Recruiting recap

Alabama picked up its 14th commitment of the year Sunday following the Crimson Tide's first major football recruiting weekend of 2002.

Demeco Ryans, a 6-1, 218-pound linebacker from Jess Lanier High School in Bessemer, announced that he would sign with Bama on February 6, national signing day. Ryans is an honor student.

Because the Tide has self-imposed a loss of eight scholarships in this recruiting year because of past NCAA violations, Bama has only 17 scholarships to award. However, it's thought likely that several players will sign with Alabama but will be forced to begin their college careers in junior college.

Though already committed to Alabama, this past weekend was Jamall Broussard's first chance to visit the Tide campus. Broussard is a 5-10, 180-pound receiver out of College of the Canyons junior college.

Ryans was one of 12 prospects who made official visits to Tuscaloosa this weekend. The emphasis was on defensive players, and, particularly, defensive linemen. Defensive linemen making official visits were Jimmy Williams, a 6-2, 305-pounder from Memphis and Pasadena (California) City College; Tommy "T.J." Jackson, 6-2, 305, nose tackle from Opelika; Ben Grubbs, 6-5, 250, defensive end from Elmore County in Eclectic; Jeremy Clark, 6-3, 265, defensive tackle from Daphne.

Many have considered Williams and Clark likely to choose Alabama. However, while Williams agreed he would "probably" end up at Alabama because it is closest to his Memphis home of the schools he is considering, he also said he would not make a decision until after visiting South Carolina next weekend and Virginia Tech on the weekend of January 25.

Williams, who prepped at East High School in Memphis, also said that he was receiving pressure from Tennessee to make an official visit. He had previously visited San Diego State and Arizona.

Clark is thought to be getting heavy pressure from LSU.

Jackson and Grubbs have been considered likely Auburn signees.

There was also one defensive lineman making an unofficial visit this weekend, Chris Harris, a 6-5, 225-pound defensive end from Tuscaloosa Central, who has already committed to Bama.

Among this week's visitors was running back Jimtavis Walker of Statesboro, Georgia. Walker, who had committed to Florida under former Coach Steve Spurrier, then renewed that pledge shortly after the announcement that Ron Zook would be the new coach of the Gators, surprisingly visited Tuscaloosa instead of Gainesville. Walker's host player was Tide linebacker Jason Rawls, who had been a teammate of Walker's at Statesboro.

Along with Broussard, David Scott (6-0, 180, cornerback) is a junior college product, expected to step in and contribute right away.

Walker led his team to the state championship. He played for Coach Buzz Busby, familiar to many in Alabama for his success as former head coach at Central High School in Tuscaloosa. Among former Busby players who signed with Alabama were Kecalf Bailey, Marvin Constant, Jason Jones, Terry Jones, Jason Rawls, Dennis Riddle, and Antoneyo Williams. Walker, 5-11, 210, rushed for 1,996 yards and 35 touchdowns on 288 attempts last season.

Five previously committed players were among those making visits. They are tailback Kenneth Darby and defensive back Ramzee Robinson, both of whom played at Butler High School in Huntsville, quarterback Brandon Avalos of Tuscaloosa Hillcrest, wide receiver Jamall Broussard of Houston and College of the Canyons in California, cornerback David Scott of Homestead, Florida, and Jones (Mississippi) Junior College, and defensive lineman Kyle Tatum of Prattville.

It had been thought that linebacker Derrick Pope of Galveston, Texas, and Garden City Community College in Kansas would also make his visit this weekend. However, Pope, who has committed to Bama and who is the nephew of Tide Assistant Coach Kenith Pope, is now expected to visit next weekend when his brother, wide receiver prospect Roshawn Pope, is also expected to be in Tuscaloosa.

Avalos, who is an outstanding all-around athlete, missed part of Alabama's recruiting functions because he was working out for two major league baseball scouts Saturday morning.

It was announced that wide receiver Charlie Vample of Reading High School in Cincinnati has committed to Cincinnati. Vample had made an official visit to Alabama, but was not generally considered a high priority for the Tide. However, he was a prep teammate of star running back Deshawn Wynn, who has also made a visit to Bama and who is considered a top prospect for Alabama.

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