Scout four-star offensive lineman and Gadsden (Ala.) Southside talent Tyler Carr committed to Auburn privately on Monday evening and followed up with the Alabama staff soon after -- all before a public announcement on Tuesday morning.
During the conversation between the latter pair of parties, it was understood that the Crimson Tide wouldn't pursue one of the state's top rising-seniors any further unless it was initiated by Carr, himself. With that said, there is still a clear need at the offensive tackle position for Alabama going forward in the class of 2015, and the timing could even help Mario Cristobal attack his priority targets more going forward.
Carr's commitment to AU was somewhat expected, but it is still another significant win for the Tigers in North Alabama, coming off of another big win near the region when the state's top offensive prospect in Kerryon Johnson selected Gus Malzahn's program in mid-April. UA has a win in the area with linebacker Keaton Anderson on the commitment list for 2015, so the back-and-fourth continues.
Among rising-senior prospects remaining in the class of 2015 still on the market, there isn't much top talent in the area remaining. Darius Smith, a teammate of Anderson's, has an Auburn offer but Alabama is still evaluating him as a potential safety prospect.
The larger "area" affect could be down the road, with underclassmen. At Southside-Gadsden alone, there are considerable top young players like arguably the top 2017 prospect in-state with Alaric Williams. A running back and defensive back, the specimen already holds SEC offers. An even younger Panther, Gavin Orr, turned heads this spring with his size (6-foot-3, 235 pounds) at tight end despite the fact that he has not begun high school yet and won't do so until this coming fall.
Alabama was one of the few schools pursuing Carr as an offensive tackle prospect, likely on the right side, and it will continue to look for at least one in the class before all is said and done. The timing of the move could actually benefit Saban, Cristobal and company, with Scout 100 prospect Isaiah Prince (pictured) scheduled to visit in the next three weeks, during Saban's second big high school camp session (July 13-16). It will be Prince's first visit to Tuscaloosa. He hails from Greenbelt (Md.) Roosevelt High School and UA could make a move up his list with a positive trip.
Speaking of visitors, Tennessee four-star offensive tackle Drew Richmond is no stranger to T-town. He has been on campus several times over the last 18 months or so, and already once this summer as well. The coaching staff has made it no secret that he is a priority target, but the same can be said for Tennessee, Ohio State and local Memphis, a school some are not ruling out at this point. Richmond will compete at Nike's The Opening in early July, against some of the best in the country, in what could be his final stop in the summer before taking official visits and making a decision in early September.
Another four-star to eye is Matthew Burrell. The northern Virginia talent is close friends with Alabama signee Da'Shawn Hand and fellow top area 2015 prospects and Scout five-stars Ricky DeBerry and Tim Settle. While Burrell has yet to visit Tuscaloosa, Settle has UA in his top two along with the Vols while DeBerry visited two weeks ago and seemingly loved his first impression of the campus.
Perhaps the longest shot on this list is the No. 1 prospect in the country, Apopka (Fla.) rising-senior Martez Ivey. Scout's top prospect has been to Tuscaloosa once, ironically visiting with Auburn commitment and teammate Chandler Cox, and he liked what he saw. But it wasn't enough to overtake Florida on his list, and now Cox's commitment to the Tigers has AU in the race more than it once was. If Alabama is to make another move for the nation's best, it must get him on campus once more. The good news for all involved is that Ivey is not expected to make a decision any time soon.
Other names to keep an eye on, in terms of prospects with Alabama offers, includes four-star Christian Pellage as well as three-stars George Brown, Abdul Bello and James Daniels. Of the group, only Pellage has been on campus and he's in no rush to decide.
Alabama is expected to take at least one offensive tackle in the class of 2015, but by the looks of the available prospects, it may not happen during the summer months. Other positions of need, like tight end, defensive end/outside linebacker and possibly running back -- look to be settled beforehand.
Scout 100 Texas defensive end James Lockhart could be the next big domino to fall in UA's plans, as he is expected to make a final decision between the Tide and Texas A&M in the next few weeks. He visited both schools this month and told BamaMag.com that he'd like to make a commitment in person once his final evaluation is complete, so tracking his next visit could be the big hint as to where he may end up in the end.
Beyond Lockhart, look at The Opening as once again a positive for Alabama. This year's crop fields nine UA pledges among the 162 invites, including recent commitment and quarterback Blake Barnett, in addition to dozens of targets. Last year's event was a recruiting platform for David Cornwell and company, and Barnett has talked about doing something similar this time around. Don't say we didn't warn you.
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