Eric Gray, a cornerback from Trinity West Morgan High School in Trinity, Alabama faxed his paperwork in at 8:19 am and was the first recruit to officially join Bama's 2003 class.
Bama's 2003 Signing Class
NAME POSITION HEIGHT WEIGHT HOMETOWN HIGH SCHOOL Matt Caddell WR/KR 5-11 170 McCalla McAdory Chris Capps OL 6-6 260 Fairburn, GA Landmark Christian Tim Castille TB 5-11 220 Birmingham Briarwood Christian D.J. Chambers WR 6-0 180 Highland Home Highland Home Cliff Davis QB 6-5 210 Eupora, MS Eupora Chris Felder CB 5-11 170 Camden Wilcox-Central Eric Gray CB 5-11 190 Trinity West Morgan Terrence Jones LB/SS 6-1 205 Northport Tuscaloosa County Dominic Lee DT 6-4 295 Birmingham Huffman LeRon McClain FB 6-1 240 Northport Tuscaloosa County Justin Moon OL 6-6 300 Guntersville Guntersville Earnest Nance OLB 6-3 210 Courtland Courtland Eric Packer WR/RB 5-9 184 Camden Wilcox-Central Tyrone Prothro CB/KR 5-10 176 Heflin Cleburne County William Roach WR/FS 6-1 195 Killen Brooks Demarcus Waldrop OLB 6-0 200 Pinson Pinson Valley Travis West OL 6-4 295 Laurel, MS Northeast Jones
Taking into account NCAA probation and the staff changeover, 2003 was a brutal recruiting season for the Tide. New Tide Head Coach Mike Price and his staff fought an uphill battle from the moment they arrived in Tuscaloosa, attempting to counteract the flood of negative recruiting that overwhelmed many of the Tide prospects.
In the end, only one Bama commitment switched on Signing Day. Safety Jarod Parrish of Summerville, Georgia had been committed to Alabama. But for several days it had been an open secret that he was probably going to sign with Tennessee, which he did Wednesday morning.
The Tide staff had hoped to sway several blue-chip athletes that were either undecided or committed to other schools. Those efforts were not successful.
Junior college defensive tackle Freddy Saint Preux, who played for Dodge City (Kansas) Community College, was another key Tide target. The Brooklyn, New York native's recruitment had come down to a battle between Alabama and Texas A&M. But in something of a surprise, the big lineman decided for South Carolina. Saint Preux will join several former Dodge City players signed by the Gamecocks in recent years.
Alabama had also hoped to convince Smiths Station linebacker Mitchell Thomas to sign with the Tide. At one point Thomas had committed to Alabama, but he reneged and was obviously troubled by the staff changeover. Thomas signed with Notre Dame.
Linebacker D.J. Norris of Pace, Florida was another prospect that the Tide had hoped to sway. Norris grew up an Alabama fan and took a long look at the Tide on his official visit. But in the end he stayed in-state, signing with the Florida State Seminoles.
Defensive end/tight end Mario Lane of Montgomery's Carver High School was projected as a "sign and place" for Alabama. Lane and the Tide had gone back and forth several times during the recruiting process, but he signed with Alabama State. Lane is expected to end up in junior college.
Blue-chip cornerback Antonio Cromartie of Tallahassee, Florida did not sign early in the day. He is scheduled to announce his decision on Wednesday night.
Punter Brandon Roberson of Northeast Mississippi Community College could also be a part of today's class, though his status is uncertain. Tide Head Coach Mike Price said Wednesday afternoon that adding a punter to the signing class was a possibility.