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.
Top Alabama targets visiting LSU this weekend
Whenever Alabama and LSU square off, it attracts big-time recruits. This matchup is no different.
Several of Alabama’s top targets in the Class of 2017 and 2018 are expected to be on the sidelines Saturday night in Death Valley. Here are some of the top players Tide fans should look out for this weekend in Baton Rouge:
- Alabama 5-star OT commit Alex Leatherwood (Pensacola, Fla.)
- 5-star RB Cam Akers (Clinton, Miss.)
- 5-star DT Marvin Wilson (Bellaire, Texas)
- 4-star WR DeVonta Smith (Amite, La.)
- 4-star DT Phidarian Mathis (Neville, La.)
- 4-star DB Todd Harris (Plaquemine, La.)
- 4-star LB Christopher Allen (Baton Rouge, La.)
- 2018 5-star WR Terrace Marshall (Bossier City, La.)
The main names on this list are Smith, Mathis, Harris, Allen and Marshall, as those are the prospects Alabama and LSU are battling each other over. SEC Country’s LSU recruiting reporter Sam Spigelman and I went in-depth on those battles here, in case you missed it. Marshall’s recruitment is too early to call at this point, but he has visited Tuscaloosa several times since he’s become a national recruit.
Outcomes of games usually don’t play a factor in recruits’ decisions on which schools they’ll choose, but this one holds a little more meaning because of the uncertainty of LSU coach Ed Orgeron’s future. A win over Alabama might be enough for him to have the interim label removed, which would cause several of these recruits to be more sure of the Tigers’ future.
Alabama 2017 class snapshot
Alabama has a good chance to have the nation’s No. 1 class for the seventh straight year, but it’s going to be tough. Ohio State is in the running for several more 5-star prospects while Alabama is not. However, on paper, this might actually be Alabama’s best class because it has commitments from a top-class running back, two future play-making quarterbacks, a bookend left tackle and more.
Where it ranks?
Alabamas 2017 class ranks second overall and first in the SEC. It trails only Ohio State for the top spot.
For context purposes, the Tide have 21 pledges, including four 5-stars (Najee Harris, Alex Leatherwood, Dylan Moses and Jerry Jeudy), 10 4-stars and seven 3-stars.
As is standard in the Nick Saban era, the majority of Alabama’s commitments are of the blue-chip variety meaning they are either rated 4- or 5-star prospects. Here’s a look at the top Alabama commits:
- Najee Harris, 5-star RB (Antioch, Calif.)
- Alex Leatherwood, 5-star OT (Pensacola, Fla.)
- Dylan Moses, 5-star LB (Bradenton, Fla.)
- Jerry Jeudy, 5-star WR (Pompano Beach, Fla.)
- Tua Tagovailoa, 4-star QB (Honolulu)
- VanDarius Cowan, 4-star LB (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.)
There’s still plenty of time to go until National Signing Day, but most of Alabama’s class is already full.
Alabama’s newest commitment is 3-star tight end Major Tennison. He took an official visit to Tuscaloosa for the Texas A&M game and ended up committing the day after the Tide rolled over the Aggies. His recruitment is over, as he is no longer taking visits elsewhere.
Who could be next? Two defensive linemen could be Alabama’s next commits as 4-star defensive tackle Elijah Conliffe could decide to announce his decision this month and 4-star defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis is expected to make his decision at some point after his high school season.
The rest of the top targets Alabama is seeking are expected to either make a decision in January or on National Signing Day.
Breakdown by position
QB: 2 of 2
RB: 2 of 2
WR: 2 of 4
TE: 2 of 2
OL: 4 of 4 OR 5
DL: 1 of 4
LB: 3 of 3
JACK: 0 of 1 OR 2
CB: 2 of 2 OR 3
S: 0 of 1
ATH: 1 of 1
K: 1 of 1
LS: 1 of 1
Florida (6): Leatherwood, Moses, Jeudy, Cowan, Jones, Fletcher
Alabama (6): Benton, Robinson, Randolph, Townsend, McDonald, Brannon
Texas (4): Shavers, Tennison, James, Dean
California (2): Harris, Baker
Hawaii (1): Tagovailoa
Arkansas (1): Byers
Arizona (1): Ruiz
5-star recruits are worth HOW MUCH to programs?!
A few weeks back, Business Insider put out a study that showed what the average football player is worth to that college program. According to that study, the average Alabama football player is worth $536,485, which was second to Texas’ average player’s worth at $671,173.
So just how much are 5-star recruits worth to programs?
According to a Journal of Sports Economics study titled “The Effect of Recruit Quality on College Football Team Performance,” 5-stars are “worth more than $150,000 in expected BCS bowl proceeds to an individual school.”
That might seem high considering recruits have not played a down, but that’s not even the craziest part.
The authors of the study believe the dollar figure they came up with might be too low when you factor in the increased television revenue schools receive.
“Our research suggests some of these five-star recruits could be worth more than $500,000 a year to a program,” Steve Bergman, who is one of the authors, told SB Nation’s Bud Elliot.
If that’s the case, that means Alabama, with its four 5-star commitments, would have $2 million of value wrapped up in those players. There’s only one way to put that: insanity. There’s a less likely chance for 5-star prospects to flame out than those ranked lower, but the $500,000 valuation of these recruits is also crazy to think about when you realize that only three programs — Texas, Alabama and Tennessee — have their average player worth more than $500K, and again, these recruits haven’t played yet.
Now you can understand why it’s a big deal for the future of programs to bring in the highest-rated recruits they possibly can sign because it equals a greater chance at winning championships — which then leads to more money for the schools.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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