Remember that official visit lists remain a work in progress up until the time that the athletes and their families actually check into the hotel. BamaMag.com learned Thursday that two athletes that were strong possibilities for Friday are not coming.
Once a Tide commitment, Fort Meade, Florida's Andraus Grace (6-3, 302, 5.05) will not be on hand this weekend. Also our information indicates that Cliff Dunham (6-3, 270, 4.8) from Pacelli High School in Columbus, Georgia will not visit.
Quality defensive tackles are a major priority for Alabama this year. Both Grace and Dunham are projected at that position. Of course it's possible that either (or both) of the athletes could end up signing with the Tide, but that is certainly much less likely if they do not visit.
Montgomery's Mario Lane (6-4, 245) has wavered back and forth on his commitment to Alabama the past several weeks. Seen as a possibility at defensive end, tight end or even offensive tackle, Lane pledged last summer to sign with the Tide but has been shaky (at best) since the coaching changeover. He had been scheduled to visit last weekend, but did not show up reportedly due to a conflict with a basketball game. He then rescheduled to this weekend but has postponed again. Lane is now scheduled to visit Tuscaloosa January 31st.
Seven of the athletes previously reported as visiting Alabama this weekend are still on the list. Tight end Dezmond Sherrod (6-4, 225, 4.8) from Caledonia, Mississippi; safety Jarod Parrish (6-3, 180, 4.4) from Summerville, Georgia; wide receiver D.J. Chambers (5-11, 180, 4.4) from Highland Home, Alabama; wide receiver/point guard Jai Miller (6-4, 192, 4.5) from Selma, Alabama; wideout/safety Will Roach (6-2, 195, 4.6), from Killen, Alabama; quarterback Dustin Goodwin (6-2, 188, 4.66) from Demopolis, Alabama; and cornerback/receiver Antonio Cromartie (6-3, 195, 4.4) from Tallahassee, Florida are all still expected to visit.
Parrish, Chambers and Roach are publicly committed to the Tide, though Parrish has clearly been wavering. Alabama is believed to have an excellent shot at landing Sherrod, Miller and Goodwin should all of them receive a firm scholarship offer.
Cromartie is considered a long shot.
At this point, BamaMag.com's sources indicate that Goodwin will not receive a scholarship offer from Alabama, though he would be welcomed as a walk-on candidate.
Three new names have been added to this weekend's visit list. Two are currently committed to other schools, while the third actually signed with Alabama last year.
Kelcy Luke (listed in some places as Kelcy McKissic-Luke) committed to Auburn several weeks back, but the Tide coaches have him on their visit list for this weekend. Luke (6-1, 188, 4.5) is an excellent run/pass quarterback with the ability to play other positions. The Phenix City native is the brother of current Tide players Triandos Luke and Nic Luke, but he was influenced away from Alabama by what he believed was a better opportunity to play quarterback--his preferred position.
With Coach Price apparently intent on signing at least one quarterback in this class, the multi-talented Luke might be a good fit for that scholarship. If Luke takes the trip to Tuscaloosa, then the Tide coaches would have a legitimate shot at changing his mind.
Projected as a tight end/linebacker in college, Pace, Florida's D.J. Norris was a late addition to the Alabama recruiting board. This season, Norris was named his region's most valuable player on defense. He had 65 tackles and 7.5 sacks.
Rated a three-star prospect by TheInsiders.com, Norris (6-2, 235) actually grew up a Tide fan, but he was not a priority with the previous staff. Norris is currently listed as a "soft verbal" to Florida, and he is also scheduled to visit Florida State next weekend (31st).
Also tripping to Tuscaloosa this weekend is a familiar name. Earnest Nance (6-3, 210) signed with the Tide last year, but he delayed reporting as he rehabilitated a serious knee injury. Heading into his senior season of high school, Nance was considered one of the top prospects in the state. But a torn ACL in the fifth game of his season dealt a serious setback to his athletic plans, forcing the Courtland native to undergo surgery and an arduous rehab to get back to 100 percent.
Nance played both linebacker and tailback in high school. In less than five games his senior year, he had compiled 827 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. Nance had also registered 84 tackles. Projected as a linebacker in college, Nance's status with the new coaching staff was frankly uncertain for several weeks. But his addition to the official visit list is a clear indication of renewed interest.
Since Nance did not report last fall, he must be resigned. If that happens, his scholarship would count against Alabama's 2003 numbers.
With the three subtractions (Grace, Lane and Dunham) and the three additions (Nance, Luke and Norris), Alabama's visitor total for this weekend stands at 10.
Other NotesStellar quarterback prospect JaMarcus Russell (6-5, 220, 4.7) arrived in Tuscaloosa Thursday afternoon for an official visit. Seen as a strong lean to either LSU or Florida State, Russell's visit to the Alabama campus was a surprise to most fans. He'll leave Tuscaloosa Friday afternoon for his official visit to FSU.
According to our sources, the rumor that a former Florida State recruit not previously linked to Alabama would visit this weekend (which we alluded to in our Wednesday report) is not true.