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What’s next for Alabama on recruiting trail after flurry of commitments

Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. In this edition, we talk about what’s next for Alabama on the recruiting trail. 

What else Alabama needs on the recruiting trail 

The last two months for Alabama have been hectic for the Crimson Tide on the recruiting trail. Of the team’s 14 commitments, 11 of them have pledged to Alabama in either April or May.

Alabama has the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, and I don’t think the Tide are going to finish below the top spot in this cycle after failing to finish No. 1 in 2018, which was the first time since 2010.

With 14 commitments, I believe there are 12 to 13 spots remaining. I still haven’t gotten clarity on whether Layne Hatcher, the quarterback who flipped from Arkansas State to Alabama over the weekend, is on scholarship right now. He may be offered one if either Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa or Mac Jones transfers.

But here’s a look at other players still in the mix for the Tide.

Quarterback

Alabama is set at the quarterback position in the 2019 class with 4-star prospects Paul Tyson and Taulia Tagovailoa locked in with their commitments. Those guys aren’t going anywhere. SEC Country will have full coverage of Tyson and Tagovailoa later this week at the Elite 11 in California.

Running back

All the skill positions are very unclear right now, and we may not have any clarity until the team hosts its camp sessions in June. Remember, with the new recruiting calendar, almost all of July, which is when the team used to have its recruiting camps, is a dead period, so no recruits will be allowed to have face-to-face contact with coaches.

Trey Sanders, the nation’s No. 1 running back who was once committed to Alabama, remains in the mix for the Crimson Tide. Sanders recently spoke with SEC Country. You can read that update here. I still think there’s a long shot to regaining his commitment after talking with sources at other schools. Jerrion Ealy, an Ole Miss commit, is still considering Alabama. He may be the team’s best option. Quavaris Crouch, a 5-star athlete, is being recruited as a running back, although he’s leaning toward playing linebacker. Several schools I’ve spoken with believe he has a better future on the offensive side of the ball. Keilan Robinson, a 4-star prospect from Washington, is also a name to know.

The team has also been trying to get in the mix for John Emery Jr. He doesn’t seem too interested in Alabama right now.

With several other positions of need, I think Alabama is going to end up taking only one running back this cycle.

Wide receiver 

John Metchie, a 4-star prospect from Maryland, has Alabama in his top 2, along with Penn State. He has a close relationship with wide receivers coach Josh Gattis. Metchie is near the top of the Tide’s wish list at receiver.

The team is trying to flip Auburn wide receiver commit George Pickens. He recently said that he was done with visits elsewhere, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Expect him to be in Tuscaloosa next month.

Mycah Pittman, Nnamdi Adim-Madumere and Jameson Williams are other names to know right now. I was told that the crop of receivers, as a whole, just isn’t too impressive this cycle. This will likely be a position where several recruits vault to the top of the board after a good showing next month in camp, which is what Jaylen Waddle did last cycle for the Tide.

The Tide will get at least three receivers this cycle, and I’ve heard they would like to sign more than that. It may just come down to numbers at other positions.

Tight end 

Hudson Henry, the nation’s No. 1 tight end, visited Tuscaloosa in April, but it wasn’t enough for the Tide to make his top 5 list that he just put out. It’s not the end of the world. It’s likely he follows his brothers and father to Arkansas.

Keon Zipperer is a top target for the Tide, but he’s likely going to stay in the state of Florida and play his college football there.

Ethan Rae was offered recently and put Alabama in his group of top schools but not much is known about him right now.

I can’t see the team taking more than one tight end this cycle.

Offensive line 

This offensive line class is going to be special for Alabama, and it likely will end up being the best on paper for the Crimson Tide.

The team already has commitments from 5-star tackle Pierce Quick and 4-star tackles Amari Kight and Tanner Bowles. The Tide are in good shape with 5-star center Clay Webb and 5-star tackles Darnell Wright and Kenyon Green. There’s an excellent chance the team lands two of three.

There are other names out there such as Javonne Shepherd, Stacey Wilkins and Xavier Truss, but I don’t see them in this class if Webb and Wright/Green join. Webb, Wright and Green have been the top targets for several months now.

Kamaar Bell, a 3-star guard, is also a name to know.

Five offensive linemen will likely sign with the Tide in February.

Defensive line 

Like the offensive line, the defensive line class is going to be excellent, too. The team has commitments from 4-star prospects Antonio Alfano, Rashad Cheney Jr. and DJ Dale.

There are so many other defensive linemen who are high on Alabama right now such as Nathan Pickering, Byron Young, Jaren Handy, Faatui Tuitele, Ishmael Sopsher and Demarvin Leal.

I think six will be the number of defensive linemen the Tide sign. I’m not sure if Cheney’s spot in this class is going to remain safe if four or more of the names above want to join.

Tuitele, a 5-star defensive tackle from Hawaii, could end up being the team’s next commitment. He’s planning on making a decision before the start of his senior season. Alabama should be considered the favorite after Southern California was excluded from his top schools list.

Linebacker 

Alabama currently has three commitments at linebacker in Shane Lee, Kevin Harris and King Mwikuta. The team will likely add two more. Some names to know include Nakobe Dean, Christian Harris, Kalen Deloach, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Vonta Bentley.

Dean is currently trending toward Georgia, but there’s a long way to go in his recruitment as he’s not planning on making a decision until December. He’ll take an official visit to Tuscaloosa next month. I’d be surprised if Harris didn’t end up committing to Alabama. Deloach is a top target for the Tide, but he keeps his recruitment pretty quiet. Thibodeaux said Alabama was the team to beat coming out of his visit in April, but I think it’s a tight battle with Florida State, Oregon and Southern Cal. Bentley is a backup option to Dean and Harris.

Defensive back 

Alabama has commitments from 4-star cornerback Christian Williams and 4-star defensive back Brandon Turnage. Williams is planning on taking an official visits, but he won’t change his decision.

Turnage is also committed, but I don’t think he’s going to end up staying in this class, regardless of his comments saying he’s locked in with his decision.

Other defensive backs to know are Noa Pola-Gates, Jaylen McCollough, Jeffery Carter, Marcus Banks and Akeem Dent.

Kicker 

Alabama has a commitment from Will Reichard, the nation’s No. 2 kicker. He’s locked in with his decision.

Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings recruiting notebook right here.

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Wednesday, 12 December 2018