Alabama literally picked up a huge commitment Monday night in 6-foot-6, 202-pound 4-star wide receiver Tyrell Shavers.
Not only is he one of the tallest receiver prospects in the Class of 2017, but he’s also one of the fastest. During March’s Nike Opening regional in Dallas, Shavers posted a 4.38 40-yard dash time. Compare that to the crop of receivers who participated in the 2016 NFL Combine and Shavers would have been the second-fastest in the event. No one at his size comes close to running that quickly either.
Shavers is a true outside threat and a fantastic way for Alabama to start its Class of 2017 wide receiver group. There are still plenty of top targets on the board, so let’s get to them.
Nico Collins, 4-star, Pinson, Ala.
Shavers’ commitment may not affect any other Alabama target more so than Collins. Shavers and Collins have nearly identical frames. Collins stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 195 pounds. The main difference between the two receivers is speed. Collins is not nearly as explosive as Alabama’s newest commitment. Collins, the top wide receiver in the state of Alabama, runs a mid-4.5 40-yard dash time.
Collins is a huge priority for the Alabama staff, but having Shavers on board now lessens how important of a recruit Collins is for the Crimson Tide. The Alabama staff no longer needs to sweat it out until National Signing Day, which is when Collins is planning on announcing a commitment. Of note: Collins does not consider Alabama is favorite or second-favorite school at the moment. That would be Michigan and Georgia. Now, the Tide already have a large receiver in Shavers, which would significantly lessen the blow if Alabama misses out on Collins.
Devonta Smith, 4-star, Amite, La.
Smith may be Alabama’s top target at wide receiver. The nation’s No. 9 WR was back on Alabama’s campus last week for the team’s camp. Smith has taken multiple visits to Tuscaloosa and remains a strong lean for the Tide.
The 6-foot-1, 160-pounder is very close with assistant director of player personnel Sam Petitto and is very good friends with 2016 Alabama freshman cornerback Shyheim Carter. Don’t be alarmed with Smith’s weight. He has the frame to add more weight when he gets on a proper nutrition and weight-training program when he gets to college. At every camp Smith attends, he dominates opposing defensive backs, and he plays like he always has something to prove. One SEC assistant told SEC Country that Smith is just downright “amazing.”
LSU and Florida State are Alabama’s top competition, but the gap between those two schools is massive.
Jerry Jeudy, 4-star, Pompano Beach, Fla.
Alabama and Miami are battling it out for this South Florida star. The Tide were at one point Jeudy’s leader, but he has since backed off of naming a front-runner for his commitment. But still, Alabama is viewed as the team to beat right now.
Jeudy is good friends with Alabama star wide receiver Calvin Ridley. After watching Ridley explode onto the scene as a freshman last season, Jeudy must be thinking to himself that he could possibly have that same success if he commits to the Crimson Tide.
Henry Ruggs III, 4-star, Montgomery, Ala.
Ruggs is a near lock for Alabama. If we were to place bets on which of these prospects is most likely to commit to Alabama, it would be Ruggs. He’s made countless visits to Tuscaloosa over the past year and no other school has come close to hosting him the amount of times Alabama has.
He is scheduled to announce his commitment August 1.
Other wide receivers to keep an eye on: 4-star Jeff Thomas and LSU JUCO WR commit Stephen Guidry.
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.