Recruiting Diary, January 23rd

Once again the remarkable fluidity of recruiting is demonstrated. Just yesterday Alabama was set to host five official visitors this weekend, including two potentially crucial uncommitted defensive linemen. But now Bama's visit list may include only two previously committed players, with the "action" put off until January 30.

Prattville teammates Travis McCall and Kevin Hamilton are still set to visit this weekend, though with recent events you could hardly blame Mike Shula if he rescheduled both and gave his coaches two days off. McCall (tight end/athlete) and Hamilton (defensive lineman) are both excellent athletes, potentially as good as virtually any on Bama's commitment list. But because they are already committed, the nature of the recruiting beast is that attention had focused elsewhere.

Defensive end Brandon Miller and defensive tackle Michael Brown, both blue-chip prospects from Georgia, had been scheduled to trip to Tuscaloosa today. Miller said last night that he had canceled that visit, having narrowed his list down to Georgia, Georgia Tech and Florida State. (By the way, Miller's mother, Merle, gets my vote for "gate-keeper of the year" this recruiting season. The intrepid Mrs. Miller always seems to find a way to get in between her son and unwelcome coaches and/or writers, especially when Brandon isn't interested in talking.)

Manson's status as a key Tide target remains unchanged.

For his part Michael Brown says he wants to still be considered a commitment to Georgia, but he's clearly wavering like a plucked guitar string. He took a recent trip to Florida, and said that he felt more comfortable with the Gator players than at Georgia. And he also seems determined to visit Alabama before making his final decision.

Of course Brown was scheduled to make that trip this weekend, and he still might. But he said in an interview last night that a family problem might cause him to reschedule to next weekend.

If that happens, then all of a sudden January 30th could become a crucial visit weekend for the Tide. Michael Brown, Neil Brown (another talented defensive line prospect from the Peach State) and Markus Manson would all be on campus for that last visit weekend, going down to the wire but still giving Bama's coaches a chance to turn an already very good class into a certifiably excellent one.

Tight end Trent Davidson had been scheduled to visit this weekend. Also committed to the Tide, he was coming in this weekend to help out with Miller and Brown. So he may reschedule to next weekend as well, but we haven't gotten word on that one way or the other.

Neil Brown had been flirting with Nebraska, but apparently the Cornhuskers are looking elsewhere, opening the door for Alabama. Neil Brown's exact order of preference right now is anyone's guess, but at one time or another (besides Alabama) he has seriously entertained offers from North Carolina, Michigan State, Duke and Tennessee. If the Tide can land Lorenzo Washington and either one of the available Browns, then assistant coach Paul Randolph probably deserves a raise on the spot.

The big news Thursday, of course, was tailback Darius Walker's announcement that he was choosing Notre Dame. He had taken a mid-week official visit to Alabama on Monday and Tuesday. The Tide coaches would have loved to have gotten him, but their tailback board really hasn't changed. Markus Manson and Lavarus Giles are both priorities.

Manson is scheduled for his Alabama visit on that last weekend, along with Hillcrest teammates Cody Davis, Travis Robinson and Jake Wingo, all of whom are currently committed to the Tide. Manson is saying his will be a February decision, so stay tuned.

Michael Brown may reschedule his visit to next weekend.

No surprise to anyone, Chattanooga's Demonte Bolden says he's still committed to Tennessee. Then he says he's still taking visits. It'll be a shock to every recruiting pundit if the blue-chip defensive tackle escapes Tennessee. But regardless, he's expected to start at a junior college.

In a front-page story today (Brown likes Bama, visiting MSU receiver prospect Keith Brown restates that Alabama is still his leader. He'll visit Mississippi State this weekend and then announce his decision. Florida State may or may not be able to complicate Brown's thinking, but certainly Bobby Bowden and the Seminole coaches are giving it their best shot.

Besides the ones mentioned, several other Tide targets are taking visits this weekend to two other schools, Ole Miss and LSU.

Larry Kendrick (wide receiver) will trip to Oxford and says his decision is down to Bama and the Rebels. Lavarus Giles (tailback/athlete) also heads to Ole Miss. His decision is thought to be down to Alabama and the two Mississippi state schools. Steve Gandy (linebacker/safety) makes it a trifecta for the Rebels, hosting former Tide visitors. Some reports have Gandy down to Ole Miss and Auburn; other reports have Bama still in it.

Neil Brown is still in play.

D.J. Hall (receiver) and Jeremy Jones (lineman) will visit national champion LSU, beginning today. Hall currently lists Florida and Alabama relatively even. As a Louisiana native, Jones would prefer LSU, but the Bengal Tigers may not have a scholarship for him.

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, Will 'Sippi Brown become 'Bama Brown?
  2. Lavarus Giles, TB/Ath, Holding pattern may finally be nearing an end
  3. Jeremy Jones, DL/OL/TE, Will home-state LSU treat him right?
  4. Larry Kendrick, WR/DB, Says it's between Bama & Ole Miss
  5. Lorenzo Washington, DT/DE, Plans to announce the 28th on TV

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

LBRenuel GreenCoach Talks East Miss CC LB
DTDemonte BoldenLooks to be Solid
DECedric JonesDecision could come After Signing Day
RBDarius WalkerDecision day
DTMichael BrownBig DT Waivering?
DEBrandon Miller#1 DE Down to 3
DTNeil BrownWaiting game probably over
OLDanny MuyWelcomes first meeting with NU head coach

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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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