Top Tide Targets: Offense

Alabama is at 20 commitments in the class of 2015, but plenty is left to be said for how the signing class will end up. Offensively, Nick Saban’s staff is still looking to fill some priorities at multiple positions before season’s end. BamaMag takes a closer look at each.

On offense, Alabama once again has a strong class verbally committed for the cycle, beginning with the offensive line. Four-stars Lester Cotton and Richie Petitbon are among the nation’s top five offensive guards, and Dallas Warmack is also a four-star at the position. Brandon Kennedy projects on the interior, too, and his ranking has only increased over the last year or so. He is currently the nation’s No. 25 guard prospect, just six spots behind Warmack at this time.

The headliner of the class to this point, and likely no matter who else is added, is five-star quarterback Blake Barnett. Currently tabbed as the No. 3 QB in America, the dual-threat talent from Corona (Calif.) Santiago has also been instrumental in newer additions to the class, immediately becoming a recruiting leader after his June 18 decision.

Barnett established a rapport with fellow five-star commitment and the nation’s No. 2 wide receiver Calvin Ridley this summer at various events, especially at Nike’s The Opening, where the duo led Team Apocalypse to the 7on championship. Barnett won Elite 11 MVP and Ridley took home the tournament’s MVP award. Four-star Louisianan Daylon Charlot was the first wideout to join the Tide fold, though homestate LSU’s push has made his recruitment a hot topic of late.

Alabama also has a four-star at a pair of positions it would like to add to going forward, with Hale Hentges at tight end and DeSherrius Flowers at running back. Each ranks within the top 10 of his position group, nationally.

Clear Priorities 

WR/ATH Terry Godwin

After making yet another visit to Tuscaloosa last weekend, Godwin remains a true flip candidate from the school he’s committed to, Georgia. Most feel that his sister’s impending enrollment at UGA eliminates Alabama, but we all saw Tony Brown’s sister do the same a cycle ago, enrolling at LSU, while the five-star chose Alabama. Godwin has visited at least three times since giving the Bulldogs his verbal pledge, and will continue to take visits in the future. The Crimson Tide is aware that its own wide receiver situation isn’t as secure as possible with both Ridley and Charlot taking visits, so remaining hot on Godwin’s trail is a safe bet until pen meets paper.

RB Jovon Robinson

Always a hot-button topic on Iron Bowl message boards, the Auburn commitment remains high on the list for Alabama going forward. The latest information provided to BamaMag is that Robinson will remain quiet throughout the fall, and will likely remain on Auburn’s commitment list in the process. Should a change occur, it is likeliest to be made towards the dead periods in December. Robinson has the ability to take official visits, and Alabama hasn’t yet hosted him on one.

OT Drew Richmond

Though making a commitment on September 9, Richmond intends to take all five official visits after that point. Alabama figures to be in the conversation all the way through, either way. Ole Miss and Tennessee remain the primary competition for the Memphis native, who won’t take any unofficial visits prior to his pledge date. His last trip to Tuscaloosa was in July, and his father went along with him for an initial impression of the program.

OT Isaiah Prince

Richmond and Prince are each atop the offensive line wish list for UA, and taking both wouldn’t be out of the question as far as we know. Unlike Richmond, Prince has only been to Tuscaloosa on one occasion, though it was enough to secure an official visit from the Scout 100 Maryland prospect. The latest information indicates that he’s more willing to leave the state than originally considered, making SEC programs like Alabama and Florida legit landing options.

TE Will Gragg

Very familiar with Tuscaloosa, the Arkansas legacy has a top six of Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU and Texas. He is set for an official visit to Alabama in October, with a commitment coming in November. His final official before his announcement will be to LSU on November 8, where he’ll see the Crimson Tide in action for a second time in the fall. UA is looking to pair Hentges’ pledge with one additional tight end talent.

WR K.J. Hill

Another Arkansas standout, Hill may be the most likely commitment at the wide receiver position. He has no timetable for a decision, but last told BamaMag that Alabama is in his top two, though he hasn’t visited others schools on his list like Florida, Ohio State and Notre Dame. UA covets his return ability, as well.

Drew Richmond in action at The Opening:

Options to Eye 

ATH/TE DeAndre McNeal

The Texan is rated as an outside linebacker on Scout, but has been public about his wish to play offense at the next level. Alabama covets him on that side of the ball, and he showcased enough during a four-day camp visit in July to be among the top priorities at the tight end/wide receiver position. However, McNeal has a pair of official visits set, neither to Alabama, and has a commitment date of December 20 in mind as well. Should the Crimson Tide not get him back on campus, even though his family accompanied him the first time, late pushes from Texas and others could be enough to secure his pledge.

RB Jacques Patrick

Alabama is technically a co-leader with Florida State for the Orlando-area native’s commitment, due in the fall, but the big back landing anywhere but Tallahassee would be considered an upset. He did take in Tuscaloosa this summer and plans to return in September for an unofficial visit, so Lane Kiffin’s recruitment of him isn’t being taken lightly. As Scout’s Jamie Newberg said this week, “If Alabama is recruiting in your backyard, you better fear the Tide.” We’ll see.

RB Damien Harris

Like Patrick, there are pseudo favorites for Harris’ commitment despite having Alabama in his final five. Kentucky and Ohio State have that unofficial tag at the moment, though the top high school back on Scout and one-time Michigan pledge seems to be in no rush to make another commitment.

TE Devonaire Clarington

Always speaking highly of the Crimson Tide, the Miami prospect hasn’t yet set foot in Tuscaloosa. Last week, he said he’d “definitely” be taking an official visit to the Capstone, but will the in-state schools’ lead be too much to overcome at that point?

WR Lawrence Cager

Ohio State offered soon after he camped and earned his Alabama offer, and each represents arguably the top two schools on the long Baltimore wideout’s list. Cager technically has a top seven and is in no rush to make a final decision, though his stock is currently as high as it’s ever been as a recruit.

Wildcards 

OT Martez Ivey

Florida and Auburn, where his teammate and close friend Chandler Cox is committed, remains the top two for the top offensive tackle in America, but he’s not seemingly in a rush to make a decision and will likely return to Tuscaloosa at some point this fall. Should that trip be an official visit, Alabama should never be fully counted out for an elite.

OL Matthew Burrell

Another prospect often public about the desire to get to Tuscaloosa, Burrell hasn’t locked in a future visit, though he’s also in no rush to accelerate the recruiting process. Penn State and Florida State seem like the primary competition for any program, though Florida recently hosted him for camp as well.

RB/WR Kirk Merritt

One of the more versatile offensive weapons in the class, Merritt can be considered a top-notch running back or wide receiver at the next level, something the Alabama staff has coveted in this class for some time. Still, he hasn’t been to Tuscaloosa recently and remains fairly quiet regarding his own recruitment. The SEC West seems the likeliest of destinations, though Oregon already has him scheduled to see campus in October.

Kirk Merritt at The Opening:


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