Official visits set for Friday

Alabama actually entertained several recruits on campus during December, but January is when most of the official-visit activity takes place. At this point five athletes are scheduled to trip to Tuscaloosa this weekend, including at least one surprise.

Schools are limited in the number of recruits they can entertain on official visits, so when an athlete is brought in, whether or not he ends up signing with that school, it's a sure sign of serious interest on both sides.

Players scheduled to visit the Alabama campus this weekend include offensive lineman Drew Davis, defensive end Brandon Fanney, wide receiver Larry Kendrick, defensive lineman Lorenzo Washington and wide receiver Marcel Stamps.

Drew Davis (6-6, 270, 5.5) is seen as more of a long-term project, but the Tide coaches have been impressed by his athleticism, especially for a young man his size. Davis announced just days ago his intention to sign with Alabama. Competing in football, baseball and basketball for Sparta Academy in Evergreen, Davis also played both ways on the football field. If necessary, Davis has agreed to delay entry into The University until January of 2005, at which point he would count against Alabama's '05 scholarship totals.

Brandon Fanney

Standing 6-5, weighing 260 pounds, and running the 40 in 4.7 seconds, Brandon Fanney projects as a defensive end in college. A native of Morristown, Tennessee, Fanney is also considering Virginia and Virginia Tech. Fanney's high school coach is the brother of Tide assistant Sparky Woods. Latest reports indicate that if his visit this weekend goes well, then Fanney may be ready to end the recruiting process and commit to the Tide.

With several of its committed wide receivers facing academic questions, Alabama's interest in junior-college athlete Larry Kendrick (6-0, 207, 4.5) has skyrocketed. A stellar athlete capable of playing either receiver or defensive back, Kendrick originally signed with Florida where he spent two seasons. He then played in 2003 at Pearl River Community College. He'll graduate in May and will then have two seasons of eligibility left.

Kendrick has said he'd like to take all his visits before committing, but the Tide probably won't be able to wait that long. With the Tide's need for immediate help at wideout, Bama's coaches would love to get Kendrick. But it's unlikely they'll be able to wait long for his decision.

Lorenzo Washington is a top Tide target.

Speaking of "need" positions, Lorenzo Washington (6-5, 275, 4.75) has been a key Tide target since last spring. He's big; he's fast; he's not afraid of contact; and best of all, he's projected to qualify with no trouble.

Rated a 4-star prospect by, Washington would be a crown jewel of an already excellent Tide recruiting class. His decision will come down to in-state Georgia and the Tide. Coach Paul Randolph has handled Washington's recruitment for Alabama, and in recent interviews the young lineman has given the Tide a slight edge.

He's scheduled to take his official visit to Georgia next weekend, but expect Bama's coaches to go all out for his commitment before then.

The surprise name on this list, Marcel Stamps (6-3, 190) has not gotten much recruiting publicity so far this year. Like Auburn's Karlos Dansby and Alabama commit Ezekiel Knight, Stamps is a wide receiver/linebacker combo athlete. He claims a 4.4 clocking in the 40-yard dash, and Alabama is recruiting him as a big receiver. As a child Stamps lived in Moss Point, Mississippi. He is the cousin of Ray Ray Bivines, who plays for the MSU Bulldogs.

RECRUITING NOTES: Alabama is allowed to bring in 19 new scholarshipped players this fall. The Tide is expected to sign from 22-25 players in February, anticipating that several will not become qualified. It's also possible that one or more players may be asked to delay entry into The University until the following January, counting against 2005 scholarship numbers, depending on how qualifying issues play out.

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