A Wild Week: Visitors

Complete with the events of a four-day camp and the SEC Media Days, the University of Alabama just pushed through a wild week of ups and downs in the recruiting world. BamaMag.com recaps all the ins and outs of the seven-day period and takes a brief look at what may be next on the recruiting trail.

Whether one is a fan of commitments, de-commitments, flips, new offers and surprising camp stars – the last week of Alabama recruiting supplied a nice fix.

Nick Saban's final camp of the summer kicked off on Sunday and ran through Wednesday, featuring some top-notch underclassmen throughout the week that resulted in a handful of offers. The camp also provided a setting for several elite players – who already hold offers – to take in Tuscaloosa one more time.

The first big-name to show up in town, and ended up staying the longest, was Da‘Shawn Hand. The elite 2014 defensive end participated in the camp all four days and took in time with fellow recruits and current Alabama players. He also got the chance to meet Nick Saban in person as well as the rest of the coaching staff – but it was another presentation that made the biggest impression on him.

"What stood out the most was the academic part of Alabama," admitted Hand. "They have a really good engineering program and have put money in new buildings on campus. I am very interested in the engineering program, and they have a good one."

Hand spent time with another elite defensive linemen throughout his multiple-day stay. Rising senior prospect Demarcus Walker, a five-star DT and the No. 7 player at his position, revealed that the Crimson Tide was high on his list and currently stands in "pretty good shape."

"I will decide August 3, I'll choose from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee," said Walker. "All of them have a really good shot; me and my coach will go over each school and see what's going on. I just want to get the decision over with and focus on my senior year."

While Walker's visit led to announcing a commit date, another player's trip sealed the deal for his verbal pledge. Tight end Josh McNeil, one day after fellow four-star TE and Tide target Hunter Henry chose Arkansas, decided to give his oral commitment to Alabama Friday night. McNeil is the No. 7 player at his position and he combines with America's top TE in O.J. Howard to potentially provide ‘Bama with an unprecedented receiving combo from the position.

"Alabama has been used to running the football, not really (with) athletic tight ends that can spread the field but with me and O.J. on board – it's going to change the offense to play-action," McNeil predicted. "The missing piece for Alabama's offense is a great tight end that can block and also spread the field with his speed and athletic ability. I think that's the missing piece that will bring many championships."

Just because the tight end position looks to be tweaked going forward, don't expect Alabama's running back tradition to change. The coaching staff had several elite backs on campus throughout the week, each spending one day in Tuscaloosa.

Peach State prospect Alvin Kamara was the first in town. He was there for over 12 hours on Monday, meeting with Saban and Kirby Smart while also mixing in some time with 2012 Alabama signee Kenyan Drake, who told Kamara that the staff hadn't changed how they approached him as a recruit to how they do as a player on the roster – something the 2013 prospect "liked" hearing. The four-star RB could be pulling the trigger by the end of the summer.

On Wednesday, it was Bo Scarborough's turn to represent the position on campus. The local product and rising junior had a good time on campus although he maintains that Georgia is his current leader. The Tide remains high on his list, and Scarborough detailed his conversation with the head coach similarly to the way Kamara did – as neither talked about much football.

"Coach Saban is a great coach and we talked for a while when I was there," he said. "We talked about how it is important to be surrounded by good people, how character is so important, and things like that. It wasn't too much about football, but a lot of good conversation."

The final tailback to visit during the week also holds an offer, and he may be the biggest name of them all. 2013 five-star Derrick Henry, who holds ‘Bama as his leader, took in campus on Friday after spending several days at Tennessee. While the Tide is on top, the former UGA commit is said to not be ready to make a decision for some time.

The running back position and defensive end spot seemed to be the focus, but the under-the-radar visitors were top-notch cornerbacks. Each came in virtually unannounced, but each visit could end up being critical in the final decision process for both Marqeuz White and Mackensie Alexander.

White, who is currently committed to Florida State, was in town for the first time since getting offered by Alabama. The offer is believed to have changed things, and the three-star defensive back is reportedly set to announce a new college destination on August 1 – with ‘Bama in the mix just as much as any other program. As for Alexander, he is one of the more close-to-the-vest recruits out there. The No. 4 cornerback in America has a who's who offer list and hasn't visited many schools – so the trip to Tuscaloosa could play a big role when it's time to trip his impressive live.

The other corner that was on campus did so during a torrid road trip in which he took in nearly 10 schools over a week or so. The top corner in the class on FOX Sports NEXT, Vernon Hargreaves, took in T-town – but it didn't stand out enough to hold the Tide in his recently announced top five of Notre Dame, Florida, Georgia, Clemson and Vanderbilt.

Another Floridian made news on the Alabama front this week despite not traveling to campus. Maquedius Bain, a four-star defensive tackle, backed off his pledge to FSU and included Alabama among the schools that will likely get an official visit from him in the fall and remain in the running to land the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder.

Not all of the week's news was good on the commitment and visit front for Alabama fans. Offensive lineman Andy Dodd, who had been committed to the Crimson Tide for nearly four months, switched his commitment to LSU.

Visit-wise, despite hosting some of the elite Targets that ‘Bama had left on its board, a pair of expected visitors couldn't make the trip to Tuscaloosa. Five-star linebacker Matthew Thomas, who held Alabama as his leader heading into the week, couldn't visit because of transportation issues. However, he visited Florida State during its camp (with the rest of his Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington teammates) and the Seminoles are reportedly ahead in the race for his services.

Kendell Beckwith, another top-notch defensive end and four-star on FOX Sports NEXT, didn't make the camp because he extended his stay at LSU's event. The Tigers' camp was held in the same four-day capacity as Alabama's.

