Alabama football fans hate losing in-state 5-Star, Clay Webb to UGA. Does it signal a breach in Nick Saban’s recruiting wall?
It has been a good past few days for Alabama football recruiting. The flips of Dax Hill and Jeffery Carter to the Crimson Tide were big pickups at positions of need. The celebrating came to an end Monday when 5-Star, Clay Webb announced for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Losing out on Webb disturbs Alabama football fans on multiple levels. First, losing a 5-Star recruit is always disappointing. Additionally, Webb is an in-state player who through much of the recruiting cycle was considered a lock for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Lastly, losing Webb to Kirby Smart adds an additional sting.
Is Kirby regaining lost momentum?
Losing Webb feels almost like a flip away from the Crimson Tide. Two questions are on the minds of Alabama football fans. Are Kirby and the Bulldogs regaining some lost momentum, just over a week out from the NCAA Early Signing period? And if they are, is the perception Alabama football will sign 5-Stars, Trey Sanders and Evan Neal now less than assured?
Alabama football fans and some knowledgeable Crimson Tide insiders are asking those questions. There are no clear answers. The nations No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class, Nolan Smith is committed to Georgia. Smith has been a Bulldogs’ commit since last January. The Alabama football staff has never slowed in trying to flip Smith’s commitment. Despite the Tide’s efforts, most credible opinions are he will stick with Georgia.
More important to the Crimson Tide 2019 signing class are two of Smith’s IMG Academy teammates, 5-Stars, Trey Sanders and Evan Neal. After missing on Clay Webb, the Crimson Tide is in serious contention for six more 5-Star prospects. Two of the six are Sanders and Neal. Neither have recently been considered locks but the Crimson Tide has been considered the heavy favorite for a couple of months.
Georgia is making a strong, late push for both. Both Sanders and Neal were in Athens last weekend. There is little doubt Nolan Smith is and has been pushing his teammates hard to join him as a Bulldog.
How much concern is warranted?
Alabama football fans live in a perpetually vacillating cycle of optimism and concern throughout every recruiting cycle. Given Nick Saban’s track record, optimism should always be the default position.
It is also important to remember for every recruit missed, there are another one or two top prospects waiting for an open Crimson Tide slot. At the end of this recruiting cycle, Nick Saban will have moved away from at least a dozen of the top players in the nation. With so few available slots, no Clay Webb is not much of a problem.
Alabama football will have a great class and probably the No. 1 class if it only closes with a couple of 5-Stars. Given the linebacker roster, Nakobe Dean is the 5-Star the Tide needs most. Saban and Tide staff have an in-home with Dean on Dec. 11. 5-Star Kayvon Thibodeaux will announce on Dec. 15. Sanders and Neal are announcing on Dec. 19. Ishmael Sopsher and Darnell Wright are waiting until February.
Pete Golding is not the lead recruiter for Nakobe Dean but he has been active in Dean’s recruitment. Ole Miss finally giving up on hiring Golding is a boost for the Tide’s chances with Dean.