Alabama Football Expecting Big Recruiting Weekend

Alabama Football Expecting Big Recruiting Weekend. With only two weekends left before 2017 Signing Day, Alabama will be bringing in up to a dozen recruits.

The last two weeks of each recruiting cycle always include surprises.  Based upon the twelve early enrollees, Alabama has 13-16 slots to be filled by Feb. 1 Signing Day.

Beyond the group already on campus, Alabama has thirteen 2017 commitments. Typical late attrition may free up 2-3 slots. If the Tide ultimately signs twenty-seven in the 2017 class, there should be room for 5-6 currently uncommitted players.

If necessary,  Alabama will keep 3 slots open all the way to Signing Day. Those slots are expected to be for DT Aubrey Soloman; DE LaBryan Ray; and either of WR’s Henry Ruggs or DeVonta Smith.  The Tide is high on both Ruggs and Smith, but with WR’s Jerry Jeudy and Tyrell Shavers already enrolled, there may not be room for 2 more wide-outs.

The best guess for this weekend is the Tide will try to at least close on Ray.  Soloman is not visiting and may not choose a school until Signing Day.

Let’s review the already committed players expected in Tuscaloosa this weekend.

Mac Jones – Quarterback – 6′ 2″, 180 lbs. – Jacksonville, FL – Committed

Jones is a 4 star QB with a polished throwing motion.  Most of the pub the last few months has gone to Jalen and Tua, but Mac Jones will have an opportunity to be a Tide starter in coming seasons.

His senior season at the Bolles School in Jacksonville, FL, Jones threw twenty-four touchdown passes with only 2 interceptions.  He also rushed for 5 touchdowns.

The biggest question with Jones is how long to add enough weight to stand up to SEC pounding.  He has been quoting saying he is fine with a redshirt season.

Kendall Randolph – OL – 6′ 4″, 310 lbs. – Madison, AL – Committed

Kendall is the younger brother of former Alabama basketball star, Levi Randolph. It is interesting to watch him in the above video, taking on Will Ignont who was once expected to sign with the Tide. Last fall, Ignont chose the Tennessee Vols for his college career.  Randolph handles him pretty consistently in the drills.

Kedrick James – TE – 6’5″, 250 lbs. – Waco, TX – Committed

Watching Kedrick’s high school highlights, he looks so much like O.J. Howard. James has size and appears to have good speed.  If he can learn to block like O.J. , Kedrick James could become an impact player for Alabama.

Look to the Tide trying to lock in Kedrick this weekend. Texas A&M and Arkansas would like to steal him away.  Plus, staying at home and playing for Baylor may also look attractive to his family.

Markail Benton – OLB – 6′ 1″, 237 lbs. – Phenix City, AL – Committed

Benton fits the new prototype for Alabama’s outside linebackers; good size, but most importantly speed.  Auburn wants to change Benton’s mind before Signing Day but he looks pretty solid to the Tide.

Nick Saban and Derrick Ansley visited with Benton a few days ago.  He had multiple unofficial visits to Tuscaloosa this past fall, including for the Iron Bowl.

Akial Byers – DL – 6′ 4″, 275 lbs. – Fayetteville, AR – Committed

Akial Byers is a 4-star recruit at a position of need for Alabama. Arkansas has not given up on Byers.  Also, there have been questions about him qualifying academically.

Some recruiting experts reported that Byers struggled at times against top offensive lineman at the Under Amour All-America game practices.

With questions about on-the-field and off-the-field performance, it is hard to predict if Byers will end up being part of the 2017 class.

Christopher Allen – LB – 6′ 4″, 234 lbs – Baton Rouge, LA – Committed

Alabama has visited with Allen twice in the last ten days. First by Jeremy Pruitt and more recently Nick Saban and Tosh Lupoi also called on the 4-star linebacker.

LSU is fighting hard to flip Allen and he had an official visit with the Tigers last weekend. Following the visit, Allen stated he remains committed to Alabama but acknowledged LSU had made up some ground.

Adding his primary recruiter Burton Burns with Pruitt, Lupoi and Saban gives Alabama a dominating recruiting lineup.  Against a group of such outstanding recruiters, Coach O’s purported recruiting magic will be tested.

