MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Day 2 on the road took us from Huntsville back through Birmingham to Montgomery.
Alabama recruiting reporter Chris Kirschner and Auburn recruiting reporter Benjamin Wolk saw a quartet of prospects in north Alabama before heading back through Birmingham for another set of interviews in that athletic hub. It won’t be the last swing through Birmingham before the trip is complete.
Madison County running back Tae Provens and Madison County linebacker Matthew Flint were the first visits. Both have family ties to Auburn and heavy interest in the Tigers. Lee defensive end Malik Langham is a fast-rising prospect on Alabama and Auburn recruiting boards. Austin running back Asa Martin, who has a good chance of landing at Auburn, is one of the top offensive prospects in the state.
In Birmingham, we saw a handful of prospects — Bo Nix, Pierce Quick and Paul Tyson — all likely to land at Auburn or Alabama in the 2018 and 2019 classes. The only pre-planned visit we weren’t able to make was to see defensive lineman Jalen Cunningham, but we’ll touch base with him at the end of the week when we return to Birmingham, along with Myles Mason, Coynis Miller and Taulia Tagovailoa.
Check out the quick-hitters of what we learned from these prospects. Come back later in the week for more detailed updates from all of them.
Programming note: We will be in the Montgomery area Tuesday before heading to Mobile to chat with the top prospects on the south side of the state.
3-star RB Tae Provens, Madison County
Wolk: Provens is an interesting case. His communication with Auburn has tapered since he visited for junior day earlier this year. Tennessee has been in contact the most. The Volunteers are a clear-cut leader right now.
As for Auburn, it’ll be interesting to track how much love they show Provens during the evaluation period. The Tigers already have running back commit Shaun Shivers. Targets Asa Martin and Harold Joiner could be getting more attention from Auburn right now. As those recruitments work themselves out, don’t be surprised if Provens leaps up Auburn’s interest list, which could alter the course of his decision.
3-star OLB Matthew Flint, Madison County
Wolk: For starters, Flint gave a “War Eagle” when we got to Madison County on Tuesday. He didn’t shy away from his love for the Tigers and went so far to say — just as he did at junior day — that Auburn is his favorite program at this time.
Tennessee offered within the last five days, so the Volunteers certainly have a chance to enter the picture. Ole Miss is another program that will give Auburn a run. Flint revealed that [LB coach] Travis Williams told him Auburn plans to take two linebackers, so he knows vacancies are slim. Williams pushed him to commit earlier. Now Auburn is taking a more patient approach to linebackers.
3-star DE Malik Langham, Lee
Kirschner: Tennessee has made Langham feel like a priority by reaching out almost every single day. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound prospect said he hears from Tennessee, Georgia and Vanderbilt the most. The in-state schools haven’t offered yet, but both Alabama and Auburn staffs have told Langham that they will be by Lee High School this spring to evaluate him further. If either school offers, Langham said it would be hard for any school outside the Yellowhammer State to get his commitment.
Wolk: Langham still doesn’t have offers from Auburn and Alabama, but he has visited both — along with several other SEC programs — over the last few months. He was in Tuscaloosa as recently as last week. Langham went to Auburn earlier in the spring for junior day. Alabama offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton have been his main points of contact at each school, so it’s mostly been area recruiters, not position coaches, contacting him. Langham said that, as a kid from the state of Alabama, offers from either of those programs would change the way he views his recruitment. Georgia and Tennessee are in good position right now, however.
4-star RB Asa Martin, Austin
Kirschner: Florida still leads for the state of Alabama’s best running back, but after a recent trip to Auburn, the Tigers have closed the gap on the Gators. Martin admits, when he was last in Gainesville, commitment was on his mind. He has a very close relationship with Florida running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider. Martin is planning to visit Texas who recently offered. He says the Longhorns, depending on the visit, could make things interesting. Outside of those three schools, there is a wide gap between the rest.
Wolk: The No. 1 running back in the state of Alabama isn’t guaranteed to stay in-state, but Auburn is going to make it hard. On his Florida visit last month, Martin said he was as close to committing as he’d ever been. The Gators jumped out to the No. 1 spot, and while that hasn’t changed, Martin said Auburn has closed the gap almost entirely. His A-Day visit made him feel like Auburn might be the best place for him. Martin said Chip Lindsey, Gus Malzahn and Tim Horton have made a serious effort to build a relationship with his mother, which is something that had Florida holding a major edge over the rest of his suitors. Right now, it looks like it’ll be an Auburn-Florida battle until the end, which will likely come just before the start of Martin’s senior season. There are a few programs — Texas, Texas A&M and Nebraska — that could make Martin re-evalutate once he’s able to take visits to those places.
4-star 2019 QB Bo Nix, Pinson Valley
Kirschner: For only being a sophomore in high school, Nix knows how to answer questions from reporters like he’s already in college. Nix isn’t going to give off too many clues on where his recruitment stands, but it seems like Auburn, Alabama and Clemson have caught his eye. Nix won’t make a decision anytime soon, but I think in the end, he’ll end up at one of those three schools.
Wolk: You’ve probably heard: Nix’s father, Patrick, led Auburn to an undefeated season in 1993. Bo Nix has made it quite clear — while he grew up an Auburn fan — his father’s connection to the university won’t be the be-all-end-all for his decision. Nix has liked all the SEC programs he has visited, including Auburn, Alabama and Georgia. He wants to visit LSU. Clemson and Oklahoma are the most likely non-SEC schools to garner Nix’s interest. Still, Nix feels like he’s about a year away from making a permanent college decision. Of note: Patrick Nix said he thinks Bo has the chance to be even better than he was, which is something that will drop the jaw of many in the Auburn fan base.
4-star 2019 OL Pierce Quick, Hewitt-Trussville
Kirschner: Alabama is the clear leader for Quick. Not only did he grow up an Alabama fan, but so did every single person in his family. The Crimson Tide are recruiting Quick the hardest from offensive line coach Brent Key to Nick Saban himself. When asked to put a percentage to Alabama’s lead, he said the Tide are at 100 percent and the Auburn Tigers are at 70 percent. I can’t see any school not named Alabama getting his commitment when he does decide. He did not rule out a potential commitment this weekend when he’s in Tuscaloosa for A-Day.
Wolk: Quick’s No. 1 is Alabama. He grew up an Alabama fan. His whole family went to and cheers for Alabama. The Crimson Tide are prioritizing Quick to the point it’ll be nearly impossible for any school to pick him away. In fact, Quick said he’s almost felt compelled to commit to the Crimson Tide on a few occasions. He’ll be back in Tuscaloosa for A-Day, but he doesn’t know if the commitment will come yet. What’s holding him back? Auburn. Quick said the Tigers are a clear No. 2 and the family feel has made him step back to re-assess. Gus Malzahn and Herb Hand showed Quick and Clay Webb major love during the A-Day spring game, and they’ve told the Austin Troxell story of an Alabama-fan offensive linemen choosing the Tigers over the Tide. Still, it’s tough to see Quick anywhere other than Tuscaloosa.
Unranked 2019 QB Paul Tyson, Hewitt-Trussville
Kirschner: Tyson has obvious connections to Alabama through his great-grandfather who is legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant. Tyson maintains that, even if Alabama extended a scholarship his way, he will not commit immediately to the Tide.
Not only does he like Alabama, but he really likes Notre Dame and Clemson, as well. All three staffs have told him that they’ll be by Hewitt-Trussville this spring to evaluate him. Because of Hewitt-Trussville’s offense, and with it being one of the best football programs in the state, I expect Tyson’s recruitment to heat up in the leading weeks and months.