Akial Byers (Under Armour photo)

Four-star defensive tackle Akial Byers headed to junior college, still considers himself Alabama commitment

Alabama lost a commitment in the class of 2017 on Monday, but did it gain one in the class of 2018? Four-star prospect Akial Byers explains his stance following junior college move.

There had been considerable recruiting chatter about the academic standing of four-star Fayetteville (Ark.) defensive lineman Akial Byers ever since he originally committed to Alabama last July.

Just before the New Year, he opened up on the work that needed to be done in the classroom in order to be able to sign with UA on February 1 and enroll in the summer. 

But on Monday, Scout confirmed that Byers would now make the cut and intends to sign with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College come Wednesday. But he isn't ruling out a fairly quick return to blue-chip recruit status, which could then lead him right back to Nick Saban and Tuscaloosa if he has any say in the matter.

"I'm signing with Mississippi (Gulf Coast)," he said Monday. "Coach Saban talked to me. They're going to get me in there (MGCCC) and get me out in January, that's the plan!"

The sign-and-place practice is common in college football, especially the SEC. But neither party is binding to the original commitment -- Alabama -- in this case. But Byers wants to make it all the way back.

"I'll just be a 2018 Alabama commit now," he said. "That's where I want to be. I just have to keep doing what I'm doing, get bigger and better and develop more as a player.

"Saban said he's proud of how far I've come because at the beginning, it was rough."

An Under Armour All-America Game selection, Byers said he is on the track to potentially be a late qualifier, something that could accelerate the potential return process after at least two junior college semesters. That would put him back on the market as a January 2018 enrollee with at least three years of of playing eligibility remaining at the collegiate level. 


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