Category Archives: College Football

2017 SEC Football Preview

Since 2013, every SEC team has finished at least one season ranked in the top 25 except Kentucky and Arkansas. The conference is deep, but a team other than Alabama has to step up for the SEC to be known as the premier conference again. Auburn, LSU, Georgia and Florida have the capabilities to step up and be a top ten team in the nation this season.

In the SEC West, Alabama has had success unmatched by the rest. Jalen HurtsAuburn and LSU round out the top tier of the West. As for the bottom tier, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Arkansas could finish in just about any order. All four (except Ole Miss because of their bowl ban) are going to compete and should be bowl eligible. Look for Alabama to end up in Atlanta again.

The SEC East should be a two horse race between Georgia and Florida. Kentucky could be a darkhorse pick in the division to end up in Atlanta. Nick ChubbTennessee is a team that will be in transition, while Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Missouri will all be improved. The SEC East will be better than previous seasons and is closing the talent gap with the West. In the end, I believe it is Georgia’s division to lose.

Here are the full rankings and team-by-team previews:

SEC West

  1. Alabama
  2. Auburn
  3. LSU
  4. Texas A&M
  5. Ole Miss
  6. Mississippi State
  7. Arkansas

SEC East

  1. Georgia
  2. Florida
  3. Kentucky
  4. Tennessee
  5. Vanderbilt
  6. South Carolina
  7. Missouri

 

SEC West

1. Alabama Crimson TideAlabama logo

Projected Record: 13-0 (8-0 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 6 Defense- 6

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

1

1

1

1

1

No surprise here. Alabama lost some key defensive players, but has a lot of young talent to fill those positions. The secondary will be an area of strength with Minkah Fitzpatrick, Anthony Averett and Ronnie Harrison. Offensively, Brian Daboll steps in as the replacement to Lane Kiffin. If the spring game was any indication, look for the offense to throw the ball down the field a lot more in Jalen Hurts’ Sophomore year. The backfield is simply unfair with Bo Scarbrough, Damien Harris, Joshua Jacobs, and the number one recruit in the nation, Najee Harris. Alabama returns a veteran offensive line as well.

The two toughest tests are the first and last games as Florida State and Auburn will be talented this year. The bottom of the SEC West is down this year so it would be a surprise if they lose a game between the opening kickoff (Florida State) and November 4th (LSU). This could be one of Saban’s best teams and will be in the hunt for yet another playoff berth and the National Championship.

2. Auburn TigersAuburn Tigers Logo

Projected Record: 10-2 (7-1 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 7 Defense- 7

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

9

9

8

6

8

All eyes will be on Jarrett Stidham. The talented former Baylor Quarterback steps into Gus Malzahn’s offense and hopes to do it in stride. Auburn returns veteran talent on the defense, but will have to replace Montravious Adams, Carl Lawson, and Rudy Ford. Maybe former number one ranked recruit DE Byron Cowart can have a breakout year.

Auburn has a tough non-conference game with Clemson and also faces Georgia from the SEC East. A talented quarterback added to this Auburn team makes them more dangerous than years past. They could roll into the Iron Bowl with only one loss, but then will probably lose to Alabama. If Auburn can control Clemson’s defensive line, they could pull the upset.

Outside of Clemson, Auburn faces lackluster talent in Georgia Southern, Mercer and Louisiana-Monroe in their nonconference schedule. A possible tripping point could come from October 14-November 11 where they play @ LSU, @ Arkansas, @ Texas A&M and Georgia. Auburn could be a top ten ranked team when all is said and done.

3. LSU TigersLSU Tigers

Projected Record: 9-3 (5-3 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 5 Defense- 4

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

7

3

6

2

4.5

Every year it is the same question, does LSU have a quarterback that can play?  Danny Etling in 8 SEC games threw for 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Etling is your classic “don’t mess anything up and hand it to the running back” type QB. This didn’t work in their three conference losses last year against good run defensive teams like Auburn, Alabama and Florida. Maybe new offensive coordinator Matt Canada can do the same thing with Etling that he did with Nathan Peterman last year.

The non-conference opponents this year aren’t as tough with home games against BYU, Chattanooga, Syracuse, and Troy. Side note, how about BYU fans traveling to Baton Rouge? Nothing like Mormons visiting Baton Rouge for a Saturday night football game. I am ready for some Mormons vs. Mardi Gras shirts. Back to the schedule, I think I could play quarterback and hand off the ball to Derrius Guice for those games.

