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.
Alabama adds three commits on Sunday, who’s next and what do the numbers look like?
What a Sunday for Alabama.
The Crimson Tide added commitments from 4-star offensive guard Kendall Randolph, 3-star defensive back Kyriq McDonald and 3-star tight end Kedrick James. All three commitments came as a surprise but for different reasons. Randolph and McDonald were supposed to announce their commitment Tuesday, but decided to push it up to show off their incredible commitment video and James was not thought of as a top target at the position.
Alabama now has 21 commitments, and numbers are getting extremely tight.
Let’s go ahead and peg 4-star receivers Devonta Smith and Henry Ruggs as future commitments. I think those two guys are the safest bets to end up in the class. Smith will announce his commitment Aug. 15 and Ruggs could announce at any time.
That gets us to 23 commitments. Alabama should be able to sign 28 recruits in the Class of 2017 now that linebacker Christian Bell has announced his transfer. That leaves five spots. These are the names competing for those spots:
- 5-star cornerback Shaun Wade (committed to Ohio State)
- 5-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson
- 4-star offensive tackle Jedrick Wills
- 4-star offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson
- 4-star defensive end LaBryan Ray
- 4-star defensive end Ryan Johnson
- 4-star linebacker Jarez Parks
- 4-star running back Anthony McFarland, Jr.
- 4-star safety Todd Harris
- 4-star safety Hamsah Nasirilideen
- 4-star linebacker Chris Allen
- 3-star defensive tackle Elijah Conliffe
- 3-star tight end Major Tennison
All of those guys obviously are NOT going to end up in Alabama’s class, but all of them are very high on the Crimson Tide. Let’s examine those names and the probability they wind up in Alabama’s class.
Wade is the only guy on this list that’s currently committed to a school. I have said for several months now that I believe Wade ultimately flips his commitment from Ohio State to Alabama. The majority of his family currently lives in the Montgomery area and his mother is a huge Tide fan. If he doesn’t go to Ohio State, he will go to Alabama. Forget all that other talk from him about other schools. It’s a two-school race. Alabama is really the only other school in the country that can provide what Ohio State can (legendary coach at the helm, compete for championships every year and send multiple players to the league every draft). He can get the same things he can at Ohio State at Alabama, and the school happens to be close to family.
Alabama desperately needs defensive linemen in this class. It has a commitment from 4-star defensive tackle Akial Byers, but that’s not enough. Marvin Wilson is the big fish in the Class of 2017, but I do not expect Alabama to sign him. I was told by a very good source that the Tide have a lot of ground to make up on LSU, Southern California, Florida State and Texas, even after he visited Tuscaloosa since the departure of Bo Davis.
Wills is expected to announce his commitment in the next two weeks. I expect Alabama to be the choice. That brings us up to 24 commitments and five offensive line commits (Wills, Randolph, 5-star Alex Leatherwood, 4-star Elliot Baker and 3-star Hunter Brannon).
Isaiah Wilson just visited Alabama for the team’s cookout last weekend and loved it. The Crimson Tide definitely solidified their spot on his list of top schools and may be the favorite right now, but six offensive linemen? That’s highly unlikely considering only five linemen play at once. While Wilson loves Alabama, I believe Wills is the more likely pick.
Ray is another likely addition in Alabama’s class. Ever since he picked up an offer from Alabama earlier this year, the Tide have been considered the favorite. It only helps that McDonald, his teammate at James Clemens High School, committed Sunday to Alabama. It would be pretty surprising if he didn’t end up in Alabama’s class. Ray has said that he wants to take five official visits and could potentially commit on one of those trips. When he takes his Alabama official visit, he will be on commit watch. I’m penciling him in the class. That’s 25.
It’s really no secret that it’s an Alabama-Auburn battle for Ryan Johnson, one of the top players from the Yellowhammer State. Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has been in Johnson’s ear about the Tide’s need for defensive linemen, and the 4-star prospect is liking what he’s hearing. Johnson grew up an Auburn fan, and the Tigers were the first team to offer him though. That matters to Johnson. This recruitment is really tough to call at this time, but I am going with Alabama at this time. 26.
Parks nearly committed to Alabama last weekend while on his visit for the cookout. He’s a big priority for the Tide staff as he’s considered one of the team’s top JACK targets. He’s very quiet when it comes to his recruitment, so it’s still a tough one to call. Florida and Florida State are Alabama’s top competition. I am going to tentatively give Alabama a commitment here. 27.
If Alabama was to take three running backs, McFarland would be the guy. He told SEC Country at The Opening that the Crimson Tide were on top for him, but would he really commit to a school with two other top running backs committed? I don’t see it. He can easily be the guy at Maryland, the in-state school, and he’s a giant priority for the Terrapins. Right now, I’m passing on McFarland being in the class.
Harris is a name to watch for. JaCoby Stevens, the 5-star safety that we’ve talked about a lot lately, doesn’t seem like he will be committing to Alabama when he makes his decision Aug. 8. LSU, the school he was once committed to, looks to be the choice. What’s interesting about that is Harris was likely going to commit to LSU at some point. Will there be room for him if Stevens commits? LSU would have two safety commits. Harris said an Alabama offer would be a game-changer in his recruitment. Now that he has it and space at LSU looking like an issue, will Harris be the team’s safety commit? I’m not confident here, but I’m making him 28.
Nasirildeen is another safety target. Unless another defensive back emerges over the next several months, I think either him or Harris ends up in the class.
Allen has said since February that Alabama is his leader. That’s significant because he lives in Baton Rouge. LSU and Alabama are the main contenders, but I believe the Crimson Tide hold the edge here. 29.
Conliffe is an interesting name to keep an eye on because if Alabama misses on Ray or Johnson, he could easily be in Alabama’s class. Right now, he’s in wait-and-see mode.
Will Alabama take two tight ends after getting a commitment from Kedrick James? One source close to the team told SEC Country late Sunday night that the plan is to take two tight ends. But will there be space? If there’s space, Tennison is likely the one to join. 30.
That’s 30 commitments I could see for Alabama. That means at least two current commitments will have to de-commit for that to happen. I think it’s likely 3-star defensive end Aaron Sterling will not be apart of Alabama’s class come signing day and it’s possible 4-star linebacker Gary Johnson may decide to reopen his recruitment, too. That would get us down to the 28 number.
Despite Alabama’s class being almost complete by the first game of the season, there’s still going to be lots of movement and more names fighting for the few spots the Crimson Tide will have open in the Class of 2017.
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.