Final official visit weekend scheduled

Eleven high school athletes have been invited to Tuscaloosa this weekend for official visits. That number includes two players currently listed as Alabama commitments, three publicly committed to other schools and six undecided.

Freddie Saint Preux, DT

(6-5, 300), Dodge City Community College, Brooklyn, New York

For several weeks Saint Preux's status was uncertain, but it's now clear he can sign with Alabama. Saint Preux attended prep school after high school to become eligible, then signed with Central Florida. While enrolled at UCF he also took some classes at a local community college. His second year he transferred to Dodge City Community College, where he played last season. At first the presence of two community colleges on his transcript appeared to subject him to a conference rule, which requires that an athlete spend two years (or three consecutive semesters) at a given JUCO before signing with an SEC school. However, since the courses that Saint Preux took his first year in college were not offered by Central Florida, the rule does not apply.

Saint Preux is rated one of the top two or three JUCO defensive tackles in the nation, making him a key target for Alabama. Similar in size to current Tide tackle Ahmad Childress, Saint Preux is seen as a player that could step in and contribute immediately as a member of the playing rotation. Since he redshirted his year at Central Florida, Saint Preux has three seasons of eligibility left.

Chad Jackson

Chad Jackson, WR

(6-1, 196, 4.4), Hoover HS, Hoover, AL

Rated a five-star prospect by, Jackson is the top-ranked receiver in the state and among the top two or three wideout prospects in the country. He was viewed by many as a must-have recruit for the Tide this year. However, at this point in the process all indications are that he'll end up signing with Florida. Jackson's mother would prefer for him to stay in-state, and his promise to her to visit both Alabama and Auburn is a main reason why he'll be traveling to Tuscaloosa this weekend.

Anytime an athlete takes an official visit to Alabama's campus there is a legitimate chance to change his mind, but at this point garnering Jackson's signature would be a significant upset for the Tide.

Kenny Hollis, MLB/LB

(6-2, 241, 4.52), East Mississippi Community College, Scooba, MS

Hollis is originally from Adamsville, Alabama, having graduated from Minor High School. With former Tide recruit Daniel Brooks likely headed to UT, Hollis would provide the same physical presence at linebacker for the Alabama.

Hollis finished his sophomore campaign in junior college with over 90 tackles and six quarterback sacks. He was the No. 1 tackler among Mississippi junior colleges, plus he finished fifth nationally in that category.

A sideline-to-sideline defender, Hollis also has good speed for the position. LSU is replacing several linebackers from last year's team, which is one reason Hollis committed to the Tigers. But his ties to the state of Alabama could work in the Tide's favor.

Chris Capps, OL

(6-6, 260, 5.0), Landmark Christian School, Fairburn, GA

Chris Capps

Capps is a tall, long-armed, big-framed prospect with room to grow. After spending a few years in college he should sport prototype size for a collegiate offensive lineman. He moves well for a young man his size, displaying good footwork.

The Georgia native took several unofficial visits to Tuscaloosa this past season, attending Alabama games. Capps is currently committed to Oklahoma State, but he would obviously not be visiting the Tide campus if he was not interested in what the coaches had to say.

Jonathan Russell, WR

(6-3, 190, 4.5), Benjamin Russell HS, Alexander City, AL

A tall athlete with a good frame and consistent speed, Russell caught 51 passes for more than 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns this past season. He averaged 21.3 yards per reception. He loves the fade pattern, square-ins and deep routes, plus he is a smooth runner with the ball after the catch.

Russell took several unofficial visits to Alabama games this past season and would fit in well with new Tide Head Coach Mike Price's offensive attack. Plus, Russell is a very good student, so qualifying should not be a concern.

Tashard Choice, RB

Tashard Choice

(6-0, 200, 4.45), Lovejoy HS, Jonesboro, GA

One of two prospects from Jonesboro scheduled to visit Alabama this weekend, Choice seems ideally suited for Price's one-back offense. Competing for Atlanta area Lovejoy High School, Choice carried the ball his senior year 129 times for 1,200 yards (9.30 yards per carry) and 15 Touchdowns. Plus, he caught passes for 600 yards and two scores.

It's likely that Alabama only has room for one more running back in this class, and LeRon McClain's reluctance to commit means Choice becomes a real possibility. Choice has very good speed, is shifty in traffic and has an extra gear when he spots an opening.

Mike Heard, DE/LB

(6-3, 215, 4.45), Lovejoy HS, Jonesboro, GA

Choice's teammate at Lovejoy High, Heard is on Bama's list to visit this weekend. He would obviously have to gain weight for the role, but many analysts see Heard as a rush end on the collegiate level. Very fast at the snap with a knack for making the big play, Heard can simply out-quick would-be blockers to the quarterback.

As a senior, Heard totaled more than 100 tackles and 11 quarterback sacks. He has the frame to easily carry 250 pounds. It's uncertain whether Alabama has given him a firm scholarship off yet, but if he shows up in Tuscaloosa this Saturday then Heard would have a good chance at one of the few remaining slots.

Marquies Gunn, DE

Marquies Gunn

(6-3, 205, 4.6), Benjamin Russell HS, Alexander City, AL

Gunn played tight end, linebacker and defensive end in high school, but as he matures and adds bulk the D-Line will probably be his best position. This past season Gunn garnered 23 quarterback sacks from his defensive end slot. Gunn has been a proven defensive performer on a state championship team.

If Gunn receives a firm offer from the Tide coaches, his chances of committing are good. He also reports scholarship offers from Auburn, Arkansas, Louisville and UAB.

Mario Lane, TE/DE

(6-5, 250, 4.7), Carver HS, Montgomery, AL

One of the top athletes in the state, Lane's academic concerns have discouraged most college recruiters. It's imperative that Alabama bring in 18 qualified SEC caliber athletes next fall. And while Lane was an early commitment to the Tide, it's probable he'll begin his college career on the JUCO level. Lane told some reporters earlier this week that he was now committed to Alabama State. If he signs with Alabama Lane will likely end up a "sign and place" for the Tide.

A big man with the ability to run, Lane averaged two sacks per game and frankly lost count of his quarterback hurries as a senior. Also a very good basketball player, Lane's preferred football position is tight end. But most recruiting analysts project him as a defensive end in college.

Eric Brock, CB/WR

(6-1, 180, 4.5), Benjamin Russell HS, Alexander City, AL

A good athlete without a definite projected position in college, Brock was viewed early on as a defensive back. But wideout may be his best shot at playing time in college. His father, Jimmy Brock, played for Auburn. But for some reason a firm offer from the Tigers has apparently been slow in coming.

Alabama has invited Brock to Tuscaloosa this weekend, but it's likely he will not make the trip. Both Brock's father and high school coach told Tuesday that they expected him to trip to Auburn instead.

Earnest Nance, LB

Earnest Nance hopes to sign with Alabama for the second time.

(6-3, 210), Courtland HS, Courtland, AL

Nance originally signed with Alabama in last year's class, but an arduous recovery from knee surgery prevented him from reporting in August. If he resigns (which is expected), he would not report to Tuscaloosa until next fall, counting against the Tide's 2003 scholarship numbers.

Before injuring his knee halfway through his senior year of high school, Nance was considered one of the top prospects in the state. 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. He is projected as a linebacker at Alabama.

NOTE: Other sources on network have safety Travis Tolbert of Syracuse, New York visiting Alabama this weekend. However, we believe those reports are incorrect.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Visit lists always remain a "work in progress" up until the time the athletes check in Friday afternoon.

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