Having already lost Baton Rouge and IMG Academy, 5-star Dylan Moses must have embarrassed Coach O. If LSU cannot pull off the Chris Allen flip, Coach O’s “big-time recruiter” rep may be fading.

LaBryan Ray – DE – 6′ 4″, 260 lbs. – Madison, AL – Offered

Highly sought LaBryan Ray is an Alabama priority. Ray has close to 30 offers and has already taken official visits to Ole Miss and Tennessee. He is scheduled to visit Florida next weekend.

The Tide is looking for more than D-Line depth from Ray.  He has the physical skills to be a major contributor in the 2017 playing rotation.

Alabama is very confident Ray will choose the Tide. Rumors have circulated for awhile that he is a silent commit.

The Tide will be seeking an official commitment this weekend. LaBryan Ray signing with the Tide is essential to a successful 2017 class.

Henry Ruggs – WR – 6′ ,  175 lbs. – Montgomery, AL – Offered

Devonta Smith – WR – 6′ 1″ , 160 lbs. – Amite, LA – Offered

Make no mistake, Alabama wants both.  The problem is there may only be room for one of them.  Two other 4-star receivers, Jerry Jeudy and Tyrell Shavers are already enrolled.

The limited available slots could mean that the first of the pair to commit is in and the other is out. Some recruiting experts are thinking Ruggs is the higher priority for the Tide and Smith is the backup if Ruggs chooses elsewhere.

Florida and Florida State are the primary competition for Ruggs. Auburn and Louisville appear to be on the outside for his signature.

If Smith does not roll with the Tide, he is expected to go with Florida State, LSU or Miami.

Closing with either Ruggs or Smith would be a big win for Alabama.

Phidarian Mathis – DT – 6′ 4″ , 290 lbs. – Monroe, LA – Offered

You might have been confused at the start of the video. It takes a couple of playbacks to process the vision of 290 pound Mathis on a kick coverage team. Even more amazing is he beat most of his teammates down the field and made the tackle.

With depth at defensive line limited, can there be any doubt Alabama wants and NEEDS Phidarian Mathis? Surprisingly, the correct answer is yes, maybe.

The problem is how many open slots are available. It is presumed that the Tide will keep a spot open until the end for DT Aubrey Soloman. Check out his video.

Aubrey Soloman – DT – 6′ 3″ , 287 lbs. – Leesburg, GA

Soloman is a 5-star and the 2nd ranked DT in the nation. He committed to Michigan and later de-committed. For a few weeks, he has been saying Alabama is his leader.  His official with the Tide was Iron Bowl weekend.

Since then he has taken an official visit to USC and some experts think Georgia still has a chance. More experts think he ends up going to Michigan. Harbaugh, Soloman, and others had a go-kart and bowling outing a few days ago. Afterward, Soloman stated Alabama was still his leader.

After last weekend’s visit to USC, Soloman announced he would make no more official visits. It appears his decision will go to, or maybe even beyond Signing Day.

Aubrey Soloman is a take for Alabama until he isn’t.

What does the Soloman situation mean for Phidarias Mathis? If Alabama is losing confidence in closing Soloman, the Tide might accept a Mathis commitment this weekend. The problem with that scenario is that most experts believe LSU has an edge with Mathis. If so, he may not be willing to commit this weekend.

Other experts think the Tide is pushing Mathis for a commitment and that it has nothing to do with Aubrey Soloman. According to this premise, either Akial Byers is not likely to qualify academically or Alabama believes Mathis is the better player.

Another  DT, 4-star Elijah Conliffe is now scheduled to visit the last weekend of the recruiting cycle. Tennessee appears to be the leader for Conliffe and it is not clear if Alabama has given him an offer. He is a quality player and adding DT’s is so important, a contingency plan is a good idea.

Alabama needs to sign 3 DT’s but will likely have room for only two.  Mathis and Soloman would be a major coup. Any two of Mathis, Soloman, Byers or Conliffe would be very good. Ending up with only 1 of the 3 might be okay if Soloman is the one. Ending up with none of them would be a major failure.

Bama Hammer will be posting updates from this weekend’s visits, so check back often.

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