Welcome to the Alabama recruiting mailbag, I am your letter-opener, Chris Kirschner.
Questions for the mailbag were submitted to me via my Twitter account, which you can follow here, and our Alabama SEC Country Facebook page. If you didn’t get a chance to submit your question for this edition of the mailbag, you still can send me questions for future editions by tweeting me or emailing me at email@example.com.
There were A LOT of good questions this week, so let’s dig in.
If Lane Kiffin gets a coaching job elsewhere, will Tua Tagovailoa stay committed?
I don’t think there will be much of an effect on the 4-star quarterback from Hawaii’s recruitment if Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin leaves the team at the end of the season for a head coaching opportunity.
You’d have to live in a hole to not have heard about all of the buzz surrounding Kiffin and this potentially being his last season in Tuscaloosa. When it comes to Tagovailoa’s commitment to Alabama, there’s only one word to describe it: solid. He hasn’t taken any visit to a school not named Alabama this fall. The last time he visited a school was back in the summer when he trekked to Tuscaloosa for Alabama’s summer camp. It sure is hard to flip to another school if you haven’t visited in several months.
Now Tagovailoa is expected to still take visits elsewhere, but as the days go by, the chances he sticks with Alabama get better. So, I don’t think Kiffin possibly leaving matters to Tagovailoa. In case you didn’t know, the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback is an early enrollee, too, so he’ll be at Alabama this January.
Is it possible we know what Kiffin is going to do before Tagovailoa enrolls? Yes, but it’s also very likely we don’t. That’s why I don’t think Kiffin leaving matters.
Another thing to mention: Tagovailoa does have a relationship with Kiffin, but his relationship with Nick Saban is very strong. Saban would reassure Tagovailoa in the event Kiffin leaves that he remains in the team’s future plans.
When it comes to other recruits, Kiffin is very hands off when it comes to recruiting. Several recruits who I’ve talked to that have Kiffin as their primary recruiter have described him as “awkward” and they have said he doesn’t interact much with them.
There won’t be much of an impact when it comes to recruiting if Kiffin leaves.
I know he’s committed to FSU, but does Alabama have any chance with Stanford Samuels III?
Alabama would love to flip 5-star Florida State cornerback commit Stanford Samuels III, but the only way I see that happening is if Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher leaves for LSU, which is possible.
According to numerous reports, Fisher is LSU’s top coaching target, and there is familiarity with Baton Rouge as he was the Tigers’ offensive coordinator for seven seasons. But let’s be real, coaching in the ACC is much easier than the SEC West where you have to go up against Saban and Alabama every year. But, he may want a change of scenery after being in Tallahassee since 2007. I don’t know what Fisher is thinking when it comes to his future.
Samuels is a Florida State legacy, and his father remains close to the Seminoles program to this day. But the 5-star recruit has said for several months now that Alabama is his No. 2 school. You can never count out Alabama.
Which player or two do you see us missing out on, not because they don’t want to come to Bama, but because we run out of spots?
Numbers are already tight as Alabama has 21 commitments in the Class of 2017 with needs still to be filled. Alabama would like to add at least three more defensive linemen, two more wide receivers, at least one more linebacker and one or two more defensive backs. They also would take commitments from 5-star prospects Isaiah Wilson and Trey Smith (both offensive linemen) and LB Baron Browning. I don’t see them in Alabama’s plans right now, but if they wanted in, they would have a spot.
I think there are three names to consider for your question: 4-star running back Anthony McFarland, 4-star wide receiver Tarik Black and 4-star offensive tackle Jedrick Wills.
McFarland named Alabama his leader this summer, but the Tide have slowly faded in his recruitment because there’s just no logical way to squeeze in a third running back commitment when other areas have to be addressed. Running back is already deep on Alabama’s current roster, so three running backs is just not necessary.
Black loves Alabama. If you follow him on Twitter, you’d see multiple tweets from him praising the Tide. He’s not a top wide receiver target, though. Devonta Smith, Nico Collins and Henry Ruggs remain the team’s top wide receiver targets, as they’ve been for months. Black should be considered a backup option right now.
Wills looked like he was going to be a part of Alabama’s class this summer. He was expected to make a commitment in early August, but he delayed it. His coach told SEC Country a decision could come later this month, but I don’t see him being in this class anymore.
It’s certainly a nice problem to have when you have to turn away some of the best players in the country because there’s just no space for them.
Are there any players that could make a surprise commitment like Aaron Robinson last year?
Aaron Robinson, a freshman cornerback, flipped from Florida to Alabama on National Signing Day last February. That definitely was a surprise. I wasn’t ready for that possibility.
I think this year the surprise could be South Carolina defensive line commit Javon Kinlaw. The Jones County Junior College prospect has said all of the right things since picking up an offer from Alabama in September. He has said he’s 100 percent solid with the Gamecocks and doesn’t know if he’ll visit other schools.
Kinlaw has risen on Alabama’s board on the defensive line, and if a visit does happen, I believe the Tide would push for a flip because DL is such a priority for Alabama this year.
Do you see us signing one of Jacob Phillips, Will Ignont or Tadarian Moultry?
We reported this week that Alabama has been in contact with Auburn commit Tadarian Moultry as of late. Moultry said the Tide staff hasn’t been communicating much with him, but the interest from Alabama is legit.
Moultry looked like he was going to commit to Alabama this summer, but the Tide wanted to see how he performed his senior season before accepting a commitment. He ended up committing to Auburn and hasn’t looked back on that decision. He’s actually done lots of recruiting for the Tigers and helped them land 4-star linebacker KJ Britt this past Monday.
With that being said, I don’t see Moultry in Alabama’s class at this time. I think he’s happy with his Auburn commitment.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Follow Chris on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.