The state of Alabama continues to produce high-level football prospects and the number of blue-chips is expanding as the class of 2018 cycle rolls on. Mountain Brook (Ala.) High School standout Harold Joiner is the latest from the Yellowhammer State to add four stars in the rising senior class, bringing the total to an even dozen to this point.
Joiner is intriguing on many levels, beginning with his size. At The Opening Atlanta in late March, the new four-star measured in at 6-foot-4, 218 pounds, and was a testing standout with a 4.76-second 40-yard dash and near 38 inch vertical jump. All spring long, as he did when Scout was first introduced to Joiner last summer on the camp circuit, he was simply too fluid for linebackers or even safety prospects to handle in space with his speed, wingspan and route-running ability. Joiner also has consistent and soft hands, which combined with his running back ability, makes him a matchup nightmare in the passing game.
Could Joiner line up at running back at the next level? Sure, and he has plenty of top-end scholarship offers from programs which want him to do just that like the one currently on top for his services, LSU. But the entire skill set cannot be ignored with Joiner, who moves from a three-star running back to a four-star athlete, and a top 10 prospect that the position within the entire South region. Joiner's ceiling leans him more toward the next Evan Engram than Derrick Henry.
There is also considerable depth just behind that top group of prospects in the state as well, as evidenced by the prospects ascending to three stars in just the last week or so.
A recent pledge to Auburn University, Cordova (Ala.) athlete Kolbi Fuqua is a jack of all trades at 6-foot-2, north of 200 pounds. He may be able to line up at wide receiver, defensive back or even linebacker at the next level. Fuqua now ranks among the top athletes in the state of Alabama.
Montgomery (Ala.) Lee defensive back JaKorey Hawkins is red-hot on the recruiting trail and has netted more than a dozen scholarship offers, including Missouri, Ole Miss and West Virginia of late. He is a height-weight-speed cornerback prospect with great instincts on the outside along with enough physicality to perhaps play safety down the line.
Jonathan Hess has hit the double-digit offer mark as a defensive hybrid. The Birmingham (Ala.) Vestavia Hills prospect is a safety by trade, but he has bulked up to 220 pounds over the last six months and many programs view him as a linebacker at the next level. Hess plays with good balance whether in the box or in space, with the ability to strike a ball carrier or blocker with power.
A recent Louisville offer has the Cardinals in good position for Birmingham (Ala.) Huffman defensive tackle Allen Love, who previously had UL rival Kentucky atop his list. Adding offers by the week, the big defensive tackle has flashed as a feisty competitor all spring long. Love plays with a high-motor and has improved his hand-technique at the point of attack.
Another Birmingham-metro defensive tackle turning heads is Mackie McNeal, a towering 6-foot-5, 300-pounder out of Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson High School. Anchoring what should be one of the top defenses in the state this fall, the rising senior has displayed strength at the point of attack and more fluidity than one would expect through the spring camp circuit. Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Louisville are McNeal's Power 5 opportunities at this time.
The younger brother of 2017 wide receiver and Alabama Crimson Tide signee Henry Ruggs, Montgomery (Ala.) Lee linebacker Kevontae Ruggs moves to three stars as his stock rises with offers from Ole Miss, West Virginia and others following Alabama breaking the ice earlier this year. He is a long defender who runs well and excels in space with above-average tackling ability.
Stay with Scout as the class of 2018 takes shape. The initial Scout 300 for the class of 2019 will be released this summer.