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 down to 4, but it’s a 2-team race
Devonta Smith will make his announcement on Aug. 15, and if nothing changes from now until then, he will be an Alabama commit. The possibility for change comes July 15-16 when he visits Miami. According to a source, Miami is the only school that has a chance at beating out Alabama for the 4-star wide receiver’s commitment. Smith publicly says Alabama, Nebraska, Miami and Mississippi State are his finalists.
Smith was a Georgia commit at one time, so there’s some familiarity with Mark Richt there. But will a two-day trip to Miami be enough to crumble what the Crimson Tide have built in the past several months? I don’t think it’s happening.
What may have been the most eyebrow-raising remark of the day was when Smith told SEC Country that the reason for not including LSU, the in-state school, in his group of finalists had little to do with football.
“I just really want to get away from home,” Smith said. “I don’t really like being in Louisiana that much. I want to get away from home so I can explore other things.”
Look for Smith to become Alabama’s second wide receiver commit in the month of August, as Henry Ruggs III announces Aug. 1. It would be shocking if Ruggs chose anywhere other than Alabama.
Tagovailoa 100 percent solid
It’s one thing for a recruit to say they are 100 percent committed to a school, but it’s another thing for a mother to say it.
Diane Tagovailoa, Alabama quarterback commit Tua Tagovailoa’s mother, does not see her son backing out of his commitment. Loyalty and being a man of your word is very important to Tua.
“I don’t believe that he’ll waver from his verbal commitment to Alabama because he’s prayed hard on it,” Diane told SEC Country at The Opening, the premier summer camp in the nation, held at Nike’s world headquarters. “Once he makes up his mind, he’s a man of his word. Once he makes up his mind, that’s what he’s going with.”
Tua is still planning on taking visits to other schools, but that’s mainly for the experience, she said.
I’ve talked to the family several times since Tagovailoa committed, and I have to say, they are 100 percent behind Tua’s decision to leave home for a college 4,000 miles away. There’s been a lot of chatter lately surrounding his commitment to Alabama, but there’s nothing to worry about. Tua is here in Oregon recruiting for Alabama.
More teams in the mix for major target
Jerry Jeudy is one of Alabama’s top targets at wide receiver, but don’t expect a commitment anytime soon. He told SEC Country that he will take all of his official visits before making a decision. Alabama will be one of the schools he visits.
The feel surrounding Jeudy is that the Crimson Tide remains the favorite to land him when he makes a commitment. He publicly says Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Miami are recruiting him the hardest. Watch out for Florida as a sleeper. The Gators’ new on-campus recruiting director, John Herron, has lots of connections to South Florida. Since Herron joined the Gators staff, Jeudy has recently taken a visit to Gainesville. Before that, he hadn’t visited in a year.
Alabama a finalist for JUCO DL
Mississippi Gulf Coast defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs released his top five Wednesday, and Alabama did make the cut. He told SEC Country a few weeks ago that he is likely to make a commitment by the end of July.
The Crimson Tide staff has prioritized Buggs, but LSU is still viewed as the favorite to land him when he commits. Buggs is from Louisiana.
Tide on top for 4-star WR
Jeff Thomas, a 4-star prospect from East Saint Louis, Ill., told Hank South of 247Sports.com that Alabama is still on top for him. Thomas tried to commit to Alabama several weeks ago on an unofficial visit but was turned down. The Crimson Tide staff would like to see Thomas improve his academics before accepting him.
If Thomas does so, it’s very possible he’ll be a part of the Crimson Tide class this fall.
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.