There are at least two things that can be expected at Alabama on the first Wednesday in February, which is Signing Day for football. One is that Coach Nick Saban’s incoming class will be ranked among the nation’s best. The other is that it will include a couple of tight ends.
As Saban prepares for his 10th season as Bama head football coach, no one would question his recruiting strategy. Alabama has not only signed good players, the Crimson Tide coaching staff has developed them to the extent that Alabama has won four national championships in the past seven years.
This year’s recruiting class was ranked best in the nation by Scout.com.
Early in his career at Bama, Saban said that he liked to sign a number of tight ends because those are players with size and athletic ability who can not only be used at their recruited positions, but also at other spots, from fullback to offensive tackle.
This year Alabama added two tight ends, one of them an early enrollee. Miller Forristall, 6-5, 220, of Cartersville, Ga., entered The University for the spring semester and will take part in spring practice. The other tight end was a signing day surprise as Alabama added 6-4, 235-pound Irvin Smith of Brother Martin High in New Orleans.
Alabama had a long-time commitment from three-star tight end Brandan Scales (6-4, 220) of Wildwood, Mo., but on signing day Scales joined his homestate Missouri Tigers.
Scout.com ranked Forristall as a four-star and the 11th best tight end prospect in the nation. He was invited to Nike’s 2015 “The Opening.” As a senior he had 57 receptions for 902 yards and 11 touchdowns and was first team all-state. He played quarterback as a junior.
Forristall selected Alabama over Cal, Mississippi State, and Miami.
Forristall said he made the switch from quarterback to tight end because his Cartersville team had Trevor Lawrence (mentioned as perhaps the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2018) to play quarterback, and so Forristall moved to tight end “in the best interest of the team. We needed a big receiver/tight end, and that’s what I became.”
He said Alabama coaches have told him they expect to play the same type role as current senior O.J. Howard. He said he expects to weigh about 235 by the start of the season and that he wants to “make sure I’m a very good blocker.”
Forristall was one of eight early signees who had a few days of practice on the scout team for Alabama prior to the national championship team. He said he knows exactly what he expected, that he will have to work hard as an Alabama football player.
Irvin Smith was ranked a three-star and 43rd in the nation and 13th in the South at his position. If the name “Irvin Smith” and the City of New Orleans sound familir, it’s because he’s the son of the former Saints No. 1 draft pick of the same name.
Smith, who has been projected by some as a fullback or H-Back, caught 31 passes for 558 yards and 4 touchdowns as a senior. He was selected for the Louisiana all-star game.
Smith chose Alabama over Texas and Texas A&M. He will enter The University for fall drills.