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Alabama makes up ground for Wilson after LSU win
I’ve stated for months now that 5-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson is a long shot to end up in Alabama’s 2017 class, and I still believe that to be true.
However, the nation’s No. 1 defensive tackle told Damon Sayles of Bleacher Report that both Alabama and LSU surged after their matchup this past weekend.
“It was the game of the year to me,” Wilson said. “That was the best defensive game I have ever seen in my life.
“They both have surged in my recruitment.”
That surely is a noteworthy quote because both teams have definitely lost momentum since this past summer when he told SEC Country that both schools were certainly going to be two finalists when it came down to announcing his decision. They were the only two teams he knew for sure that would be in the mix until National Signing Day.
“Those are going to be the two schools that will be there until the end,” Wilson said in February. “I already know that. I don’t have a set top 5 or a top 10, but if I did, I know those two schools would be in there.”
Since then, lots has changed in his recruitment. Defensive line coach Bo Davis resigned from Alabama, and LSU decided to fire Les Miles. After both events, Wilson said Alabama and LSU were eliminated from contention for his signature. He has backed off of that stance, but it’s clear both schools have lots of work to do to sign him.
I’ve been told by several members close to the Alabama program and those tight with Wilson that the interest level from both parties died after Davis’ departure from Alabama. The U.S. Army All-American hasn’t developed as great of a relationship with new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar as the one he enjoyed with Davis. When it comes to Wilson’s decision, that’s one of the major keys to landing him.
Also, I’ve been told that Wilson isn’t the team’s top target at defensive tackle. It’s 4-star prospect Aubrey Solomon.
So, to recap, while the prospect may have said Alabama has surged in his recruitment, I wouldn’t put too much stock in that comment. Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Florida State, Ohio State and Southern California are all in better position to land him.
Conliffe now unsure of his leader
Since the summer, Alabama has held a clear lead for 4-star defensive tackle Elijah Conliffe out of Hampton, Va. Following his official visit to Penn State this past weekend, he’s now unsure if the Tide are on top.
“I don’t know anymore,” Conliffe told SEC Country.
That’s a significant change from what he told us following his visit to Tuscaloosa a few weeks back for the Texas A&M game. He spoke with Jonathan Allen after the Tide’s win over the Aggies, and the potential Heisman finalist told him that going to Alabama was one of the best choices he’s made.
“He said it was a hard decision, but he pushed through it,” Conliffe said a few weeks ago. “It’s obviously paid off. It was very exciting getting to talk to him. We didn’t talk much about the game.”
At one point in his recruitment, Penn State was the favorite to land Conliffe, so for him to say he’s unsure of Alabama leading anymore shouldn’t be taken lightly.
I’ve been asked a lot if Conliffe has a committable offer from Alabama. He does. I confirmed it once again on Monday night from a source close to the program. Conliffe is one of the team’s top targets on the defensive line along with Solomon (mentioned above) and 4-star prospects Phidarian Mathis and LaBryan Ray and junior college prospects Javon Kinlaw and Isaiah Buggs.
Speaking of Buggs …
Buggs, a 4-star defensive end from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, is a wanted man in Tuscaloosa. But there’s always been a big obstacle in Alabama’s chances with him — the missing visit.
That could be changing this weekend.
Buggs told SEC Country that he will “probably” visit Alabama this weekend for the team’s game against Mississippi State. If he ends up making it, Alabama could certainly become a major contender here. He has Alabama in his top four along with LSU, Ole Miss and Auburn, and, again, that’s without having visited Tuscaloosa.
LSU and Auburn are the favorites here, but a visit could change things.
Cowan done with visits
On the day he learned that his high school career was officially over after his appeal to play in the U.S. Army Bowl game was denied, Alabama 4-star linebacker VanDarius Cowan ended his recruitment, too.
Cowan was expected to take official visits to LSU, Ohio State, Georgia and Southern California, but that won’t happen.
He told SEC Country that he won’t be visiting those programs, which is a sigh of relief for those Alabama fans who always become nervous when the team’s commitments visit other schools.
The Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) High School product was dismissed from his high school’s team for reportedly not being a good teammate in one of his school’s final games. He was seen on the sidelines eating and talking to people in the bleachers as his team was competing. Alabama assured him after this setback that it was going to honor his commitment and scholarship.
Now, the 4-star prospect will prepare for the next step as he readies for his career at Alabama.
Alabama wanted prospect to postpone decision
Walter Grant chose Georgia over Alabama this past Friday night. Grant was not a prospect I had mentioned much because I didn’t think the Tide had a good chance at receiving his commitment. That doesn’t mean Alabama didn’t want him. It did.
According to our Georgia recruiting reporter, Jeff Sentell of DawgNation, Alabama defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley wanted Grant to postpone his commitment date. Ansley wanted Grant to take an official visit to Tuscaloosa before his commitment, but that never happened and won’t happen in the future.
The 4-star prospect was being recruited as an outside linebacker by the Tide, but the good news for Alabama is that there are several other options. Four-star prospects Christopher Allen and Jarez Parks are two candidates I feel will choose Alabama as of today.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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