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With Antonio Alfano committed, who will be next addition to Alabama’s defensive line?

Alabama is off to an excellent recruiting start, and you should expect the Crimson Tide to continue their success. SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner will answer the Recruiting Question of the Day each weekday. You can ask him your questions on Twitter or on Facebook. Find our previous questions and answers here.

What’s next for defensive line recruiting after Antonio Alfano‘s decision? 

Alabama landed a major commitment on Friday when 4-star defensive end Antonio Alfano committed to the Crimson Tide over Georgia and Penn State. Alfano (Colonia, N.J.) became the Tide’s third defensive line commitment in the 2019 class, joining 4-star defensive tackle Rashad Cheney Jr. and 4-star nose guard DJ Dale.

With so many elite defensive linemen strongly considering Alabama, I think the Tide will land at least six prospects across the line this class.

Who is next for the Tide on the defensive line? Here are the players Alabama is heavily pursuing:

Ishmael Sopsher is a top priority for Alabama. Sopsher took numerous trips to Tuscaloosa when sophomore wide receiver DeVonta Smith was going through his recruitment, so he is familiar with Tuscaloosa.

Sopsher’s interest level in the Crimson Tide fell off last year because of undisclosed issues with former defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Now that Pruitt is gone, Sopsher is back to looking favorably upon Alabama. He visited for the A-Day game last month and should be back on campus before the end of summer.

Sopsher has said he won’t make his college decision until National Signing Day, and this recruitment should turn out to be an Alabama-LSU battle. The one thing that could make Sopsher’s recruitment interesting is if a school offers a scholarship to his older brother, Rodney, a junior college defensive lineman. The brothers want to attend the same school. Rodney currently has no offers.

Faatui Tuitele, 5-star DT, St. Louis (Honolulu)

Faatui Tuitele and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa are cousins, and the 5-star defensive tackle made his first visit to Tuscaloosa last month. The nation’s No. 2 defensive tackle told SEC Country that seeing Tua have the success he did as a freshman helps Alabama’s chances with him because the quarterback paved the way for a blue-chip Hawaiian recruit to choose a school not located on the West Coast.

Nathan Pickering’s recruitment is still in its infant stages because there are so many teams still in the mix. Alabama is one of them. He told SEC Country that the Crimson Tide will receive an official visit from him this fall.

Byron Young, 4-star DE, West Jones (Laurel — or is it Yanny —Miss.) 

Byron Young has gone back and forth with naming Alabama as his leader. The Crimson Tide led earlier this year, and then he backed off his comments, only to now say they lead once again.

Young is very close with his primary recruiter, Pete Golding. Golding has some excellent connections in Mississippi, and they should pay off for the Tide with at least one of the Mississippi defensive linemen.

Jaren Handy, 4-star DE, Perry Central (New Augusta, Miss.)

Jaren Handy is one of those recruits who falls in love with a school every time he visits, and he has realized that. He has held off on naming a leader recently because he knows he will change his mind.

Alabama is in good shape with Handy, though. He grew up a Crimson Tide fan and calls the school his dream university. Raekwon Davis is his role model, and he got a chance to meet him on campus last month. Handy has said he believes he can fill in for Davis if he ends up declaring for the NFL draft after this season.

Siaki Ika, 4-star DT, East (Salt Lake City)

Even though Alabama has a nose guard committed in DJ Dale, Siaki Ika can commit to the Crimson Tide if he wants to, as confirmed by SEC Country. We wrote about Ika on Thursday, in case you missed our story. 

Miss a question of the day? Find other answers here.

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Friday, 21 February 2020