Markail Benton left Tuscaloosa Friday shocked at what he had seen.
Benton, a four-star outside linebacker from Central High School (Phenix City, Ala.), was shown Alabama’s linebacker big board and stared at it in disbelief.
“I don’t know if they were supposed to show me that, but I was at the top,” Benton told SEC Country. “They were just telling me they needed me badly and, as I saw, they need linebackers.
“I was kind of shocked to see the board. Most people don’t have the opportunity to say they are at the top of Alabama’s list.”
The state of Alabama’s No. 2 prospect said he could see himself playing for Alabama in 2017 after watching the team practice. He thinks he would be a good fit in the Tide’s scheme.
“They run a 3-4 defense, but what I most like about them is how they communicate,” Benton said. “The whole defense just communicates really well.”
Despite the All-American showing strong interest in Alabama, most in the recruiting industry believe Benton is a lock to go to Auburn. According to his 247Sports Crystal Ball, 100 percent of recruiting analysts believe he’ll commit to the Tigers.
He mentioned that Alabama defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley and Auburn linebackers coach Travis Williams are the two coaches he’s connected with the most.
The 6-foot-2, 227-pounder said he talks to both coaches almost daily. When it comes to making a commitment, will it be between the two in-state rivals?
“I wouldn’t say that, but I would say those two schools are at the top of my list right now in my top five, along with Mississippi State, Florida State and Georgia,” Benton said.
Benton, who plays his high school ball 30 minutes from Auburn, has tentatively scheduled a return trip to Alabama next weekend with his family. If he can’t make that trip, he’ll be back for the spring game.
The nation’s No. 6 outside linebacker said he is planning on committing in early January, perhaps at the Under Armour All-American game.
All ratings and rankings are from 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.