With the Early Signing Period (ESP) racing towards college football teams like a steaming locomotive (Dec. 19), things are starting to heat up.
ON THE BAYOU
LSU had a big recruiting event this past weekend for a game you may have caught. The fans were wild, ESPN College GameDay was there, and so was the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide. The electric atmosphere was everything that Ed Orgeron could have hoped for except one thing: the game itself. Coach O made many mistakes in preparation for the Alabama game. One in particular is that he spent way too much time recruiting. Among their visitors was Alabama QB commit Taulia Tagovailoa who was seen walking the field with Orgeron before the game. The sad thing for O is there is not much chance he flips Lia.
After the 29-0 trouncing, Orgeron was sullen in his press conference saying “we gotta recruit better defensive linemen… We gotta recruit better offensive linemen.” Clearly, the fiasco ending of their weekend was weighing heavily on his mind and he figured this was a good way to save it. However, he unintelligently threw his current players under the bus. Surely, some recruits and their parents caught that faux pas.
Although the Tigers did not lose anyone to decommitment, they did not add any commits either. 4-star CB Marcus Banks decommitted in October. Alabama is gaining traction with him as is his home-state Texas A&M. He will announce Jan. 5 which fits the Crimson Tide well since by then they will know what sort of players they still need. 4-star RB Tyrion Davis may be wavering on his commitment to LSU. The Baton Rouge native is giving Alabama a long look.
Also in attendance on an unofficial visit at Bama-LSU was 5-star DT Ishmael Sopsher. The Amite, Louisiana native is playing his cards close to his chest but seeing Quinnen Williams dominate the Bayou Bengals had to have made some kind of impression. Sopsher is not expected to announce until NSD on Feb. 6.
The Crimson Tide will be hosting three uncommitted 2019 prospects on official visits this weekend.
- The biggest of the three is Ohio State commit Jordan Battle, 4-star safety from Fort Lauderdale, FL. At 6-1 and 187 lbs, Battle has the size that Alabama likes in their DBs. It sounds like the Urban Meyer toxicity might be swaying him away from Columbus, Ohio. His high school, St. Thomas Aquinas, sent the Bosa brothers up north. 2017 5-star Trevon Grimes played a year there until he hardship transferred to Florida last December. Battle is currently teammates with the most recent Bama 2019 commit, DE Braylen Ingraham.
- Deondrick Glass, 4-star RB from Texas powerhouse Katy, will also be in T-town this weekend. At 5-11/200, he is in the mold of current Tide back Damien Harris. With Keilan Robinson already on-board and 5-star Trey Sanders at the tip top of Nick Saban’s Christmas list, it is hard to imagine the Tide taking three running backs in this class. With so many better running backs on the board, I have never quite understood the inclusion of the 5-9/184 Robinson in this class. Might he be “encouraged” to look elsewhere in the coming weeks? He is not expected to sign during the ESP but wait until February.
- Another Fort Lauderdale athlete, DE Khris Bogle, is a big-time croot, ranked No. 56 overall by 247sports. However, I get the feeling he is just sight-seeing and commits to nearby Miami. Alabama already has six defensive ends committed, two of whom are of the weakside variety, and only one interior lineman.
- High school teammates Shane Lee and Darrian Dalcourt will also be on OVs. Both appear solid in their commitments to Alabama and plan to sign and enroll early. I am especially excited to see Lee play. He has potential to be the next great Bama middle linebacker. Dalcourt projects as an offensive guard.
November 24 will be a HUGE recruiting weekend for Alabama. Among those expected on OVs are the following:
- Trey Sanders, RB (IMG Bradenton, FL) 6-0 /214 – Alabama is the favorite for the nation’s #1 RB.
- Evan Neal, OT (IMG Academy, FL) 6-7.5 /360 – 5-Star heavy Bama lean.
- Jeffery Carter, CB (Mansfield, TX) 6-0 /186 – The Tide highly covets this TAMU commit.
- Siaki Ika, DT (Salt Lake City, UT) 6-3 /351 – Bama needs in DTs!
- Noa Pola-Gates, CB (Gilbert, AZ) 6-1 /180 – Has had Bama as his favorite for several months.
- Ty Robinson, SDE (Gilbert, AZ) 6-6 /285 – May be a hard pull from the left coast. (Not a teammate of Pola-Gates.)
- Kenny McIntosh, RB (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – Who??? Sight-seer?
- Four committed players visiting for the Iron Bowl will all be coming from the Mid-Atlantic region: DL Antonio Alfano (one of my favorites of this class), S DeMarrco Hellams, WR John Metchie, RB Keilan Robinson.
Many 2020 and beyond will be in Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl as well, but none official.
THIS ‘N’ THAT
- Mississippi State commitment Nathan Pickering from Seminary, Mississippi is a possible UV this weekend, but I am getting the feeling the 4-star defensive end is here to see the away team. I’d be surprised to see him in anything other than maroon next season.
- 5-star OT Darnell Wright may possibly make the trip from West Virginia for the Iron Bowl. It would be an unofficial visit.
- After watching Irv Smith Jr. thrive at Alabama, 4-star tight end Keon Zipperer might be changing his tune. The Lakeland, FL native is expected to sign with the Gators but it could get interesting if Bama can get him to OV in the next few weeks.
- The nation’s #1 overall player Kayvon Thibodeaux has been flirting with Alabama for some time now but my gut says the California DE is just playing games. He is planning on committing on Dec 15.
- Some outlets are claiming UGA commit Nolan Smith could OV for IB18.
- Uncommitted 5-star OL Clay Webb and Auburn WR commit George Pickens will undoubtedly be at Iron Bowl. Pickens was last in Tuscaloosa for the Texas A&M game. Stay tuned.
Alabama looks to have as many as 14 players sign in December (ESP). All but Byron Young should be enrolling in January (EE) and available for post-season practices.