Recruiting Diary, 1-09

For Alabama's coaches, the long months of hard work continue to pay off. Two more premier recruits committed to sign with Alabama on Thursday, and more are likely during the weekend.

Though expected, Thursday morning's announcement by Antoine Caldwell that he was signing with Alabama was welcome news indeed. An excellent student, Caldwell has the frame to handle either guard or center with no problem.

His commitment means that Bama's offensive line class is essentially finished, though reports are that the Tide would somehow make room for Luverne's Chester Adams. With or without Adams, Alabama's 2004 O-Line class is extremely impressive.

Thursday evening Marcus Carter finally pulled the trigger and announced publicly what had been rumored for months. The Fort Payne safety, before Thursday easily Auburn's top commitment in the state, called the Alabama coaches up and confirmed that he was switching his pledge from the Tigers to the Tide. Carter followed that phone call up by contacting various media outlets, making sure everyone knew his intentions.

Antoine Caldwell

Auburn pressed for and got Carter's early pledge last summer, but almost immediately he regretted the decision. All season Carter and his father attended virtually every Alabama home game as unofficial visitors--a clear signal of where his heart was. But Auburn supporters in the Fort Payne area exerted what pressure they could, influencing him to delay publicly announcing his switch.

Carter will attend Alabama next year with his friend and teammate Aaron McDaniel, who committed to Alabama several months back. The only question now is whether Johnathan Isbell (6-5, 240), a tight end on the Fort Payne squad and also good friends with McDaniel and Carter will join them by walking on at Alabama next season.

Those two commitments bring Bama's total to 21. Of course Alabama can only bring in 19 new scholarshipped players next fall, but several of the Tide's commitments will probably play next year either in junior college or at prep school. Also, at least one or two are expected to "grayshirt," delaying their entry into The University until January of 2005 at which point they would count against the Tide's '05 numbers.

Marcus Carter

Perhaps surprising to outsiders, Alabama is not yet finished. In fact the Tide is expected to sign at least two (and probably three) more defensive linemen, with Brandon Fanney, K.T. Mainord and Lorenzo Washington heading the list.

Blue-chip defensive end Brandon Miller is still listing Bama in his Top 5 as is Jacquez McKissic. And Walter Fisher and Micah Howeth could end up as "sign and place" commitments.

On offense the Tide is still looking for one stellar tailback, with attention now focused on Markus Manson. Many are predicting Manson will follow Carter's lead and switch his commitment to home-state Bama. If for some reason Manson decides to stick with Florida, then Mississippi tailback/athlete Lavarus Giles will be brought in by Alabama for an official visit.

Washington visiting this weekend.

Due to qualifying concerns, Alabama will probably sign one or two more receivers as well. Junior college athlete Larry Kendrick and Keith Brown of Pensacola, Florida probably top Bama's list. But Marcel Stamps (who is visiting Alabama this weekend) and Adrian Smith are also highly regarded. Greg Carr and D.J. Hall remain longshots.

Some reports out of Mobile have Daphne quarterback/athlete Patrick White reconsidering Alabama. If true, White would be well advised to act quickly, otherwise Bama's 2004 class could well be full.

Next weekend, to coincide with Alabama's home basketball game against archrival Auburn, will be the Tide's biggest official visit group. But several key recruits are scheduled to arrive in Tuscaloosa today, including Lorenzo Washington (Bama's top remaining target at defensive tackle), offensive lineman Drew Davis (who committed last weekend), defensive end Brandon Fanney (who could be ready to commit now), receiver/DB Larry Kendrick (who will be urged to make his decision sooner rather than later), blue-chip defensive tackle Demonte Bolden, who is defying Tennessee's coaches (where he's committed) to take the trip to Tuscaloosa and Marcel Stamps (a new name, being looked at to play receiver).

Markus Manson

Who's Hot? Among Recruits Still on the Board

Based on our off-the-top-of-our-head gut feeling (how's that for a mixed metaphor?), here's our periodic ranking of the Top Alabama prospects to watch. NOTE: some names make the list because we think they could commit soon.

  1. Markus Manson, TB, Tide coaches turning up the heat
  2. Brandon Fanney, DE, solid D-End prospect visiting this weekend, ready to commit?
  3. Lorenzo Washington, DL, early playing time says Bama, but...
  4. Larry Kendrick, WR/DB, wants to take visits, can Bama wait on blue-chipper?
  5. Chester Adams, OL/DL, the Bama bus is filling up fast
  6. K.T. Mainord, DL, big enough for end or tackle, says grades are okay

Alabama currently has 21 public commitments, including:

Cullman two-way lineman Justin Britt,
Montgomery guard/center Antoine Caldwell,
Fort Payne safety Marcus Carter,
Briarwood Christian cornerback Simeon Castille,
T.R. Miller tight end Trent Davidson,
Hillcrest High School offensive tackle Cody Davis,
Sparta Academy offensive lineman Drew Davis,
Hoover middle linebacker/defensive lineman Curtis Dawson,
Prattville defensive lineman Kevin Hamilton,
Hoover defensive end Jeramie Holifield,
Thomasville defensive back Aaron Johns,
Randolph County wide receiver Ezekiel Knight,
Prattville tight end/athlete Travis McCall,
Fort Payne wide receiver Aaron McDaniel,
Jacksonville, Fla. wide receiver Will Oakley,
Hillcrest cornerback Travis Robinson,
Clarke County offensive tackle B.J. Stabler,
Hartselle wide receiver Nikita Stover,
Northwest Mississippi CC defensive end/defensive tackle Chris Turner,
Pike County tight end Nick Walker, and
Hoover quarterback John Parker Wilson.

NOTE: East Central (Miss.) Community College running back Titus Ryan committed to Alabama but subsequently withdrew from junior college, so he is not expected to be a part of this year's signing class.

Top Players Available

Brandon MillerDEMiller County (Colquitt, GA)
Lorenzo WashingtonDTGrayson (Loganville, GA)
Terrance SmithLBNW Mississippi
Markus MansonRBHillcrest (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Chester AdamsOLLuvern, AL
Brandon FanneyDLMorristown, TN
K.T. MainordDLGrundy County (Coalmont, TN)
Steve GandyLBWayne County (Waynesboro, MS)

Today's Recruiting Hot News

SMarcus CarterSouth Hot 100 DB Makes a Switch
OLAntoine CaldwellAlabama OL Chooses the Tide
DEBrandon MillerWho is #1? You Decide! - Video

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  • RECRUITING NOTES: Alabama is allowed to bring in 19 new scholarshipped players this fall. The Tide is expected to sign as many as 24 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.

    Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from TheInsiders.com.


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