Every season Alabama football recruiting must adjust in response to coaching changes. Where the Tide stands with Mike Locksley leaving.
While the coaching silly season may be calmer than usual in Tuscaloosa, there is change that could impact recruiting. Exiting Alabama football offensive coordinator, Mike Locksley was a key component in Nick Saban’s recruiting plan.
While Locksley also chased prospects in other geographic areas, his primary area is known as DMV. As in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. The big name the Tide pulled out of the DMV last season was Eyabi Anonma. In the 2019 recruiting class, the Alabama Crimson Tide has verbal commits from five DMV players: Keilan Robinson, Shane Lee, Demarcco Hellams, John Metchie and Darrian Dalcourt.
Early feedback after the Locksley to Maryland announcement indicates Metchie, Lee, Hellams and Dalcourt remain firm Crimson Tide commits. Though not stating specific intentions going forward, Robinson seems to be less sure.
Numbers are so tight in the 2019 class, the Crimson Tide has been expected to lose one or more current verbal commits, making room for other top recruits. The current commit number is 22 and the Alabama football list of other priority prospects is at least another dozen names. Short of a grayshirt, the maximum space is for 28, 2019 signees.
The biggest concern caused by Locksley’s move is its potential impact on uncommitted, top targets. Mike Locksley was the lead recruiter for a trio of 5-Stars; Trey Sanders. Evan Neal and Darnell Wright. No matter how close is the bond between Coach Locks and the three, it is difficult to imagine any of them having interest in the Maryland program.
A related and actually more troubling potential problem would be Locksley hiring Josh Gattis as his offensive coordinator at Maryland. Gattis has done a tremendous job with Crimson Tide wide receivers and is also one of the Tide’s top recruiters. News out of Tuscaloosa is Gattis has been dispatched to Florida, taking over Locksley’s role in the recruitment of Trey Sanders and Evan Neal. Tide assistants Joe Pannunzio and Brent Key are also involved in the pursuit of the two top Tide priorities.
Nick Saban expanding Gattis’ recruiting responsibilities must mean either Gattis is not leaving the Tide staff or any discussions about leaving will not take place until after the Playoff. Gattis is already co-OC with Locksley and he could get a promotion into the play-calling role for the Crimson Tide.
The next big date on the Alabama football recruiting calendar is Dec. 10, when Clay Webb will announce his college choice. Long believed to be solid to the Crimson Tide, Clemson and Georgia appear to have a real chance for Webb as well.