The truth is that with Sunday night's announcement that Keith Brown would sign with Alabama next week (Tide reels in tall, fast wideout), the Tide's 2004 recruiting class is essentially done. One or two more defensive linemen, hopefully one top-flight tailback, and this year's Crimson Tide class will stack up to virtually anyone's in the nation.
Brown makes the 25th player pledged to sign with the Tide. Before everything is finished Bama's coaches may accept signatures from as many as 30 athletes, if they decide to go the "sign and place" route with some out-of-state prospects with academic problems. But as we detailed in our front page story today (One down; two to go?), precious few guaranteed scholarship slots remain to be filled.
Alabama entertained three official visitors this past weekend and two potential walk-on athletes on hand for unofficial visits (Relatively small visit weekend). Trent Davidson (tight end), Kevin Hamilton (defensive line) and Travis McCall (tight end/athlete) had committed to Alabama earlier in the recruiting process. Arkansas quarterback prospect Adam Thrash and Montgomery lineman Mitchell Waters paid their own way to visit the Bama campus unofficially.
Next weekend promises to be more exciting for Bama fans. Blue-chip tailback Markus Manson will be on hand, along with his Hillcrest teammates Cody Davis, Travis Robinson and Jake Wingo, for official visits. Davis, Robinson and Wingo are already committed to sign with Alabama, and the spotlight now focuses almost exclusively on Manson as one of Bama's top two targets still not committed to sign with the Tide.
Also, two talented defensive linemen from Georgia are scheduled to be in Tuscaloosa, beginning January 30. Michael Brown and Neil Brown both have potential at either tackle or end, and Bama's coaches are recruiting them hard, hoping to finish strong on the defensive line. Of course Lorenzo Washington remains the Tide's top target at the position. He says he'll announce his decision between Alabama and Georgia this Wednesday (January 28) on television.
Several top prospects linked closely to Alabama this recruiting year took official visits this past weekend. Lavarus Giles, an impressive tailback/athlete out of Mississippi visited Ole Miss. According to a Rebels' website, he committed to Ole Miss. Giles had been very impressed with Alabama, but a team can only keep a quality player "on hold" for so long.
Junior-college receiver Larry Kendrick also visited Ole Miss this weekend. He says he'll announce this week between Alabama and the Rebels. He's an excellent athlete that Bama recruited hard, but it's not certain that the Tide still has a scholarship to give.
Jeremy Jones of Louisiana took his official visit to in-state LSU this weekend. Clearly he's favored the Bengal Tigers all along, but just as clearly LSU hasn't yet given him an unconditional scholarship offer. If they had, then logic says he'd be committed already.
It's still possible that Jones could end up at Alabama, but the heavy attention given recently to Michael and Neil Brown prove the Tide is moving on. Jones probably has a guaranteed scholarship to Mississippi State, if he wants it. But LSU so far hasn't done him any favors.
Like Jones, D.J. Hall of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, would clearly prefer to play for his in-state school. But Hall is also being "slow played" by his favorite Florida. Hall visited LSU last weekend and says he's waiting to hear something definite from them later this week. If LSU doesn't have room (likely) and Florida fills up (also possible), then Hall could find himself a player without a school.
If Bama fills up at receiver and on the defensive line, it's possible the Tide coaches would consider taking Hall and Jones as grayshirts. But the likelihood of that happening is probably remote.
Linebacker/Safety Steve Gandy also tripped to Ole Miss this weekend. He came away impressed, listing the Rebels and Auburn as his leaders. After his visit to Alabama he named the Tide in a then Top 3. Had he been willing to commit earlier, there is no doubt that Bama would have loved to have had him. But the Tide's lack of scholarships down the stretch probably decided this one.
Other prospects more remotely linked to Alabama made some recent news. Quarterback/Receiver Patrick White of Mobile says he'll announce this week between either LSU or West Virginia. He essentially eliminated the Tide earlier because he didn't think the Bama coaches were genuinely interested in him as a quarterback. LSU is recruiting him as a receiver only, while the Mountaineers have promised to play him at quarterback.
Josh Sitton, a line prospect out of Florida who attended a mini-camp at Alabama this summer appears headed to Central Florida. Jason Bosley, a much better than average guard prospect out of Huntsville appears poised to commit to Auburn. But recent statements indicate he's still waiting on a guaranteed offer.
And Horn Lake, Mississippi, tailback Brandon Jackson has ridden the recruiting roller coaster and ended up with a good result. He had been linked with several schools, including Alabama, as he searched for a major school that was also a good fit. Recently Nebraska and their new coach got in touch with him. They brought Jackson in for an official visit this past weekend, and now he's pledged to the Cornhuskers.
Events to watch for this week:
1. Lorenzo Washington will announce Wednesday on regional television.
2. Larry Kendrick says he'll announce mid-week.
3. And whether or not Jeremy Jones and D.J. Hall will have their loyalty to their in-state schools rewarded, or be left to fend for themselves at the last minute.
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.
- Lorenzo Washington, DT/DE, Plans to announce the 28th on TV
- Larry Kendrick, WR/DB, Between Bama & Ole Miss, but has his decision been made for him?
- Jeremy Jones, DL/OL/TE, Will home-state LSU treat him right?
- Markus Manson, TB, Will personal ties keep him in Tuscaloosa or send him away?
- Michael Brown, DL, If he's looking for early playing time, then you can't beat Bama
Alabama currently has 25 public commitments, including:
Cullman two-way lineman Justin Britt,
Gulfport, Mississippi, receiver Keith Brown,
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.
|Michael Brown||DE||Westlake (Atlanta, GA)||Lorenzo Washington||DT||Grayson (Loganville, GA)||Markus Manson||RB||Hillcrest (Tuscaloosa, AL)||Demonte Bolden||DT||Tyner (Chattanooga, TN)||Larry Kendrick||WR/DB||Pearl River CC (Haines City, FL)||D.J. Hall||WR||Choctawhatchee (Ft. Walton Bch)||Neil Brown||LB||Buford (Buford, GA)|
|OL||Josh Sitton||Close to committing?|
|WR||Keith Brown||And the winner is...|
|QB||Patrick White||Ready to Announce|
|LB||Steve Gandy||Perfect Visit sets up one more Unofficial|
|OL||Jason Bosley||Waiting On Offer From Tigers|
|LB||Lavarus Giles||Back from Ole Miss, Ready for a Decision?|
|WR||Larry Kendrick||Down to Two, Decision Looming|
|RB||Brandon Jackson||He's in. Now he wants national titles.|
Link: Click Here
Link: Click Here
|WR||Keith Brown (Pensacola HS)|
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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.
Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from TheInsiders.com.