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.
Big target back in Tuscaloosa week before commitment
Devonta Smith, a 4-star wide receiver from Amite (La.) High School, visited Alabama this past weekend with his mentor Vincent Sanders. That’s a big deal because come next Monday, he’ll be announcing his commitment. His finalists remain Alabama, LSU and Miami.
I see no way Alabama loses out on his commitment. There are currently no plans to visit any of his finalists this week.
Ever since he backed off his commitment to Georgia back in January, Alabama has been viewed as the favorite. I’ve written about it before, but he’s good friends with freshman defensive back Shyheim Carter, Sr., and Smith is very close with assistant director of player personnel Sam Petitto, who was a mentor to the wide receiver as a young kid.
A source told SEC Country that Alabama is the clear cut favorite here with a week to go. Fans should expect Alabama to pick up its third wide receiver commit next week as Smith would join 4-star prospects Tyrell Shavers and Jerry Jeudy.
Smith’s commitment may help Tide land 5-star DT
Ishmael Sopsher picked up an Alabama offer on Sunday. Why is that a big deal? He is teammates with Devonta Smith at Amite High School.
Sopsher is the nation’s No. 1 defensive tackle in the Class of 2019 and a 5-star prospect. He told SEC Country shortly after picking up the offer why it was such an important moment in his recruitment.
“It means the world to me having an Alabama offer because Alabama is one of the top programs in college football,” Sopsher said.
Now if Smith ends up committing to Alabama next Monday, is it going to help the Crimson Tide in Sopsher’s recruitment?
“Most likely because going to college with one of my teammates is important,” Sopsher said.
Amite High School has another 5-star prospect on its roster, 2019 wide receiver Devonta Lee. Lee doesn’t have an Alabama offer just yet, but it should be expected that he’ll pick one up eventually.
Another Smith note
Oh, by the way, Smith was spending a good amount of time Sunday with 2018 5-star LSU commit Kelvin Joseph, who was back in Tuscaloosa. Joseph, if you recall, told SEC Country a few weeks ago that he was rethinking his commitment to the Tigers after visiting Alabama for the team’s camp.
What’s up with Cowan taking visits?
I’m going to rant for a little bit, so pardon me.
VanDarius Cowan, a 4-star Alabama linebacker commit from Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) High School, changed his mind and has decided to visit other schools. That is a big development for Cowan, because he’s been very vocal about not visiting other schools not located in Tuscaloosa. He has changed his mind though.
Cowan will now take all five of his official visits. Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State and Southern California will receive a visit from the Army All-American.
Why would a recruit need to visit other schools if he’s 100 percent committed to a school? Well, for one, these trips are completely free. Some fans have reached out to me expressing disappointment in Cowan’s decision because he portrays himself as a rock solid commit. He is. Visits to other schools don’t make him less solid.
Put yourself in his shoes. As a high schooler, would you not want to visit top schools, see multiple college football games for free and be treated like a king while you’re on that trip? If you say no, you are lying to yourself.
Let Cowan and all of these other recruits enjoy their recruiting process. The nation’s No. 4 outside linebacker will be a part of the Crimson Tide program in 2017.
Allen no longer has Alabama alone at the top
One of Alabama’s top targets at linebacker listed the Crimson Tide as his leader since February up until this past weekend.
Christopher Allen, a 4-star prospect from Southern University Lab High School (Baton Rouge, La.) told SEC Country’s Sam Spigelman that LSU is now tied with Alabama at the top.
“I feel even better than I did about LSU,” Allen said. “I didn’t think I could feel any better seeing as they’re my home school and they’ve always been there. But after getting to know the linebackers coach and looking at their academic stuff, when I was over there it seemed like one of the best ways to get my degree.”
Allen said the biggest factor for why either school would gain his commitment would be how the team performs this season. Both teams are expected to be two of the top teams in college football.
“They just need to have a really good season,” Allen said. “It’ll be a good decision whether I go to LSU or to Alabama because those are two great programs. I’m looking to see how the LSU defense is going to look this season.”
SEC Country sources feel like even though Allen says the two programs are currently tied, LSU holds the edge for him at this moment.
If Alabama misses on Allen, it is still after 4-star prospects Jarez Parks and Jacob Phillips. There is a lot of smoke surrounding Phillips’ standing with Alabama. Allen’s current love affair with LSU could be a big reason why Phillips is trending a bit for Alabama.
Bad news expected Monday
The wild recruiting ride of 5-star safety JaCoby Stevens is coming to an end in a few hours.
Stevens will announce his commitment to either Alabama, LSU, Georgia or Auburn. He is not likely to put on a Crimson Tide hat.
At one point, Georgia was the favorite to land his commitment. A few months later, Alabama was the top dog. A few weeks later, it was LSU. Needless to say, the amount of twists and turns in this recruitment makes me believe that even though he says his recruitment will be over after he announces at 3:30 p.m. EST, it will still continue.
Stevens has been all over the place on what he exactly wants when it comes to a college, and again, that’s perfectly OK. I still fully believe the losers at his announcement will continue to pursue knowing he has been known to change his mind.
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.