NLF

Alabama Football Recruiting Rumors Before Early Signing Day

Over the weekend, Alabama started preparing for the College Football Playoffs, and the team will have over half of its 2024 recruiting class participate in these drills.

The first round of early enrollees, according to On3, consists of 13 signees: offensive lineman Casey Poe, Joseph Ionata, and William Sanders; quarterback Julian Sayin; and tight end Caleb Odom. Linebacker Sterling Dixon (who will not play due to injury) and defensive backs Zabien Brown, Jameer Grimsley, Dre Kirkpatrick Jr., Rydarrius Morgan, and Peyton Woodyard make up the defense.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JULY 19: Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide speaks during Day 3 of the 2023 SEC Media Days at Grand Hyatt Nashville on July 19, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Johnnie Izquierdo/Getty Images)

Three others — defensive back Jaylen Mbakwe and linebackers Cayden Jones and Justin Okoronkwo — are expected to enroll in January after playing in national all-star games. Also of note: Okoronkwo, a Germany native, is the first European prospect to be invited to and play in the All American Bowl (formerly known as the U.S. Army All-American Game).

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                                               GO DEEPER

How Alabama landed Germany’s No. 1 American football prospect

Monday is the start of the recruiting dead period, and Wednesday through Friday is the early signing period. There shouldn’t be any turmoil surrounding Alabama’s verbal commitments. The five players still on the waiting list who will not be enrolling early are defensive lineman Quinton Reese, tight end Jay Lindsey, and receivers Amari Jefferson, Rico Scott, and Ryan Williams. Alabama’s recruiting class is currently rated No. 4 in the country by 247Sports Composite. Only twice since 2010 (2010, 2018) have the Crimson Tide placed outside the top three, although they might still advance.

The final weekend before the dead period arrived, and Alabama welcomed a number of recruits. These included official visits from committed prospects and players who have already committed to another school, transfer portal visits, and unofficial visits from top 2025 prospects like defensive back and fellow 2025 five-star prospect Bryce Underwood, who is ranked as the top player in the class of 2025 by 247Sports Composite. Additionally, there was considerable movement on Alabama’s existing roster.

The upcoming week appears to be headed toward more Alabama team additions through the 2024 recruiting class. The possibility exists that the Tide will check the transfer portal, but signing day victories could offset such needs. For instance, the acquisition of Iowa’s Kadyn Proctor last year eliminated the need for a transfer offensive tackle.

Ahead of the early signing period, there are a few narratives to follow that will influence how Alabama completes its 2024 roster. This is what to look out for:

Dust settles on initial Alabama portal entrants

Elijah Pritchett, a redshirt freshman offensive tackle, made headlines over the weekend when he decided to rejoin the team despite initially stating that he intended to use the transfer portal. It is not in Pritchett’s best interest to transfer, he said to Hayes Fawcett of On3. I sincerely regret for any trouble caused. I’m completely confined. “Roll Tide!” Given the possibility of participating in 2024, the original statement was a little unexpected, but Pritchett is back with the squad, so it’s a win that he was retained.

Other players who left Tuscaloosa for the transfer portal include defensive lineman Anquin Barnes, who committed to Colorado, and wide receiver Ja’Corey Brooks, who committed to Louisville. It’s doubtful that Alabama will have any more portal entries until after the season.

A wild card commit

As stated earlier, it is anticipated that Jefferson, Scott, Lindsey, and Reese would enroll in the summer. They are all dependable. Williams, who recently reclassified to the 2024 class and is currently the top-ranked recruit in Alabama’s class, is the wild card. He is expected to sign in February. This past weekend, he paid an unofficial visit to Auburn; prior to signing, he may explore other universities. Williams keeps proving himself on the field as one of the top receivers in the country. He pledged to participate in the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Game the day after reclassifying, which was held this past Saturday. With eight catches for 92 yards and two scores, he was the MVP of the contest.

 

Merry Flipmas to all, and to all a Roll Tide?

Over the weekend, Alabama hosted two running backs who had committed to other schools: three-star Jadan Baugh (Arkansas) and four-star Kevin Riley (Miami). The one position where this 2024 class lacks commitments is running back, where there will be a significant need with the probable losses of Randyll Williams and Jake McClellan. In this instance, a high school commitment negates the need for a transfer portal: Alabama would be able to fill its 2024 running back room if it could convince Riley and Baugh to flip, or both. Riley in particular is a desirable candidate because he was born and raised in Tuscaloosa.

Eddrick Houston, a five-star defensive lineman and Ohio State recruit, made an unofficial visit over the weekend, which was one of the more unexpected events of the day. His official visit took place in June. A few days before his trip to T-Town, he also made a visit to Clemson. Although a flip doesn’t seem likely, it’s noteworthy that Alabama had the final face-to-face meeting before the dead period started. Another area that needs improvement is the defensive line. Over the weekend, Alabama hosted three defensive linemen/edge players from the transfer portal: Trey Moore (UTSA), LT Overton (Texas A&M), and Fadil Diggs (Texas A&M).

Five-star wide receiver Perry Thompson, who was once committed to Alabama but switched to Auburn during the summer, is another possibility to keep an eye on. Alabama continued to communicate, and last week Nick Saban, position coach Holmon Wiggins, and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele concluded an in-home visit with Thompson. To further fuel the rumors, Thompson announced his signing at Foley High School with a visual that showed him wearing an Alabama and Auburn jersey, despite his allegiance to Auburn. He spent the weekend in Auburn.

Last, but certainly not least …

Alabama was also able to make a lasting impression on a couple of uncommitted recruits prior to the dead period. This week, offensive lineman Favour Edwin, defensive lineman Steve Mboumoua, and edge Jayshawn Ross are anticipated to reveal their college selections.

Over the weekend of December 11th, Edwin, a three-star prospect who is also evaluating Auburn and Florida, paid Alabama his last official visit. Edwin, a projected tackle, fills a need in the lineup.

Four-star prospect Ross, who is weighing offers from Kansas State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and other schools, received an offer from Alabama in October and has since made a few visits, including an official one in November and an unofficial one over the weekend.

The lone official visit that Mboumoua, a four-star international talent from Quebec, has made is to Alabama over the weekend of December 11. He has made three trips to Alabama overall, and the Crimson Tide is the clear favorite.

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