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.
Commitment watch turns into commitment gained
Ever since Major Tennison visited Tuscaloosa in July, he was on commitment watch, and we told you last week that it was likely he was going to choose the Tide this weekend. He didn’t visit any other school this fall other than Alabama this past weekend, and it’s the only school he’s going to see.
Tennison, a 3-star tight end from Bullard (Texas) High School, ended his recruitment late Sunday night after taking an official visit to Tuscaloosa this past weekend. Tennison now is the second tight end commitment in the Class of 2017, as he joins 3-star prospect and fellow Texan Kedrick James.
With the addition of the 6-foot-6, 230-pound prospect, Alabama now has two of the top 12 tight ends in this year’s recruiting class.
What does James think of Tennison’s commitment?
There’s always the unknown of how another recruit is going to react when the team he’s committed to adds a commitment from a player who plays the same position.
Some recruits take the extreme and explore other options. Some decide to embrace that recruit and welcome him to the class. Kedrick James falls into the second category.
I caught up with the Alabama tight end commit shortly after Tennison announced his commitment. He’s very excited, and you can read about that here.
The most popular question I receive after every commitment is not how that player fits into Alabama’s scheme or who that recruit picked Alabama over. It’s always who’s going to be the next recruit to commit?
All eyes should now turn toward 4-star defensive tackle Elijah Conliffe. Conliffe was in Tuscaloosa this past weekend with his mother, which is important because she had not visited Alabama before and he needs her blessing before making any decision.
As I wrote this past Friday, while a commitment could have come on his visit this past weekend, it was more likely Conliffe was going to wait until he returned home to Virginia because he planned to film a commitment video.
I fully expect that video to show him committing to the Crimson Tide.
Sidelines observations of recruit interactions
- Two uncommitted recruits were taken on the field by assistants during warm-ups: 5-star offensive tackle Trey Smith and 4-star wide receiver Nico Collins. Both recruits, individually, were escorted by wide receivers coach Billy Napier. It’s clear both recruits remain big priorities for the staff.
- Offensive line coach Brent Key and defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley spent time pregame with Smith’s parents. Alabama has two highly rated offensive tackle commits in the Class of 2017, but it’s hoping Smith joins them.
- Alex Leatherwood, one of those 5-star tackles, was on Smith’s hip for most of the pregame warm-ups. He continues to recruit top prospects for Alabama, yet fans continue to worry about the status of his commitment.
- Dylan Moses, a 5-star Alabama linebacker commit, was escorted out to the field during warm-ups by assistant director of player personnel Sam Pettito. Moses spent the majority of his time hanging out with the other Tide commits.
- VanDarius Cowan, a 4-star Alabama linebacker commit, screamed out from the seats late in the third quarter, “People really thought this game was going to be tough for Alabama?” He continues to be rock solid with his commitment. I saw Cowan talking to 5-star Florida State commit Stanford Samuels, 5-star linebacker Baron Browning and 3-star tight end Major Tennison.
- Almost every assistant coach I saw made it a priority to at least shake the hand of 2018 5-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman.
- Here are all of the major recruits I spotted:
— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) October 22, 2016
Who didn’t show up and why
Najee Harris, Alabama 5-star running back commit, Antioch, Calif. — It was reported late Friday night by MaxPreps that the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit was expected to be at Alabama this weekend for the Texas A&M game, and it was going to be an official visit. He ended up not making it. According to a source close to Harris’ recruitment, the Alabama commit did make it to the airport, but it wasn’t in time for his red-eye flight out of California. This is obviously a blow because of Michigan making a serious push to flip his commitment; however, it’s likely Harris will take his official visit to Alabama for the Iron Bowl, according to the source.
Michigan has two home games remaining: Maryland on Nov. 5 and Indiana on Nov. 19. Antioch High School plays on Nov. 5, so the Harris clan can’t travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., that day. That leaves a possible Nov. 19 date to see Michigan. He can also elect to take his visit to Michigan after the season, too. The dead period begins on Dec. 12, and because he is an early enrollee, all of his official visits must happen before that date. It’s highly unlikely he will take all five visits just because there’s not much free time.
As of today, I expect Harris to stick with his commitment.
Cam Akers, 5-star running back, Clinton, Miss. — Akers, the former Alabama commit, was also expected in Tuscaloosa for an official visit, but he didn’t make it due to fatigue from all his travel lately, according to his father, Conni Akers. Akers is expected back at Alabama at some point this fall, but it remains a long shot for the Tide to regain his commitment. The only way I can see Akers in this class is if Harris decides to flip.
Jhavonte Dean, Alabama 3-star junior college cornerback commit, Brenham, Texas — Dean told SEC Country he didn’t make it to Alabama for his official visit due to a scheduling conflict. The commit has not been on Alabama’s campus this fall, but he hasn’t been on any college campus other than Blinn College, which is where he attends. Dean remains a solid commitment and has no plans at visiting any other school.
Chris Allen, 4-star linebacker, Baton Rouge, La. — Unlike the recruits above, Allen was not going to Tuscaloosa for an official visit. He was going to pay his own way there, but he opted to stay in Baton Rouge and visit LSU instead. He had to take the ACT in the morning and couldn’t make it to Tuscaloosa in time. It’s a two-team race for his commitment — Alabama and LSU — so the Tigers hosting him instead of the Tide should be considered a minor win. I was recently told, though, that Alabama likes where it stands with Allen and is confident in getting his commitment.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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