Bama recruiting notebook

There's a reason why newspapers frankly don't much like to cover recruiting. By its very nature, the process is incredibly fluid. Which means that often by the time a responsible writer develops and submits a good story to his editor, much of what he studiously researched and confirmed is out of date. <br><br>Passing along a few tidbits/updates from the Alabama recruiting trail.

Still room for Chester?

With the expected announcement today that Antoine Caldwell will sign with Alabama, frankly the Tide offensive line class is pretty much full. But space will be held for Luverne's Chester Adams to jump on board.

Chester Adams (photo by Mickey Welch of the Montgomery Advertiser)

A big (6-6, 315), mobile athlete, Adams has played both offense and defense in high school. But he's being recruited for the O-Line by Alabama. Besides the Tide, Adams is listing Auburn, Georgia and Southern Miss. However, he clearly would prefer to stay in state, if possible. And he acknowledged again this week that he grew up an Alabama fan.

The Tide coaches have scheduled Adams' official visit for January 16th-18th, which also "just happens" to be Bama's big visit weekend of the season. The majority of Alabama's committed athletes will be on hand, and Adams will undoubtedly be pushed for a commitment.

How many D-Lineman will be taken?

That's a question that many fans are asking. Clearly Alabama needs to sign several quality athletes for the defensive line, but qualifying questions associated with many of the Tide recruits have definitely muddied the waters.

With Jeramie Holifield, Kevin Hamilton and Chris Turner already in the fold, Alabama is looking for at least two--and probably three more qualified athletes to commit. But of course the "qualified" part is where it gets interesting.

Lorenzo Washington remains a top target.

Several recruits (notably Walter Fisher, and Micah Howeth) would probably commit tomorrow, if they received an unconditional offer. So why doesn't Alabama go ahead and take their commitments, reasoning that they can then just sign and place them if they don't get qualified? Simple. You don't want to scare off other potential recruits, especially if they're scared off by names that aren't likely to be eligible next year.

The Tide is clearly targeting Georgia blue-chippers Lorenzo Washington and Brandon Miller, but Tennesseans Brandon Fanney and K.T. Mainord are very much in the mix. In fact, no one would be surprised if the two committed soon. Opelika's Jacquez McKissic and Louisiana line prospect Jeremy Jones are also still in the picture.

After Bama gets commitments from enough qualified linemen to fill its needs, then the Tide may or may not accept commitments from other "sign and place" recruits.

What about tailback?

Most coaches believe it's best to sign at least one quarterback and one tailback per class, and with Aaron Johns' qualifying status questionable, the Tide is still looking for one more "very good man."

Lavarus Giles has sprinter speed.

To no one's surprise, Markus Manson tops Bama's wish list at the position. Publicly committed to Florida for months, the Tide coaches have started to push hard for Manson to switch. His mother wants him to stay in state, and of course Hillcrest teammates Travis Robinson and Cody Davis are already committed to the Tide.

Manson is the main target right now, but if Alabama's coaches do not feel good about their chances soon, expect the attention to shift to Lavarus Giles. The Mississippi back is a terrific athlete, the kind of player you basically can't go wrong in signing.

Will the Marcus Carter saga ever end?

One way or another, yes.

After making his way to Nashville for several days last month where he watched several of Auburn's practices for the Music City Bowl, Carter was "confused" again for a time. But it now appears he's back to where he's been for several months now, that is leaning toward Alabama.

Several Auburn fans in Fort Payne have pushed strongly for Marcus Carter to stick with the Tigers.

In fact, many in the Tide camp believe that Auburn has basically taken its best shot on this one and now has few options left.

By the way, every major-college coach has a clause in his contract giving the school the legal right to terminate him immediately without financial penalty to the school, should the coach be found guilty of violating NCAA regulations.

Given the Auburn head coach's relative level of popularity among Auburn's "powers that be," it's a logical assumption that these days he's being super careful to ensure his school's compliance with NCAA rules.

Why so many new names at receiver?

Alabama obviously has a desperate need at the receiver position, and unfortunately there are questions about both Nikita Stover's and Ezekiel Knight's qualifying status. Both can still make it, but the Tide coaches are being cautious.

JUCO Larry Kendrick is probably the top target, but it's also unlikely that Alabama can wait on his decision until February. That's why names like Keith Brown, Marcel Stamps, Adrian Smith, etc. are popping up. Expect Alabama to sign at least one more, maybe two, athletes capable of playing wideout.

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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