Recruiting Diary, 21st & 22nd

Easily the biggest mid-week development regarding Alabama recruiting was the Monday/Tuesday official visit by blue-chip tailback Darius Walker to the Capstone.

With schools like Notre Dame, Ohio State, Southern Cal and Alabama in hot pursuit, Walker is one of those rare recruits who can basically pick and choose his schools. At 5-10, he's a compact, powerful runner with the speed to beat the linebacker to the corner. And best of all, he's a stellar student. In fact, the Stanford Cardinal are one of the principal schools remaining on his list.

Walker actually turned down USC to visit the Tide, which proves his genuine interest. But whether or not Alabama will be able to garner his signature is uncertain. Supposedly his mother prefers Stanford, while Darius himself likes the Irish. Walker's father, Jimmy Walker, is a former defensive line standout at Arkansas, which explains Darius' final official visit on the 30th. Walker travels to South Bend next week. If he escapes Notre Dame still uncommitted, then all bets are off.

Just how serious is Brandon Miller's interest in the Tide?

Waiting in the wings, Lavarus Giles took his official visit to Alabama last weekend and came away very impressed. Indications are that he would go ahead and commit to the Tide if allowed, but he may have been asked to wait as Bama gauged Walker's interest--or simply to not scare off Markus Manson.

Of course Manson took his own trip last weekend to Gainesville, where he checked out the Gators. Manson is still saying he's committed to Florida, but he's also saying he intends to take his remaining visits, including the official visit to Alabama on the 30th. Manson may or may not be playing the recruiting game. Certainly he already knows all about home-town Alabama, having grown up in Tuscaloosa and attended scores of Tide games and practices.

Whether or not the Bama coaches are prepared to wait on Manson until signing day remains to be seen. Frankly, there are two schools of thought on that. One says the Tide coaches have already covered themselves with sufficient "grayshirt" commitments to give Manson all the time he needs. The other says the fast tailback has been given a time limit.

Jeremy Jones, a line prospect out of Harvey, Louisiana, also appears ready to commit. The question is "To where?" It's likely that his first choice remains LSU, but it's also likely that the Bengal Tigers don't have a scholarship for him. Mississippi State appears to be his fall-back school, but Bama definitely remains in the picture. The recent appearance of three talented Peach State linemen, Brandon Miller, Michael Brown and Neil Brown, on the Tide's official visit list may be delaying Jones' decision.

Keith "Mississippi" Brown, who grew up in Mississippi but played his senior year in Pensacola, Florida, also could be close to committing. He was very happy with Alabama during his recent official visit. But according to a report yesterday by Rodney Orr of TiderInsider, Florida State is turning up the heat. Earlier Brown had said he was eliminating the Florida schools, so it'll be interesting to see if that decision holds. At this point Brown is not qualified, which is a concern.

One way or another, the recruiting games for Manson will end soon.

Receiver D.J. Hall also enjoyed his visit last weekend, but he's still being "slow played" by Florida, his apparent preferred school. He says he'll take an official visit to LSU next weekend and then decide.

Adrian Smith of Rome, Georgia, also remains on Bama's board, but like Brown he has some qualifying issues.

Interestingly, junior-college recruit Larry Kendrick, who took an official visit to Alabama earlier in the month, might still have a scholarship waiting on him. He's said to be down to Alabama and Ole Miss, and best of all Kendrick would be qualified.

Several players linked to Alabama at one time or another made some news this week. Tide commitments Curtis Dawson and Nikita Stover both reported progress on the academic front. Dawson says he scored a 21 on his most recent attempt at the ACT, essentially guaranteeing he'll be qualified. Stover also says he's inching steadily closer to the required combination of test score and GPA for qualifying status. If Stover makes it, that would alleviate much of the present concern regarding Bama's receiver recruits.

Curtis Dawson got excellent academic news.

