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Alabama’s early signing class superlatives

Here, BamaOnLine takes a look at Alabama’s early signing class superlatives:

Biggest GetAntonio Alfano

In a cycle that landing elite defensive linemen was a must, Alabama did just that. The 5-star defensive end from New Jersey will be on campus in a few weeks and will almost certainly state his case for seeing the field early in 2019, especially with the potential NFL Draft departures this offseason.

Future Team CaptainPierce Quick

The in-state lineman was the leader of the 2019 class, and in some ways the 2018 class as well. Quick is a guy other players gravitate towards. He has all the makings of being a team leader in his career at the Capstone.

Mr. Tough GuyShane Lee

General rule of thumb: if you’re getting into a fight, it’s always good to have an inside linebacker on your side. Lee is a thumper that’s going to make running backs think twice about carrying the ball up the middle.

Biggest PullTrey Sanders

Alabama beat out Georgia, Florida and Texas, among many others, to regain the commitment of the nation’s No. 1 running back on Wednesday. The Tide was able to ward off a late push from Georgia and a final visit to Florida, where Sanders’ brother plays, to sign the 5-star.

Biggest LossNakobe Dean

Alabama missed out on the Nakobe Dean sweepstakes on Wednesday, but will have a chance to rebound nicely should it sign 4-star ‘backer Henry To’oto’o in February to go along with signees Christian Harris and Shane Lee.

Breakout CandidateJustin Eboigbe

Eboigbe earned the Class 6A defensive player of the year honors in the state of Georgia, which is no small feat in a talent-laden region.

Fan FavoriteTaulia Tagovailoa/Paul Tyson

Alabama has two of the nation’s best signal callers coming into its quarterback room next season. Both Tagovailoa and Tyson have unique connections to the Crimson Tide.

Move VersatileJohn Metchie/Brandon Turnage/DeMarcco Hellams

This could go to a number of Tide signees, so its hard to pinpoint just one. The trio of Metchie, Turnage and Hellams gives Nick Saban and staff all sorts of options as to how to utilize their abilities both on offense and defense.

Most NFL PotentialEvan Neal

He’s already got the frame, but with three or four years of development at Alabama, Neal has future first-rounder written all over him.

Top SleeperJahleel Billingsley

Perhaps not given enough credit for his ability with not as many eyes on him in Chicago, Billingsley has all sorts up upside at 6-foot-4, 218 pounds. The 4-star recruit played wildcat quarterback for his team this season and ran all over defenses.

Best InterviewKing Mwikuta

Mwikuta is one of the more personable recruits I’ve interviewed in nearly four years of covering Alabama recruiting. I have no doubt he’ll a leader in the locker room and a future fan favorite.

Most UnderappreciatedTanner Bowles

A lot of the talk regarding the offensive line in 2019 has centered around Pierce Quick, Clay Webb, Darnell Wright and Evan Neal. Bowles, and for that matter Darrian Dalcourt, haven’t gotten a lot credit for what they bring to the table.

QuietestAmari Kight

Kight committed to Alabama last April and has kept a very low profile ever since, which is typical of highly-ranked recruits considering the numbers of texts, DMs and calls from college coaching staffs they’re getting. The 4-star tackle never budged from the Tide, though, and signed on Wednesday.

Instant Impact (offense)Trey Sanders

Alabama will have a scary rushing attack in 2018, spearheaded by guys like Josh Jacobs (pending whether he decides to enter the NFL Draft), Najee Harris, and now Trey Sanders. The 5-star back said he’ll be in New York next December for the Heisman Ceremony, so he at the very least is expecting to contribute right away.

Instant Impact (defense)Antonio Alfano/Justin Eboigbe

Defensive line spots will be up for grabs this offseason and both Alfano and Eboigbe have a prime opportunity to state their case for early playing time, especially considering both will have a semester under their belts.

Instant Impact (special teams)Will Reichard

The Tide’s lone specialist signee will compete to be the starting place kicker right out of the gate. Reichard can punt, too.

Team that Alabama hurt the most — Texas A&M

The Tide flipped and signed both Christian Harris and Jeffery Carter late in the cycle, which you know has to be a extra sweet for the coaching staff after the Aggies flipped Bobby Brown on National Signing Day last February.

Team that hurt Alabama the most — When you lead the 247Sports Composite Team Recruiting Rankings by the margin Alabama does, not much has gone wrong for you. There’s not one team that gave the Tide fits in the 2019 early period, but missing out on guys like Nakobe Dean and Dax Hill could be a couple of examples the Tide would have wished turned out differently.

Top Camp EvaluationDJ Dale

Similarly to Bowles and Dalcourt getting lost in the OL conversation, Dale has a chance to be an anchor of the Tide’s defensive line for years to come. Alabama was one of the early teams in on the Clay-Chalkville product, got him onboard in May, and signed in December. Dale is already working out with the team.

Combine KingAntonio Alfano

Alfano made headlines last spring when, at 6-foot-4, 275 pounds, he ran a 4.82-second 40-yard dash, jumped a 36.6-inch vertical and had a power ball toss of 46 feet. Following that up with a dominant senior season both on the offensive and defensive line, it’s no wonder why Alfano picked up his fifth star. He’ll have a chance to cap off his high school career going up against some of the nation’s best at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

Most upside — Christian Harris/Kevin Harris

Considering Christian Harris will be new to the inside linebacker position, the sky is the limit once he gets into the program and can develop under guys like Pete Golding, Tosh Lupoi and Nick Saban. Similar things can be said about Kevin Harris, who will have the chance to hone his skillset under a coaching staff that is best suited to get the most out of him.

Best senior seasonAntonio Alfano/Justin Eboigbe

Most of Alabama’s commitments had strong senior season campaigns, but Alfano’s earned him an overdue fifth star and Eboigbe saw a big rankings bump of his own after earning the Class 6A defensive player of the year in Georgia.

Most accommodating (with media)Pierce Quick

We bugged Pierce Quick early and often, and the longtime Alabama pledge was always more than willing to give interviews.

Best nickname — Jeffery “Scooby” Carter

No explanation needed.

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