We are closing in on the early signing period in December, and Coach Nick Saban & Co. have plenty to do to help close out a top-10 recruiting class and address several positions of need.
Every month, SEC Country will outline the three biggest items the Alabama coaching staff needs to accomplish on the recruiting trail in order to make that a reality. Here was the to-do list for October. At the end of the month, we revisit those crucial tasks to see if Alabama checked off any boxes.
1. Continue chipping away at quarterback recruits
Alabama certainly accomplished this goal. The Crimson Tide are quickly gaining ground on flipping Ohio State quarterback commit Emory Jones.
Confidence in Jones eventually joining Alabama is growing. He took an official visit to Ohio State last weekend when the Buckeyes rallied to beat Penn State in a thrilling game. When home teams win games like OSU did in that kind of fashion, it usually does wonders for recruiting, because not only is the stadium filled with excitement but so is the city.
In Jones’ situation, he also got to see Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett complete his final 13 passes and throw the game-winning touchdown with fewer than 2 minutes left on the clock.
Despite all of that, it doesn’t seem like Jones gave any indication to OSU that his recruitment is over.
“Generally speaking, I think there’s still some unease in Columbus,” Land of 10’s Ohio State recruiting reporter Jeremy Birmingham told SEC Country. “Ohio State has invested years into Jones and they’d hoped this official visit would put an end to any and all concerns about the status of his commitment. That didn’t happen.”
Birmingham said that the vibe he received from people in Columbus concerning Jones’ commitment to Ohio State hasn’t been positive “despite no one being able to say specifically why it’s not.”
SEC Country was told by a source close to the Alabama program that Jones was texting with Tide coaches during his visit to Ohio State, which certainly isn’t a negative for the team’s chances of flipping him.
There also remains the possibility of the Under Armour All-American returning to Tuscaloosa this weekend for Alabama’s best remaining home game.
“Right now, it’s very safe to say that things are up in the air, and if Jones returns to Bama for the LSU game this weekend, it could signal the end of his time as an Ohio State commit,” Birmingham said.
It needs to be noted that Ohio State has been upping its communication with Kentucky quarterback commit Jarren Williams. That certainly is a good sign for Alabama that the likelihood of Jones joining the Tide’s 2018 commitment list is growing.
2. Land a key piece to the front 7
Alabama didn’t meet this goal and is approaching the danger zone.
The Tide missed out on getting commitments from Coynis Miller, who chose Auburn over Alabama, and Bobby Brown, who chose Texas A&M over Alabama. What’s not good for the Tide is that this is a down year for interior defensive linemen. Alabama needs several interior linemen in this class as depth isn’t deep heading into next season.
It’s unclear which prospects are going to emerge moving forward.
3. Get JUCO corner Saivion Smith on board
Alabama didn’t accomplish this goal but will likely do so in the near future.
Saivion Smith, one of Alabama’s top cornerback targets, will likely suit up for the Crimson Tide next season. It’s just a matter of when he’s going to announce his commitment. It could happen this weekend when he’s in town for his official visit to watch the team he transferred from: LSU.
But no matter when Smith announces his commitment, I expect him to choose Alabama.