February 6 ,2013.
That's when we will all know for sure.
But for now, we can speculate and predict how Alabama's recruiting trends may lead to landing certain players by the time that fateful day in February rolls around and letters of intent are actually signed for the current senior class.
The Running Back Shuffle
It's no secret that while Alabama fans cheered when Derrick Henry announced his commitment to the Crimson Tide, some immediately thought about the scope of the position. In the class of 2013, Henry joins Tyren Jones and Altee Tenpenny on the commitment list. Before the five-star Yulee (Fla.) standout pulled the trigger, there was already speculation surrounding both Jones and Tenpenny and their stance on competition while each player's hometown school continues to press for a flip.
The dust hasn't quite settled since Henry's decision is less than two weeks old, but Jones has already informed BamaMag.com that he isn't planning on taking additional official visits despite pressure from Georgia – a program that doesn't have a running back committed in the class. Tenpenny, who has already attended multiple games at Arkansas, has also recently informed us that competition isn't something he shies away from. The four-star North Little Rock (Ark.) standout would be the highest-rated running back on the Razorbacks' list, which currently has just one pledge at the position. The tailback in the Hogs' backyard seems more open to the possibility of bolting, especially considering he has already publically stated that official visits to Oklahoma State and Arkansas were being planned along with a trip to Tuscaloosa.
While the aftermath of the official visits won't be known for some time, the backup plan may be. Currently committed to Vanderbilt, Alabama has recently upped its interest in in-state product Johnathan Ford. The three-star talent doesn't have an offer on the table from the Tide, but believe that tabs will be kept on him going forward. Ford may be plan B when it comes to the staff's seemingly set plan to bring in three backs in 2013, but Alvin Kamara remains a possibility as well. The four-star speedster has not ruled out following his pal Henry to Tuscaloosa, though Georgia seems like the more likely destination at this point. A longer shot is fellow four-star Greg Bryant, who recently de-committed from Oklahoma.
We are far from National Signing Day 2014, but the running back situation is already an interesting one in looking ahead for ‘Bama. Bo Scarborough is already on board, but he may already have company sooner than later if Racean Thomas pulls the trigger. Each early four-star has had ties to Alabama all along, and Thomas recently informed us that Scarborough's pledge has nothing to do with his recruitment. Several other backs in the class are also already high on the Tide. Jonathan Vickers and Jalen Hurd are among that group, each maintaining that UA is on top after receiving an offer from the reigning BCS champs. Even with four backs seemingly gung-ho for Alabama in next year's class, don't count out the Leonard Fournette from Louisiana. The 2014 five-star admits that Alabama is right at the top of his list along with in-state favorite LSU.
The running back shuffle seems dramatic in 2013, but 2014 may be even more eventful down the stretch.
Already Committed? Take Another Look…
As the running back shuffle points out with Ford, Alabama has not shied away from committed prospects by any means in 2013. With 20 commits on board already, it may lose a pledge or two to another school – and its more than ready to make up for it with the amount of committed targets on the board.
One such player, Virginia Tech pledge and four-star outside linebacker prospect Holland Fisher, has already officially visited campus. By all accounts, the trip went well, though he remains committed to the Hokies at the moment. Several other players in Fisher's situation will also see Tuscaloosa officially.
Florida State commit Marquez White, who received his offer from the Tide after committing to the ‘Noles, remains one of the more intriguing cases of them all. The cornerback seemed back-and-fourth between the two at one point, but now appears firm to the ACC representatives. Still, an official visit can change things and ‘Bama will receive one. The cornerback position, target-wise, is flooded with cases like White's. LSU commit Jeryl Brazil, Nebraska commit Jonathan Cook and USC commits Jalen Ramsey and Chris Hawkins have each expressed interest in visiting Alabama despite their pledges. Cook is the only aforementioned defensive back yet to claim an offer from the Tide. He is teammates with current UA commit Deon Johnson, who has had legal problems of late – which may affect his offer down the line.
The cornerback spot(s) are pretty limited at his point in 2013, as is entire the offensive line. Laremy Tunsil, the nation's top OL, is still on the board and continues to hold Alabama in high regards. While his decision may not come soon, the staff will continue to pursue FSU commit Austin Golson regardless. The four-star offensive lineman has always admitted that Alabama remains a player in his recruitment, and an official visit seems likely.
Will current Alabama commits Tenpenny, Jones, Johnson or one who seems more solid sign elsewhere in less than four months? Possibly. But the chance a player or two who is committed elsewhere at the moment signs with the Crimson Tide may end up being the more plentiful scenario.
Check back exactly 17 weeks from today.