Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Crimson Recruiting Boom

Alabama football is currently experiencing a recruiting boom, no two ways about it. At the moment, some services already have us with a top ten class (Rivals, Inc.), and there is little doubt that we will finish with a top ten class with every major recruiting service. Truth is, it gets better, we have a great shot at getting a top five class.

According to Rivals, Inc., we have nine players rated as four-stars, and one player rated as a five-star. According to Scout.com, we have six players rated as four-stars. Either way you look at it, it is shaping up to be an incredible class.

Several more highly-rated prospects will eventually be committing to Alabama as well. Just to name a few possibilities (and keep in mind this list is not complete):

Star Jackson is one of the Elite 11 quarterbacks, rated a four-star player by both Scout.com and Rivals, Inc., and he is going to announce his collegiate decision on August 23rd. He has offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, and West Virginia. He is expected to commit to Alabama then, and honestly, essentially everyone would be shocked if he didn't. He has praised Alabama in his comments the past few months about as much as the Pope praises Mary.

Mark Barron is a four-star wide receiver from St. Paul's Episcopal School in Mobile, Alabama, and sports offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Florida State, and Miami. His teammates, Ivan Matchett and Destin Hood, have both committed to Alabama, and Barron is widely considered an Alabama lock.

Glen Harbin is a four-star defensive from Mobile's McGill-Toolen High School, and he could go to essentially any school in the country, with offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Oklahoma, and others. According to Scout.com recruiting analyst Andrew Bone, "Alabama is the team to beat for his signature."

William Green is a four-star defensive end from Hoover High School, ranked the #13 defensive end in the country. He has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Oklahoma, and others. At the moment, it seems to be a battle between Alabama and Florida, and most expect him to stick with the in-state school and roll with the Tide.

Barrett Jones is a four-star offensive lineman from Tennessee, and is generally considered the top player in the state of Tennessee. He sports offers from essentially every major school in the country, and he has narrowed his list down to five. Considering that his father played football at Alabama, he is expected to eventually commit to the Crimson Tide.

And those are just people who are generally expected to sign with Alabama. But it gets even better for those who bleed crimson and white.

Julio Jones is considered by many to be the top player in the country, and any school in the country would do anything to get him. Fortunately, though he's been quiet on the recruiting front, most expect that he will commit to Alabama.

Jerrell Harris is a four-star linebacker from Gadsden, Alabama, and considered one of the top linebackers in the country, with offers from everyone. Alabama has a good chance of landing him.

Antoine McClain
of Anniston, Alabama is a four-star prospect, and one of the top offensive line prospects in the country. Alabama will be one of the final teams in his decision. And seriously, when was the last time we lost out on a kid named McClain?

Damian Square
is a four-star linebacker from Houston, Texas, and is considered one of the top Sam linebackers in the country. He was originally committed to Texas A&M very early, but backed out, and will now decide between Texas A&M, Alabama, Miami, and Florida. He took a trip to Tuscaloosa, and was apparently blown away. He makes his decision this Sunday, apparently.

Even Arthur Brown, considered by many as the overall number one player in the country (including by Scout.com), took a visit to Alabama and was blown away. A friend, Brian Butler, who runs a non-profit organization, went along with Brown and had this to say, "I can actually say the visit was phenomenal. I can't really think of any other adjective to describe it. It was fantastic, phenomenal, a first class organization. I would say I am very pleased with everything Alabama has to offer... I can say Alabama will play a factor in his final decision -- a critical factor."

Now will Alabama get all of those guys? Of course not, but with the way things are going with Saban on the recruiting trails, we'll get our fair share and then some.

Just a raw guesstimate, I think it's fairly reasonable to assume that, once this recruiting class is finally in the books, we'll add another seven or eight players players rated as four-star and higher, and quite possibly even more than that. Moreover, several of our current commitments could get a fourth-star as well. For example, Destin Hood was a three-star by both services, and when Rivals most recently updated their rankings, he got a fourth star, and it's only a matter of time before the same happens on Scout.com. Devonta Bolton has a great chance at getting a fourth star, as does Brandon Lewis.

There are no two ways about it, recruiting is experiencing absolutely nothing short of a boom period. The truth is, as I've noted before, we are likely to get as many four and five-star signees this year as we did in the entire four year period from 2002-2005. It's going to be a great class, no two ways about it. This will be, with almost no doubt, the best recruiting class to come to the Capstone in ages.

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