Tide Hoping for Big Week

The Alabama coaching staff has received 30 verbal commitments, and with National Signing Day less than two weeks away the Tide is looking to land a couple of top prospects to end this year's outstanding class.

Currently. Alabama is ranked ninth in the country by Scout.com. The Tide coaches hope to wrap up this recruiting class with a strong finish, and the focus this week will turn to running backs Mikell Simpson and Roy Upchurch.

Simpson, of Harrisburg High School, Penn., will announce his decision Wednesday afternoon on ESPNews. Simpson has publicly narrowed his list to Alabama, Virginia, and Florida. Saturday, the four-star running back told Scout.com that his decision has already been made, and from all indications Simpson will choose between Alabama and Virginia.

Upchurch, a tailback from Godby High School in Tallahassee, is set to make his announcement this week as well. Alabama has remained a frontrunner, but the Arkansas Razorbacks are making a late push for his signature. Upchurch was in Fayetteville this weekend.

When it looked as if the Alabama coaching staff was finished with wide receivers for the class of 2005 unless Fred Rouse made a commitment, Alabama offered Travis Sikes of Christ Presbyterian in Nashville. Sikes received an offer during his official visit this weekend. Sikes is a big target with great numbers as a senior. He is looking at Georgia and Louisville, but names Alabama as his current favorite.

Bama Head Coach Mike Shula has done an excellent job in recruiting the nation's top prospect, Fred Rouse. Rouse has always mentioned Alabama as one of his top choices, but it will be a very tough task to pull the five-star recruit away from Florida State or Texas. Rouse will reveal his decision on Countdown to Signing Day February 2.

Perhaps the best blocking tight end in the South is Colin Peek, from Bolles High School in Jacksonville, Florida. Peek has trimmed his favorites to Alabama, Duke, and Georgia Tech. This week the three-star tight end is expected to make an announcement. The Crimson Tide is a strong candidate for his signature.

Alabama received a commitment from Brandon Deaderick from Elizabethtown, Kentucky last week, but the Tide remains in the hunt for Prattville defensive lineman Bobby Greenwood.

Greenwood made his last official visit to Auburn this past weekend and the Tigers made a strong impression. The three-star lineman is down to Alabama, Florida State, and Auburn. If the Tide makes room, Greenwood would likely commit to Alabama. Auburn is making Greenwood a top priority, after losing two four-star commitments over the weekend.

Doug Worthington, from St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, New York, is one of the best defensive lineman in the country. The five-star recruit is currently committed to Ohio State, but was in Tuscaloosa (1/7) for an official visit. Alabama could be the team to beat if any formal announcement were handed down to the Buckeyes from the NCAA.

Worthington is impressed with Alabama and Tide coach Paul Randolph. Worthington said, "I have never met anyone like him and I don't think I ever will." The relationship the two have built, could play a role on national signing day.

Alabama's recruiting in the defensive secondary is possibly finished, but concerns recently emerged from two verbal commitments.

Chris Keys, who switched his commitment from LSU to Alabama, had cancelled his visit to Baton Rouge for this weekend. LSU Head Coach Les Miles (LSU) flew to Stevenson Friday, however, to give his pitch to the four-star athlete. Keys let Coach Miles know he is firm with the Tide.

After Miles met with Keys, he flew to Port Barre, Louisiana, to meet with the Keys family. Keys received a call over the weekend urging him to visit LSU. Keys confirmed to all, he will wear the crimson jersey for the Tide.

This weekend Clarence Ward, a current Alabama commit, will visit Florida State with his cousin (a current FSU commit). Florida State is now considered the team to beat for Ward's signature. In the Tide's corner is Ward's mother, who is very comfortable with Alabama. The Alabama coaching staff will continue to persuade Ward not to take the visit. Ward is aware of the risk of not having a scholarship from Alabama if he trips to Tallahassee.

Regardless of this week's announcements, the Alabama coaching staff had a mission to fill the needs for the class of 2005 and have accomplished their goal. They have received verbal commitments from top recruits from across the country. Though the Tide did not win the state of Alabama in recruiting, they will land some of the top talent from Florida, Georgia, California, Mississippi, and Louisiana, to go along with several top players in Alabama.

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