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.
Tagovailoa receives excellent news
The past couple of months for Alabama quarterback commit Tua Tagovailoa have been spectacular, and the good news continued for him on Tuesday.
Tagovailoa is now rated the No. 1 dual-threat QB in the country and is a composite 5-star prospect. He is now rated the No. 3 overall QB prospect in the country behind Clemson commit Hunter Johnson and Stanford commit Davis Mills.
This news follows Tagovailoa being named the Elite 11 MVP and The Opening 7-on-7 MVP after a masterful performance at the nation’s top prospect camp.
Just this past weekend, he led Saint Louis High School (Honolulu) to a 49-7 win in which he was 12 of 16 for 285 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Akers best prospect ever in the state of Mississippi?
At one point, Alabama had two of the greatest running back recruits committed in the Class of 2017. Najee Harris, the nation’s No. 1 overall player, is still committed, but Cam Akers decided to decommit a few months ago.
While Akers is unlikely to be a part of the Crimson Tide’s Class of 2017, he is likely to take an official visit to Tuscaloosa at some point this fall. Ohio State, Ole Miss, LSU, Tennessee and Florida State are the teams with the best chance of landing a prospect better than Walter Payton … wait, what?
Yeah, that’s right. According to Rick Cleveland, who has covered Mississippi football for decades, the writer for Mississippi Today believes Akers is the best prospect from the state that he’s ever seen.
Cleveland writes: “These eyes saw Walter Payton play at Columbia High School. These eyes saw Marcus Dupree play at Philadelphia. They saw Jerious Norwood play at Brandon, Deuce McAllister at Morton and Jimmy Johns at Brookhaven.
“But these eyes have never seen a better Mississippi high school football player than Cam Akers, Clinton’s 17-year-old wunderkind, whom I saw in person for the first time here Thursday night.”
Cleveland was in attendance for Akers’ Madden-like performance against one of Clinton High School’s biggest rivals, South Panola, where he torched the school’s defense for 452 total yards and 5 touchdowns.
He wasn’t done heaping praise on the nation’s No. 2 running back.
“As with all the truly great ones, the numbers, gaudy as they are, do not paint the complete picture. Akers runs with the power of Payton and the speed and shiftiness of Norwood, which is probably why so many college recruiters and all the recruiting services project him as a running back. Often times, he doesn’t even acknowledge the first guy that hits him. He just just runs through the would-be tackler without so much as a hitch or pause. And then, when he gets in the open field, he dodges defenders off their feet.”
As my Land of 10 colleague Jeremy Birmingham points out, those running backs that have been rated a 5-star since 2007 have not panned out in the NFL for the most part:
- 2007: Joe McKnight (USC), Marc Tyler (USC), Noel Devine (WVU)
- 2008: Darrell Scott (Colorado), Jermie Calhoun (Oklahoma), Richard Samuel (Georgia)
- 2009: Bryce Brown (Tennessee), Trent Richardson (Bama), Christine Michael (Texas A&M)
- 2010: Michael Dyer (Auburn), Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina), Lache Seastrunk (Oregon)
- 2011: Isaiah Crowell (Georgia), Brandon Williams (Oklahoma), Malcolm Brown (Texas), DeAnthony Thomas (Oregon), Savon Brown (Rutgers)
- 2012: Johnathan Gray (Texas), Keith Marshall (Georgia), Trey Williams (Texas A&M), Duke Johnson (Miami), TJ Yeldon (Bama), Rushell Shell (Pitt)
- 2013: Thomas Tyner (Oregon), Kelvin Taylor (Florida), Keith Ford (Oklahoma), Derrick Green (Michigan)
- 2014: Leonard Fournette (LSU), Dalvin Cook (Florida State), Sony Michel (Georgia), Joe Mixon (Oklahoma), Roc Thomas (Auburn), Nick Chubb (Georgia)
- 2015: Damien Harris (Bama), Soso Jamabo (UCLA)
- 2016: Miles Sanders (Penn State)
Several of those guys that have made it to the NFL have made decent contributions, but none of them have been superstars. So will Akers be the next Walter Payton? That question is years away from being answered.
Early visitors list for Alabama vs. Southern Cal
Alabama can’t officially host prospects at a neutral site game, but several commitments are expected to be in attendance when the Tide take on the Trojans in AT&T Stadium next Saturday in Arlington. Here are the early names for the game:
- 5-star offensive tackle commit Alex Leatherwood (Pensacola, Fla.)
- 4-star wide receiver commit Tyrell Shavers (Lewisville, Texas)
- 3-star tight end commit Kedrick James (Waco, Texas)
Several more prospects in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will likely be there, too, but these are the names SEC Country has learned so far. I would expect 2018 QB Jalen Mayden, who is the brother of freshman cornerback Jared Mayden, to be in attendance. The younger Mayden does not hold an offer from the Crimson Tide just yet, but he is on Alabama’s radar. With the team’s top target in the 2018 class Jack West heading to Stanford, expect Mayden to get a lot more looks from the coaching staff.
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.