Jordin and Dustin Lindsey, twin brothers and athletes from Mobile, chose the SEC over the Big East and committed to sign with South Carolina instead of Louisville. Both badly wanted to play for the Tide, but unfortunately there simply weren't enough scholarships to go around this year for that to happen.

Brandon Jackson, a running back out of Horn Lake, Mississippi who was once relatively high on Bama's recruiting board, fielded some last-minute overtures from Nebraska this week. If the Cornhuskers come through with an offer, he'll probably choose them over MSU and Oklahoma State.

This weekend's official visit list for Alabama is still not finalized, but two prominent defensive line names guarantee it should be an interesting weekend. Blue-chippers Brandon Miller and Michael Brown are scheduled to be in Tuscaloosa. The Tide needs at least one more D-Lineman to go along with what they desperately hope will be Lorenzo Washington (who'll announce next week on television). Either Miller or Brown (currently a "soft" commitment to Georgia) would fit the bill nicely, but it would not be accurate to say that Alabama leads for either player at this point.

Trent Davidson

Besides Miller and Brown, three athletes already committed to Alabama will be on hand, including Kevin Hamilton, Travis McCall and Trent Davidson. Davidson had been scheduled last week, but he told the Tide coaches they should bring him in on the weekend they thought he could do the most good with other prospects.

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 ranking of the Top Alabama prospects to watch right now.

  1. Keith Brown, Can Brown ignore interest from FSU?
  2. Lavarus Giles, TB/Ath, Ready to commit but on hold?
  3. Jeremy Jones, DL/OL/TE, Prime contender for remaining spot
  4. Larry Kendrick, WR/DB, Will his gamble pay off?
  5. Darius Walker, TB, Visit went well, but was it enough?

Alabama currently has 24 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,
Morristown, Tennessee defensive lineman Brandon Fanney,
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,
Brantley wide receiver Marcel Stamps,
Hartselle wide receiver Nikita Stover,
Northwest Mississippi CC defensive end/defensive tackle Chris Turner,
Pike County tight end Nick Walker,
Hoover quarterback John Parker Wilson, and
Hillcrest safety Jake Wingo.

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)
Markus MansonRBHillcrest (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Demonte BoldenDTTyner (Chattanooga, TN)
Terrence SmithLBNW Mississippi CC
Larry KendrickWR/DBPearl River CC (Haines City, FL)
D.J. HallWRChoctawhatchee (Ft. Walton Bch)
Steve GandyLBWayne County (Waynesboro, MS)

Today's Recruiting Hot News

WRD.J. HallEnjoys second visit
LBJordin LindseyTwins make a commitment
DTLorenzo WashingtonComing Down to the Wire
RBBrandon JacksonWants to make it up
WRNikita StoverGetting Closer
WRD.J. HallReady to Play

Current Commitments

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Most Recent, Hot Recruiting Feature Stories

Jan 21, 2004 - Setting the walk-on record straight - Chris King clears up misconceptions about the Bryant Scholarship & walk-ons
Jan 21, 2004 - New facilities aid recruiting - Prospects and their families are overwhelmed
Jan 21, 2004 - Bulldogs showing their teeth - Georgia proved its talent with a win at Kentucky last weekend
Jan 21, 2004 - SEC basketball notebook - Complete notes on all 12 league teams
Jan 20, 2004 - Tide poised for big finish - Sorting through some of the recruiting rhetoric
Jan 20, 2004 - 'AC' set for final season - Carter's rehab is going well, hopes for successful return
Jan 20, 2004 - GymTiders still ranked second - Bama's gymnastics squad close to the top
Jan 20, 2004 - Coming Down to the Wire - Lorenzo Washington has maintained two favorite schools.
Jan 19, 2004 - Walker takes mid-week visit to Alabama - Georgia tailback takes being a student-athlete quite seriously
Jan 19, 2004 - Recruiting Diary, 19th-20th - Looking at the broad recruiting picture for Alabama

Current Visit List

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Latest Commitment

WRNRMarcel Stamps (Brantley HS)6-3/190/- 

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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 25-26 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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