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Commitment coming next month for Conliffe?
Elijah Conliffe was expected to make a commitment after the season in January, but those plans have changed.
Conliffe, a 4-star defensive tackle from Hampton (Va.) High School, told SEC Country on Wednesday night that a commitment could be coming as soon as next month. That’s good news for Alabama because the Crimson Tide still top his recruitment list.
“I’ll probably release the commitment video midseason,” Conliffe said. “I haven’t filmed it yet, but it’s in the mix. It could happen in October, maybe November.”
Alabama took the lead for Conliffe ever since he was offered by the Tide in July after attending one of the team’s summer camps. He had made it a goal to get that offer after leaving Tuscaloosa last year without it. Now that he has it, it’s going to be hard for any other team to overtake the Tide.
What’s holding him back from making a commitment if he has Alabama on top and intentions to announce a decision as soon as next month?
“I just want to make sure that’s the right choice,” Conliffe said. “I’ve pretty much seen all that I have wanted to see out of them already. I’ve seen how the coaches coach and how much passion they have for coaching. That’s something I always look for in a coaching staff.”
The 6-foot-4, 305-pound prospect said he’s expecting to be back in Tuscaloosa either this month or in October. Why does that matter? Well, Alabama is currently the only school he knows he’s going to visit before creating his commitment video.
Conliffe spoke to Nick Saban for approximately 30 minutes Wednesday night after the coach finished talking with the media. Saban stressed to Conliffe that he’s looking at him to become a major piece in the Class of 2017.
“They really need defensive linemen and they think I’m a good fit for them,” Conliffe said. “(Saban) said I can play the 5-technique or 3-technique. He thinks I’m a very versatile lineman. They also told me they are taking four defensive linemen this class.”
The nation’s No. 11 defensive end said Southern California, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma are currently behind Alabama in no particular order. What’s interesting about his recruitment is ever since he picked up the Alabama offer, some schools have stopped talking to him completely. He chose not to name those schools but did say that he thinks it’s because they view Alabama as unbeatable in his recruitment.
So, is there anything a school can do at this point to overtake Alabama for the No. 1 spot?
“I don’t know at this moment,” Conliffe said. “I really don’t know.”
I fully expect Conliffe to join Alabama’s class when he makes his commitment. The Tide have defensive line commitments from 4-star prospect Akial Byers and 3-star player Aaron Sterling.
Leatherwood comments on Michigan
Alex Leatherwood is one of three 5-star prospects for Alabama (QB Tua Tagovailoa and RB Najee Harris) in the Class of 2017, and it’s well-known that he’s going to take all five of his official visits.
Is that something to worry about? Not at all. He is a firm commit despite his desire to see other colleges throughout his recruitment. One of the schools that he will visit is Michigan. Leatherwood will be in attendance for the Wolverines’ game against Wisconsin on Oct. 1. Here’s what he had to say about his interest level in Michigan.
“(The Jordan uniforms) are freaking awesome,” Leatherwood told Brandon Justice of Landof10.com. “Michigan has too much sauce right now.”
From knowing Leatherwood, frankly, he’s too smart of a person to flip his commitment because of a school’s uniforms, so there’s really nothing to worry about with that quote. If he had said Jim Harbaugh has already promised him the starting left tackle job when he gets on campus, then it’s a different story.
The only way I can see the nation’s No. 5 overall recruit rethinking his commitment to Alabama is if offensive line coach Mario Cristobal takes a job elsewhere. Those two are very close, and it’s a big reason why Leatherwood wants to play for Alabama. Cristobal has head coaching experience and with his success at Alabama of consistently churning out some of the nation’s best offensive line play, he could get another chance at being a head coach sooner rather than later.
Johnson has been in contact with Ohio State
Gary Johnson, a 4-star linebacker from Dodge City (Kan.) Community College, is one of the most-coveted recruits for Alabama in the Class of 2017, and despite his commitment to the Crimson Tide, the coaching staff knows it’s going to be a dogfight to keep him on board.
Johnson told Bill Kurelic of 247Sports that Ohio State is still pursuing him and he recently talked with the Buckeyes staff to get specifics on when his official visit to Columbus will happen.
“Me and coach (Luke) Fickell talked a couple of days ago,” Johnson said. “Actually it was last night. We talked about my official visit. I’ve got to check my bye week and get a date (to visit Ohio State.). I just have to pick when.”
The junior college prospect is expected to take an official visit to Alabama at some point and he’s thinking about visiting Arizona State, LSU, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State.
Johnson has said previously that he’s 70 percent committed to Alabama despite him classifying the school as his dream destination. I do think the missing 30 percent is because he just wants to see if there are better options out there. Knowing how badly the staff wants Johnson, who runs a low 4.4 40-yard dash (which is INSANE for a linebacker), I don’t see the Tide losing his commitment.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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