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.
Wade hasn’t set Alabama official visit just yet
Another recruiting website posted Wednesday that 5-star Ohio State cornerback commit Shaun Wade will take an official visit to Alabama this fall. His father, Randy, said that’s not the case just yet.
“It’s not 100 percent,” Randy Wade said. “He is trying to finalize it soon. It hasn’t been scheduled yet.”
Wade has three official visits set — Sept. 17 for the Michigan State-Notre Dame contest, Oct. 1 for the Wisconsin-Michigan game and Nov. 26 for the Michigan-Ohio State contest.
If he does finalize an Alabama official visit, it would be a good change of plans for the Crimson Tide. The nation’s No. 3 cornerback told SEC Country in recent interviews that he didn’t think an official visit to Tuscaloosa would happen because of how easy it is for him to visit the school whenever he wants.
Alabama is still prioritizing the Trinity Christian High School (Jacksonville, Fla.) standout even after the commitments of 4-star junior college cornerback Jhavonte Dean and 3-star defensive back Kyriq McDonald.
I have said for several months now that I believe Wade ultimately flips his commitment from Ohio State to Alabama. The majority of his family currently lives in the Montgomery area and his mother is a huge Tide fan. If he doesn’t go to Ohio State, he will go to Alabama. Forget all that other talk from him about other schools. It’s a two-school race.
Alabama is really the only other school in the country that can provide what Ohio State can (legendary coach at the helm, compete for championships every year and send multiple players to the league every draft). He can get the same things he can at Ohio State at Alabama, and the school happens to be close to family.
Alabama still recruiting Ruiz hard?
Jeff Sentell, of DawgNation, was down in Bradenton, Fla., on Wednesday covering IMG Academy’s media day for us. He had a chance to catch up with the nation’s No. 1 center Cesar Ruiz, who told SEC Country at The Opening that Alabama was his leader.
“It’s a great school,” Ruiz said of Alabama. “They’re recruiting me really hard. They offered me a sophomore. They’ve recruited me hard ever since.”
Since The Opening, things have changed a bit. Alabama gained a commitment from 3-star offensive lineman Hunter Brannon. The Cullman (Ala.) High School prospect committed to the Crimson Tide two weeks ago after picking up an offer by dominating at Alabama’s OL-DL camp. The plan for Brannon is to play center. That’s obviously an issue for Ruiz who is considered strictly a center.
Alabama already has four offensive line commitments (Brannon, 5-star tackle Alex Leatherwood, nation’s No. 1 junior college offensive lineman Elliot Baker and 4-star offensive guard Kendall Randolph). The Crimson Tide are still in the mix for 4-star tackles Jedrick Wills, Isaiah Wilson and Trey Smith.
Wills is likely going to choose Alabama within the next two weeks. Wilson visited Tuscaloosa two weeks ago for multiple days, including the cookout, and Alabama is in good position for him as well. Smith is likely going to end up at Tennessee when he makes his commitment. His sister now works in the Volunteers’ recruiting office.
Rice still waiting to hear from Alabama
Monty Rice, a 3-star linebacker from James Clemens High School (Madison, Ala.) is in a weird spot.
Kyriq McDonald, a 3-star defensive back from James Clemens, committed to Alabama on Sunday and their other teammate, 4-star defensive end LaBryan Ray, is a giant priority for the Crimson Tide. Rice isn’t a priority for Alabama at this time and doesn’t know where he stands with the Crimson Tide.
“That’s a good question for them (the staff),” Rice told SEC Country. “I know you probably have some inside connections, right? Because I don’t know where I stand.”
Alabama has three linebacker commitments in the Class of 2017: 4-stars VanDarius Cowan, Markail Benton and Gary Johnson. The Tide are in the mix for 4-stars Chris Allen, Jarez Parks and Jacob Phillips. All of those guys are ahead of Rice on the pecking order.
It’s clear Rice really likes Alabama, but he isn’t going to wait around and jeopardize his own recruitment if there isn’t space. Rice said Georgia currently leads for him, and he already has thoughts about joining a program that can possibly take down Alabama one day.
“I wouldn’t mind doing that,” Rice said. “Someone has to take down the champs, right? A lot of people just want to go with the champions and not many want to be with a program that’s building something that can take down the champs.”
Rice recently performed at Alabama’s camp for the staff, and he thinks his performance was impressive. Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt told Rice that he was going to have a meeting with the staff, but the linebacker hasn’t heard anything yet.
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.