Part two of the series recapping the week will focus on the new offers that went out, and it should be published Sunday night

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BamaMag Top Stories

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Whether one is a fan of commitments, de-commitments, flips, new offers and surprising camp stars – the last week of Alabama recruiting supplied a nice fix.

Nick Saban's final camp of the summer kicked off on Sunday and ran through Wednesday, featuring some top-notch underclassmen throughout the week that resulted in a handful of offers. The camp also provided a setting for several elite players – who already hold offers – to take in Tuscaloosa one more time.

The first big-name to show up in town, and ended up staying the longest, was Da‘Shawn Hand. The elite 2014 defensive end participated in the camp all four days and took in time with fellow recruits and current Alabama players. He also got the chance to meet Nick Saban in person as well as the rest of the coaching staff – but it was another presentation that made the biggest impression on him.

\"What stood out the most was the academic part of Alabama,\" admitted Hand. \"They have a really good engineering program and have put money in new buildings on campus. I am very interested in the engineering program, and they have a good one.\"

Hand spent time with another elite defensive linemen throughout his multiple-day stay. Rising senior prospect Demarcus Walker, a five-star DT and the No. 7 player at his position, revealed that the Crimson Tide was high on his list and currently stands in \"pretty good shape.\"

\"I will decide August 3, I'll choose from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee,\" said Walker. \"All of them have a really good shot; me and my coach will go over each school and see what's going on. I just want to get the decision over with and focus on my senior year.\"

While Walker's visit led to announcing a commit date, another player's trip sealed the deal for his verbal pledge. Tight end Josh McNeil, one day after fellow four-star TE and Tide target Hunter Henry chose Arkansas, decided to give his oral commitment to Alabama Friday night. McNeil is the No. 7 player at his position and he combines with America's top TE in O.J. Howard to potentially provide ‘Bama with an unprecedented receiving combo from the position.

\"Alabama has been used to running the football, not really (with) athletic tight ends that can spread the field but with me and O.J. on board – it's going to change the offense to play-action,\" McNeil predicted. \"The missing piece for Alabama's offense is a great tight end that can block and also spread the field with his speed and athletic ability. I think that's the missing piece that will bring many championships.\"

Just because the tight end position looks to be tweaked going forward, don't expect Alabama's running back tradition to change. The coaching staff had several elite backs on campus throughout the week, each spending one day in Tuscaloosa.

Peach State prospect Alvin Kamara was the first in town. He was there for over 12 hours on Monday, meeting with Saban and Kirby Smart while also mixing in some time with 2012 Alabama signee Kenyan Drake, who told Kamara that the staff hadn't changed how they approached him as a recruit to how they do as a player on the roster – something the 2013 prospect \"liked\" hearing. The four-star RB could be pulling the trigger by the end of the summer.

On Wednesday, it was Bo Scarborough's turn to represent the position on campus. The local product and rising junior had a good time on campus although he maintains that Georgia is his current leader. The Tide remains high on his list, and Scarborough detailed his conversation with the head coach similarly to the way Kamara did – as neither talked about much football.

\"Coach Saban is a great coach and we talked for a while when I was there,\" he said. \"We talked about how it is important to be surrounded by good people, how character is so important, and things like that. It wasn't too much about football, but a lot of good conversation.\"

The final tailback to visit during the week also holds an offer, and he may be the biggest name of them all. 2013 five-star Derrick Henry, who holds ‘Bama as his leader, took in campus on Friday after spending several days at Tennessee. While the Tide is on top, the former UGA commit is said to not be ready to make a decision for some time.

The running back position and defensive end spot seemed to be the focus, but the under-the-radar visitors were top-notch cornerbacks. Each came in virtually unannounced, but each visit could end up being critical in the final decision process for both Marqeuz White and Mackensie Alexander.

White, who is currently committed to Florida State, was in town for the first time since getting offered by Alabama. The offer is believed to have changed things, and the three-star defensive back is reportedly set to announce a new college destination on August 1 – with ‘Bama in the mix just as much as any other program. As for Alexander, he is one of the more close-to-the-vest recruits out there. The No. 4 cornerback in America has a who's who offer list and hasn't visited many schools – so the trip to Tuscaloosa could play a big role when it's time to trip his impressive live.

The other corner that was on campus did so during a torrid road trip in which he took in nearly 10 schools over a week or so. The top corner in the class on FOX Sports NEXT, Vernon Hargreaves, took in T-town – but it didn't stand out enough to hold the Tide in his recently announced top five of Notre Dame, Florida, Georgia, Clemson and Vanderbilt.

Another Floridian made news on the Alabama front this week despite not traveling to campus. Maquedius Bain, a four-star defensive tackle, backed off his pledge to FSU and included Alabama among the schools that will likely get an official visit from him in the fall and remain in the running to land the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder.

Not all of the week's news was good on the commitment and visit front for Alabama fans. Offensive lineman Andy Dodd, who had been committed to the Crimson Tide for nearly four months, switched his commitment to LSU.

Visit-wise, despite hosting some of the elite Targets that ‘Bama had left on its board, a pair of expected visitors couldn't make the trip to Tuscaloosa. Five-star linebacker Matthew Thomas, who held Alabama as his leader heading into the week, couldn't visit because of transportation issues. However, he visited Florida State during its camp (with the rest of his Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington teammates) and the Seminoles are reportedly ahead in the race for his services.

Kendell Beckwith, another top-notch defensive end and four-star on FOX Sports NEXT, didn't make the camp because he extended his stay at LSU's event. The Tigers' camp was held in the same four-day capacity as Alabama's.

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