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.
Collins still high on Alabama
Nico Collins, a 4-star wide receiver from Clay-Chalkville High School (Pinson, Ala.), remains a giant priority for Alabama.
Collins told SEC Country two months ago that Michigan is his leader and he confirmed that’s still the case at The Opening on Thursday. The Crimson Tide are still near the top of his list, along with Georgia, but just how good of a chance does Alabama have with keeping the state’s No. 1 prospect in state?
The one illuminating piece of info Collins shared with me is that Alabama is recruiting him harder than it ever has. He hears from a coach almost every single day. Offensive line coach Mario Cristobal has communicated with Collins both days that he’s been in Oregon for The Opening.
Will the Crimson Tide’s efforts be enough though? Sources have told SEC Country that Collins would like to leave the state for college, but the elite receiver denied that claim stating he’ll play anywhere that’s the best fit for him.
He also admitted that Alabama was his private leader for quite some time, but trips to Michigan and Georgia changed that for him.
Alabama will sign at least four wide receivers in the Class of 2017. These are the names most likely to join the Crimson Tide this year: Tyrell Shavers (committed) and 4-stars Devonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. Alabama would sign five if Collins decided to commit on National Signing Day.
The race for Collins isn’t over yet.
Speedy receiver names Alabama his leader
While I just said Alabama will sign at least four receivers, there is a name Crimson Tide fans should keep an eye on this summer and fall: 4-star prospect Jeff Thomas.
Thomas, who’s from East Saint Louis, Ill., visited Tuscaloosa for the first time last month and loved it. He had named Alabama his leader previously to that visit but the trip just confirmed the fact that he could see himself playing for the Tide.
SEC Country reported through sources that Thomas tried to commit to Alabama during that visit but was turned away because of potential academic issues. He would not confirm that report, and I don’t necessarily blame him because it is a touchy subject.
If Thomas can get his academics in line this fall, it is very possible he could join Alabama. Things would get interesting numbers wise if that happens, especially if Collins wants to commit on signing day.
Another prospect names Alabama his leader
This was pretty surprising to see.
Cesar Ruiz, the nation’s top-rated center from IMG Academy, told Ryan Bartow of 247Sports that Alabama has overtaken Michigan for his top spot. I would not put much stock in this move just yet.
I’ve been told Alabama is very impressed with redshirt sophomore Ross Pierschbacher, who will be the team’s starting center this season. From what I was recently told, Alabama is not looking at signing a true center in this year’s class.
I will talk to Ruiz this week to find out more information.
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.