LSU won’t miss a beat going from Fourntette to Guice; However, losing linebackers Duke Riley and Kendell Beckwith will be tough, as well as 1st round picks from the secondary, Jamal Adams and Tre’Davious White. Pass rusher Arden Key is one of the best in the nation, but they will be inexperienced outside of him. October 7th-November 4th will be tough as LSU plays @ Florida, home versus Auburn, @ Ole Miss, and @ Alabama. Expect a repeat of last year and a few entertaining post-game press conferences from Ed Orgeron.

4. Texas A&M AggiesTexas A&M Logo

Projected Record: 6-6 (3-5 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 5 Defense- 6

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

12

18

11

5

11.5

Is this Kevin Sumlin’s last season? If they don’t get at least 8 wins, it is. Sumlin turned the Johnny Football craze into some great recruiting classes, but not much else. Since 2013, Johnny’s last season, Texas A&M is 15-17 in SEC play and top ranked quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray both transferred out. Better years than their rivals in Austin though.

With Texas A&M it starts with the quarterback battle. Jake Hubenak the senior, Nick Starkel the redshirt freshman, or former IMG top recruit Kellen Mond. Mond gives A&M the most upside, but may not be ready to play right away. In addition, a true freshman’s first game on the road at UCLA? I think the job will come down to Hubenak and Starkel, with Mond getting a redshirt year. Outside of quarterback, Christian Kirk should have another electric year before going to the NFL. They also have two talented running backs in Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford. The Offensive line will have to replace both offensive tackles.

Defensively, replacing pass rushers Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall will be tough. However, they are talented and deep at defensive tackle. The linebackers must be better than last year where they struggled to stop the running attack.

The nonconference schedule should be three guaranteed wins, but a loss at UCLA is definitely possible. Playing Alabama at home will be their biggest game of the year, but @ Florida, Auburn and @ LSU will be tricky games. Looks like A&M will enter the Chip Kelly sweepstakes.

The nonconference schedule should be three guaranteed wins, but a loss at UCLA is definitely possible. Playing Alabama at home will be their biggest game of the year, but @Florida, Auburn and @LSU will be tricky games. Looks like A&M will enter the Chip Kelly sweepstakes.

5. Ole Miss RebelsOle Miss logo

Projected Record: 6-6 (2-6 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 5 Defense- 6

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

30

5

17

15

16.75

Hugh Freeze was “escorted” out of Oxford and it will be interesting to see what direction the new Rebels go. The Chad Kelly/Hugh Freeze era is over and it is officially time for Shea Patterson and the rest of the Freeze recruits to move on. No matter what happens, Ole Miss will not be playing in a bowl game this year because of a self-bowl ban. It looks like the Egg Bowl will be the ultimate prize for the Rebels.

Shea Patterson has plenty of playmakers on the outside including Van Jefferson, A.J. Brown and Damarkus Lodge. Top 2015 recruit, Greg Little, steps into the left tackle spot. The offense should be top five in the SEC; it is the defense that will be the question mark.

Marquis Haynes leads the defense with 24.5 career sacks along with five other returning starters. However, it is a defense that was 111th in yards per game. If Ole Miss wants to win games in the SEC this year, the defense must improve.

Ole Miss has an easy non-conference with a road trip to Cal-Berkeley as their toughest opponent (A little PAC-12/SEC football at NIGHT). Ole Miss toughest test will be the back-to-back away games against Alabama and Auburn that could make them go 3-0 to 3-2 really quick. Ole Miss needs a good season to get back the momentum from the NCAA investigation and the Hugh Freeze scandal.

6. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Miss State Logo

Projected Record: 6-6 (2-6 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 6 Defense- 6

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

24

28

18

35

26.25

Nick Fitzgerald had a solid first year as the starter for Mississippi State. However, the rest of the team will have to step up if they want to be a challenger in the SEC. They do have six starters on each side of the ball returning. On defense, sophomores Leo Lewis and Jeffery Simmons are very talented. Two defensive players have made controversial headlines including 5-Star DE Simmons punching a woman and LB Leo Lewis allegedly accepting money from Ole Miss. Both players should be on the field when the 2017 season kicks off.

Mississippi State’s toughest non-conference opponent is BYU as they will take the trip to Starkville (Could BYU count this trip as a Mormon Mission?). Outside of that, Mississippi State should have it easy with Charleston Southern, Louisiana Tech and UMass. SEC season starts fast for the Cowbells as starting September 16th they host LSU, @ Georgia, and @ Auburn with no bye week in between. I think it will be another tough season, but Fitzgerald and good returning lineup could cause some trouble for SEC opponents.

