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.
Alabama hoping to land another Baton Rouge prospect
Tim Williams committed to Alabama out of University Lab High School (Baton Rouge, La.) in 2013, and the Crimson Tide are hoping they land another highly rated recruit out of LSU’s backyard.
Chris Allen, a 4-star linebacker from Southern University Lab High School (Baton Rouge, La.), is on Alabama’s radar, and it’s possible he could be Williams’ replacement in 2017 at the JACK position.
“They have said that I could come off the edge like Tim Williams and play the linebacker position like Reuben Foster,” Allen told SEC Country. “It’s kind of unbelievable that they are comparing me to these guys. Those guys are great so I’m just wowed when they say that.”
Allen is one of the Crimson Tide’s main targets at JACK, along with 4-star defensive end Jarez Parks. Alabama has four linebacker commitments in the Class of 2017, but the team is holding at least one more spot open for Allen or Parks — both of whom are viewed as potential first-round NFL picks.
Alabama will have a 50-50 shot to sign Allen when he makes his commitment, which is tentatively set for National Signing Day. He said it’s “pretty much” an Alabama-LSU race as of now.
Both of those schools happen to be his co-leaders and the teams recruiting him the hardest.
“LSU is drilling me on staying home and play for the team that I’ve been watching since I was young,” Allen said. “Alabama has been telling me that they want me to be the next Louisiana guy. They think that I would be great there.”
While both schools might be tied on top for his signature, Alabama does have an advantage over LSU in one key area: relationships. When asked which coach he’s closest to in his recruitment, Allen immediately said Crimson Tide outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi.
“Every time I talk to him it’s legit,” Allen said. “He’s never talking down on other schools. I feel like he treats me like one of his kids. It makes me feel really good because if I go there I know I’m going to have a coach that will really take care of me.”
The Under Armour All-American was in Tuscaloosa for Alabama’s game against Kentucky. It was his first time seeing the Crimson Tide play in person. He came away impressed with two things: how the fans support the team and more non-offensive touchdowns for Alabama.
The defense’s ability to find the end zone is one of the things that makes Alabama stand out from LSU.
“I think they’ve scored a defensive touchdown in eight straight games,” Allen said. “That’s ridiculous. You can’t ask for a better performance from them when you’re talking about the turnover category. They’re just amazing and I think I would want to be a part of that. They have a great defense and a great coaching staff.”
The 6-foot-4, 234-pound prospect will return to Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl in late November. He’s expecting to go to Alabama’s road game against LSU, too.
Though he’s lived in Baton Rouge for his entire life, Allen wants to make it clear that he’s not automatically going to LSU.
“I’m going to the school where I feel is going to suit me best, whether that’s staying at home or going to Alabama,” Allen said.
Alabama is hoping Allen follows another Baton Rouge native in Tim Williams and leaves home when it’s time to make a decision.
Tide looking to pull in another Louisiana native
He’s not talked about much because he’s very quiet when it comes to his recruitment, but 4-star defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis remains a top target for Alabama in the Class of 2017.
SEC Country’s Sam Spiegelman was in attendance at Neville High School (Monroe, La.) on Thursday afternoon for Mathis’ Under Armour All-American ceremony. Things are very much the same for Mathis when it comes to where his recruitment stands.
I caught up with Mathis a few weeks ago, and he told me Alabama was the school recruiting him the hardest. He told SEC Country on Thursday that Alabama still talks to him every day.
Spiegelman did catch an interesting observation while at Mathis’ jersey presentation. His mother had an Alabama keychain. Mathis downplayed the significance of it, though.
“She loves (Alabama),” Mathis said. “She’s thankful for the teams that have given me a good opportunity to play for their school. There’s nothing about it, though. It’s just a keychain.”
Mathis is planning on committing after his senior season. I still expect Alabama to sign the 4-star prospect when he makes his decision.
Major Alabama targets traveling to Knoxville
SEC Country’s Jesse Simonton gathered up a list of targets who will be in attendance for Alabama’s game against Tennessee this weekend. Here are the major targets who will get an up close look at the Tide:
- 5-star running back Cam Akers, Clinton (Miss.)
- 5-star offensive tackle Trey Smith, University School (Tenn.)
- 4-star defensive end LaBryan Ray, James Clemens High (Ala.)
- 4-star offensive tackle Jedrick Wills, Lafayette High (Ky.)
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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