitted prospect.
Ruiz says Alabama did not leapfrog Michigan just yet
Cesar Ruiz, the nation’s top center, spoke with SEC Country at The Opening, Nike’s premier camp for the nation’s top high school football players. He supposedly told other reporters that Alabama was his lone leader, but he stopped short of doing that in our interview with him.
What he did say though was that Alabama has closed the gap with Michigan, the school many recruiting analysts believe he’ll end up at. Ruiz also mentioned that Oklahoma is in that top group with Alabama and Michigan, too. He said those three schools are the ones he’s most focused on.
So how did Alabama make up significant ground in his recruitment?
“You always hear that if you go to Alabama, you won’t play until you’re a junior, but I was looking at the depth chart and I have a good opportunity to play as a redshirt freshman or true sophomore,” Ruiz said.
Alabama’s projected starting center Ross Pierschbacher will be a redshirt sophomore this season, so Ruiz is somewhat right with saying he could have a chance to play in year two. Pierschbacher would be a redshirt senior but could be gone pending an NFL draft decision.
Ruiz said he is hoping to visit Alabama July 29-30. If he can’t make it then, he’ll return for an official visit.
With there being so many top offensive linemen on the board still uncommitted, it remains to be seen if Alabama would accept his commitment at this time.
Announcement coming for 5-star target?
Isaiah Wilson, the nation’s No. 5 offensive tackle, tweeted and deleted that an August announcement was coming, but he did not say whether or not that would be a commitment, and of course that led to rampant speculation on Twitter.
Wilson later clarified that his August announcement is not a commitment, so that news could be literally anything other than a decision.
The 6-foot-7, 354-pound prospect will be back on Alabama’s campus next Friday for the team’s invite-only cookout, and that’s good news for the Crimson Tide. It will be the Brooklyn, N.Y., native’s second trip to Alabama this offseason.
His recruitment is believed to be a three-team race right now with Michigan and Georgia battling Alabama.
Don’t expect an announcement soon for 4-star safety
Montaric Brown was originally set to announce his commitment Aug. 24 before pushing it up to last week before then deciding to not go through with it. Now, a commitment may not come until he takes all of his official visits.
“I’m going to push it back, because I talked to my family and we decided to let me take all my official visits to see how I like all my top choices before I make a decision,” Brown told SEC Country’s Arkansas recruiting reporter Trent Shadid.
Brown is planning on taking official visits to Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Auburn and Oklahoma State. His recruitment is believed to be an Alabama vs. Arkansas race, but Brown did not want to say which school he was planning on committing to last week.
“I had one (school in mind) at the moment,” Brown said, “but I’m going to keep that to myself.”
As far as his interest in Alabama? Brown didn’t keep that answer to himself.
“They just won the national championship and they’ve got the greatest coach in Nick Saban.”
In addition to Brown, Alabama is recruiting 5-star athlete JaCoby Stevens and 4-star Hamsah Nasirildeen at safety. Three-star Kyriq McDonald is also on Alabama’s board, but he doesn’t have a set position in which he’s being recruited for. He could play anywhere in the defensive backfield.
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.