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.
Harbaugh visits Harris during Michigan’s bye week
Jim Harbaugh took his recruiting circus on the road this week to visit one of the Wolverines’ top priorities in the Class of 2017: 5-star Alabama running back commit Najee Harris.
Harbaugh was in attendance for Antioch (Calif.) High School’s game Friday night where, well, Harbaugh made sure the crowd in attendance knew he was there. The Michigan coach ditched his Wolverines pullover and hat for an Antioch sweatshirt and ball cap.
He took it a step further by taking over the microphone during halftime and announcing that Tatianna Mendez was the school’s homecoming queen.
— Ron Kroichick (@ronkroichick) October 15, 2016
Are these antics going to help Harbaugh flip Harris from Alabama to Michigan? Not really. For one, Harris is the perfect recruit for Nick Saban because he’s all about getting his business done. He works out at least twice a day five days a week, not because he has to but because that’s who he is. That separates the good players from the great ones. Harris also thoroughly dislikes talking about his recruitment with reporters, mainly because he hates the attention it brings upon himself.
So, will Harbaugh’s circus act help sway Harris in his commitment? No. But, it does show the nation’s No. 1 overall player that Harbaugh is going to do what it takes to show how badly he wants him in the maize and blue come next season.
“Harbaugh is crazy, but he’s real,” a source close to Harris’ recruitment said.
That same source continues to tell SEC Country that the running back remains 100 percent solid in his commitment to Alabama. That is what he told the Crimson Tide staff earlier this year, too, when he was on campus for Alabama’s summer camp.
Alabama knows he’s going to continue taking visits elsewhere, and the staff is fine with it. The coaches know it’s going to be a battle to keep him committed until those papers are signed. The good news for the Tide is Harris is an early enrollee, so time is on their side because his recruitment will be done in early January. He won’t be able to take any official visits come Dec. 12, which is when the dead period begins. During that time, there is to be no face-to-face communication with recruits.
He hasn’t taken any official visits yet, so it’s highly unlikely he’ll be able to take all five trips. His mother, Tianna Hicks, said Alabama, Michigan and Southern California or UCLA are almost assuredly getting a visit. She also said something that should ease the mind of Alabama fans worried about losing their top commitment.
“My school — that’s Alabama — that’s where we are committed now, and that’s where we plan on staying,” Hicks said. “If anything changes, I’ll tell you it will be something I’m not aware of. For right now, as far as we are all concerned, him too, we are still committed to Alabama, same commitment, 100 percent. He just doesn’t want to talk about it right now.”
Moses makes surprising visit
Dylan Moses, the nation’s No. 1 outside linebacker, surprisingly committed out of nowhere to Alabama two weeks ago on the heels of an official visit to Tuscaloosa. But more surprising than that was the fact that he said his recruitment was over, and he would not be taking any visits to schools located outside of Tuscaloosa.
That lasted all of 13 days, until he visited LSU this past weekend alongside his family. Moses was back home in Baton Rouge, which gave him the opportunity to see the Tigers for the first time since committing to Alabama.
Should a big deal be made about this trip to LSU? I wouldn’t say so right now, but it’s definitely interesting to see him break away from his “shut down” recruitment already. Like Harris, Moses isn’t one for all of the attention he gets, but he surely knew unwanted attention was headed his way once he stepped foot in Tiger Stadium on Saturday.
LSU was seen as the overwhelming favorite in his recruitment up until Les Miles was fired from the school. He even told SEC Country after he committed to Alabama that he would have signed with the Tigers if Miles was LSU’s coach in 2017.
Can Ed Orgeron, who is still the Tigers’ interim head coach, get Moses to change his mind, considering there’s still a giant unknown if he’ll even be the team’s coach moving forward? I highly doubt it. Moses talked about how stability played a huge role in his commitment to Alabama because he knows Saban isn’t going anywhere anytime soon unless he decides to abruptly retire, and I don’t see that happening with how successful this team is right now.
One thing about Moses is certain, after this visit to LSU, his recruitment isn’t 100 percent over just yet.
Ray still taking things slowly
You could make a case that 4-star defensive end LaBryan Ray is the biggest remaining target for Alabama in the Class of 2017. The Tide need around three to four defensive linemen in this class, and they only have one currently committed in 4-star defensive tackle Akial Byers.
Ray is also the state of Alabama’s No. 1 prospect, and the Tide rarely miss on landing those prospects.
The nation’s No. 3 defensive end was in Knoxville this past weekend for Alabama’s 49-10 thrashing over Tennessee. As it stands now, the Volunteers should be considered the Tide’s biggest competition.
He’s in no rush to make a commitment, which will likely come in December or January, but Alabama is in good position to land his signature for when that time comes.
“You always have people to tell you to go there and all that,” Ray said with a laugh to SEC County’s Benjamin Wolk. “But I’ve got to be the one to make the decision for me. I’m going to be the one going to school there, attending there, going to class there, practicing there. If that’s the right place where me and the coaches feel for each other, the best fit for me, then I’ll go there. But, for me, I’ve just got to make the best decision.”
Ray still has his top six of Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Florida. He is going to take all five of his official visits, so one school will be on the outside looking in.
Expect him to trim his list of six schools to three before ultimately making a decision.
“I want — especially after the college football season — I’d maybe want to get it down to a good three,” Ray said. “Cut it in half down to three. That’s what I’d love to do. But then, I’m sitting there thinking that I’m going to take all of my five officials. And I’m going to take them all, toward the end, toward December and January. So, I just want to make sure I visit everyone to make sure that I’m making for me and my family. It’s something I’ll take my time with. I’m not in no rush. I’m just trying to enjoy.”
He still does not have his official visit to Alabama set just yet.
Nice honor for Alabama commit
Alabama 4-star quarterback commit Mac Jones was selected for the U.S. Under-19 national team. He’ll be one of the quarterbacks for America as it goes up against Canada in the 2017 North American Championship game on Jan. 28.
The full roster isn’t out yet, but several other Alabama commits are likely to be on the U.S. team, too. You can read the full invite Jones received below.
— Mac Jones (@macjones2017) October 17, 2016
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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