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.
We’re doing things differently in today’s notebook.
Instead of me spewing out info that I think you may like to know, I turned to SEC Country’s readers to see what burning recruiting questions you guys had. Here are the top questions asked by our readers:
What are the chances of getting Dylan Moses and Marvin Wilson?
With Moses, the 5-star linebacker from IMG Academy, almost everyone in the recruiting industry, myself included, thinks he will commit to LSU. He has openly said he would like to see the Tigers win a championship and his relationship with Les Miles is stronger than every other coach in the country. He’s also originally from Baton Rouge and has said he looks up to LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Moses has also talked about wearing the prestigious No. 7 if he ends up going to LSU. If Miles is coaching the Tigers in 2017, Moses will be playing for him.
Now he did have a very sour taste in his mouth with how the administration treated Miles at the end of last season. The Tigers were completely off his top schools list because of the talk surrounding Miles and his status with the program. If that happens again this year, I can see Alabama becoming a major player for him. After all, the Tide did lead for him at one point.
With Wilson, the 5-star defensive tackle from Texas, he’s had a very up-and-down relationship with Alabama. Minutes after it was announced that Bo Davis would be resigning from Alabama, Wilson tweeted that he was no longer going to consider the Tide. He changed his stance on that several days later, but make no mistake about it, his relationship with new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar is nowhere near as strong as what it was with Davis. If Davis stayed at Alabama, the Tide would have definitely been one of the teams to beat.
I was also told by someone close to Wilson that it’s highly unlikely he is going to end up with the Tide.
If Alabama misses on Todd Harris and Shaun Wade, who does the Tide turn to?
It’s not the best year for defensive backs, and that’s OK because it’s not a major position of need after signing four in the secondary in 2016. All four of them (Shyheim Carter, Jared Mayden, Nigel Knott and Aaron Robinson) have been talked about as standouts in practice in camp, so even if Alabama misses on some guys, it’s not the end of the world.
With that being said, Alabama would like to add 4-star safety Todd Harris and 5-star cornerback Shaun Wade in this year’s recruiting class, and the Tide are in a solid position for both players.
Harris is down to Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss, and he should make his decision at some point this fall or at the Under Armour All-American game in January. He said earlier this summer how an Alabama offer would shake up his recruitment, and that’s exactly what it did. He visited Tuscaloosa this summer and ended up earning the offer from the staff. If Harris didn’t receive that offer, he was likely going to commit to LSU, which was considered the longtime favorite for him. The Tigers are still squarely in the mix for him, but they do have two other elite safeties on board in 5-star commit JaCoby Stevens and 4-star commit Grant Delpit. The biggest question that needs to be answered is if Harris wants to join a trio or Alabama, which currently has one in 3-star safety Kyriq McDonald. He is not a true safety though, but the staff has told him he’s likely to get snaps there.
If Alabama misses on Harris, the options are bleak. Devon Hunter, a 4-star safety from Virginia, remains a target, but he’s higher on Virginia Tech and Florida at this point. He is going to take an official visit, though, so there’s time to catch up. If Alabama aggressively pursues in the coming months, he’s probably the likeliest candidate. DeAngelo Gibbs, a 4-star safety from Georgia, is also expected to take an official visit. The chances of landing Gibbs are slim right now as Georgia and Tennessee are really the only teams strongly in the mix for him.
When it comes to Shaun Wade, I have predicted for months now that Alabama will flip him away from Ohio State. I still feel good about the pick. As I’ve stated several times, his mother is a big Alabama fan and he has loads of family members in the Montgomery area, and that’s important. He has also said he sees no major differences between the two schools. He can get the same things he desires at Alabama, and it’s closer to his family.
If Alabama misses on Wade, Tariq Castro-Fields, a 3-star cornerback from Maryland, is likely the option. He is going to take an official visit to Tuscaloosa this fall.
Is there any chance with the OL from Washington (Foster Sarell)?
Foster Sarell is the No. 1 offensive lineman in the country, and Alabama would love to add him to its 2017 class, but it’s going to be a major uphill battle.
He may (keyword here) take an official visit to Tuscaloosa. If he doesn’t do that, I see no way the Tide land him. From talking to people in the know about his recruitment, while he has mentioned Alabama before in interviews, the interest level in the Tide is not super strong. He is more likely going to stay on the West Coast and commit to either Washington or Stanford. Notre Dame should also be considered one of the favorites.
Even without landing Sarell, Alabama’s offensive line haul is pretty outstanding: 5-star Alex Leatherwood, 4-star Elliot Baker, 4-star guard Kendall Randolph and 3-star guard Hunter Brannon are all committed.
If Alabama adds another LB, who do you think it will be?
Alabama has 3 linebackers committed — VanDarius Cowan, Markail Benton and Gary Johnson — and the Tide would like to add at least one more to those 4-star recruits.
Jarez Parks is the likeliest addition to the trio mentioned above. Parks is being recruited at the JACK position, which is a hybrid of outside linebacker and defensive end. He visited Tuscaloosa this summer and had commitment on his mind. He held off to take more time with his decision. But talking to someone close to him, Alabama is the team to beat for him at this time. Florida and Florida State are also in the mix.
If Alabama also adds a true linebacker to its class, 4-star prospect Jacob Phillips is a name to know. Alabama is definitely a team that is trending for Phillips, but space may be an issue. It’s unclear right now whether Alabama would take five linebackers.
With Isaiah Buggs having Bama in his top 4, what’s the latest on him?
Buggs is a top defensive line target for Alabama, but he has not visited Tuscaloosa yet. That’s obviously an issue for the Tide’s chances of landing him. LSU and Auburn are definitely the teams to beat right now.
He did tell me recently that he has plans to take an official visit to Tuscaloosa this fall, but no date has been set yet. What also helps Alabama’s chances is the fact that he is now planning on making a commitment on National Signing Day. He was originally going to announce this fall.
If he ends up visiting Alabama, the Tide will become a big factor.
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.