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Nation’s No. 3 safety maintains Alabama is high on his list
Devon Hunter is one of Alabama’s top targets in the secondary for the Class of 2017, but it appears the Crimson Tide still have some work to do if they were to land his commitment.
Hunter, a 4-star safety from Indian River High School (Chesapeake, Va.), told SEC Country that he currently has no leader but according to a source close to his recruitment, Virginia Tech, Florida and North Carolina appear to be the schools to beat.
The nation’s No. 3 safety is intrigued by Alabama because the team currently has no commitments at his position and didn’t sign a true safety in the Class of 2016. Hunter visited Tuscaloosa two weeks ago and had a chance to speak with Nick Saban and defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley. The message to Hunter was clear — safeties are needed.
“They’ve been telling me that,” Hunter said. “They’ve also said that I will still need to put the work in. Nothing will be given. It’s there for me for the taking though because no one really has grabbed that opportunity to play that position. It’s open for me to take it. It wouldn’t be a bad choice for me, so they’re standing really high on my list. They’re recruiting me hard and stay in touch with me almost every day, so Alabama is high on my list.”
The opportunity for Hunter to get on the field early is one of the critical elements in landing his commitment. He believes Alabama offers that chance to see the field early. He also knows the success Nick Saban has had in getting safeties to the league. Mark Barron, Roman Harper, Landon Collins, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Rashad Johnson are just several former Alabama safeties in the NFL.
Hunter knows Saban, who helps coach the defensive backs, can help prepare him for where he’s trying to get to.
“I would have the head coach, and one of the best coaches to ever coach the game, coaching me up in practice,” Hunter said. “You don’t get that at a lot of schools. He’s big with technique, too, and he can teach me how I should be lined up and show me the right way to play. That’s why Alabama stands high with me.”
He continued with how seriously he’s considering the Tide knowing Saban would directly be helping him in practice and in the film room.
“It’s huge because he has showed the world what he can do,” Hunter said. “He’s gotten a lot of defensive backs drafted in the first round and a lot of players in general have been taken in the first round. All of those players are making noise in the NFL. His defense is crazy good. Every year they are on the top of their game. He has shown what they do isn’t a fluke. They win national championships left and right. The man knows what he’s doing. I’d love to play under a coach that knows what he’s doing.”
His mother plays an important role in his recruitment, and she already has told Hunter what she thinks of Alabama. She believes the Crimson Tide offers her son everything he can want in a college.
But again, Virginia Tech, Florida and North Carolina appear to hold the edge right now. Hunter grew up a fan of the Hokies and they have made him arguably their biggest priority. The Gators’ hiring of defensive backs coach Torrian Gray was a big one because he came from Virginia Tech. The two have a longstanding relationship which has turned into multiple trips to Gainesville. The Tar Heels have hosted Hunter numerous times on campus and he’s expressed how much he likes North Carolina.
The Army All-American only knows of one official visit though at this time: Alabama. He will make his commitment known in December.
Commitment not expected this week from Wills
Jedrick Wills tweeted on July 29 to “stay tuned these next two weeks.” According to Lafayette High School coach Eric Shaw, that was code for his commitment. It turns out, Alabama fans are likely going to have to wait longer than two weeks for his announcement.
Wills, a 4-star offensive tackle from Lexington, Ky., is not expected to announce his commitment before his first game this Friday, according to his coach. Wills and Shaw are going to reconvene on Monday to talk about his decision.
Alabama has become the favorite to land Wills over the past month, and it’s still my pick for where Wills will play college football.
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.