7. Arkansas Razorbacks

Arkansas Logo.png

Projected Record: 5-7 (1-7 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 6 Defense- 6

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

27

23

22

29

25.25

Since 2013, 12 of the 14 SEC teams have finished the year in the top 25. The only two teams that haven’t are Kentucky and Arkansas. They had a chance last year if they could’ve won the Belk Bowl, but they blew a 24-0 halftime lead.

Austin Allen is one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC, it is the playmakers around him that will need to step up. The starting running back from last year, Rawleigh Williams, retired from football due to a neck injury. Devwah Whaley will replace him after a strong freshman season. The question remains who will step up at the wide receiver after losing three of the four top receivers. Offensive line is also a question mark, but Frank Ragnow is a bright spot.

Arkansas is transitioning to a 3-4 defense which could cause trouble considering they lack linebacker depth. Defensive line is also a weakness after losing four contributors from last year’s team. Former 5-Star DE McTelvin Agim will be asked to pick up the slack. Having a weaker front seven in a conference that loves to run the football could give the Razorbacks problems.

Arkansas doesn’t have a tough non-conference schedule outside of the early game against TCU. Florida A&M, New Mexico State and Coastal Carolina should be easy wins. Arkansas also plays the easiest opponents from the east with South Carolina and Missouri. Getting through the SEC West is where it will be obviously difficult.

 

SEC East

1. Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia Logo

Projected Record: 10-3 (6-2 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 5 Defense- 10

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

5

8

5

8

6.5

Georgia should not only be the favorite in the East, but they should be getting more hype as a top ten team. The defense returns ten starters and all of them are upperclassmen. A defense that was ranked 16th last year returning that many starters is going to be dangerous.

The main question is if the offense can take a step forward. Starting quarterback Jacob Eason played ok as a freshman, but will need to improve on his 8 interceptions and 55% completion percentage. At running back, look for Nick Chubb to bounce back after a down year. Sony Michel is also a dangerous runner and gives Georgia a great 1-2 punch. Brian Herrien, Elijah Holyfield and Deandre Swift round out the running back unit as one of the deepest in the country. The major weakness of this offense is in the offensive line and wide receivers. The returning leading receiver is Terry Godwin who had just 397 yards and 0 TDs.

The schedule shapes up well for Georgia. The nonconference isn’t overly difficult with a road trip to South Bend to take on Notre Dame and a short drive to Atlanta for the annual Georgia Tech game. In the SEC, “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” game against Florida should decide who gets to lose to Alabama in the SEC Championship. A trip to Auburn late in the year will be a tough one as well.

2. Florida Gators

Florida logo

Projected Record: 9-3 (6-2 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 9 Defense- 3

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

11

12

21

9

13.25

Last year, the Florida offense was dreadful. The quarterbacks combined for 18 TDs and 15 INTs with the offense averaging just 17 points over the last five SEC games. The defense was a different story with 7 Florida defensive players getting drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft.

The 2017 Gators are a different story. The returning defense is young and inexperienced with cornerbacks Duke Dawson and Chauncey Gardner leading the defense. The offense is not lacking playmakers as Antonio Callaway is one of the most explosive receivers in the country. The offensive line should be solid as well, returning 4 out of their 5 starters.

So who starts at quarterback? Malik Zaire transferred from Notre Dame as a graduate transfer and could play right away. Zaire only has 98 career college attempts and is no sure bet to be the starter. He will have to beat out the favorite after spring practices, Feleipe Franks, for the starting job.

It won’t be easy for whoever gets named the top quarterback as they open against Michigan in Jerry World. Florida may have the toughest non-conference schedule out there as they also end the season with a home game against National Champion contender Florida State. Their SEC headline game outside of Georgia is LSU. Florida, in an ultimate power move, made LSU their homecoming game. Coach Orgeron said in response, “GdkjfEAUX fEAUX putEAUX thEAUX footbEAUX.” As you can tell he is fired up.

3. Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky logo

Projected Record: 7-5 (4-4 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 8 Defense- 8

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

29

33

38

22

30.5

Kentucky returns a lot of players from last year’s 7-6 team and should be a contender in the East (I swear, I’m not crazy and know this isn’t basketball). Offensively there is a lot of potential with quarterback Stephen Johnson and returning 1,000-yard rusher Benny Snell. Kentucky also has one of the best returning offensive lines in the SEC. As long as a few wide receivers can step up, this offense should be pretty solid.

Defensively, the Wildcats will have to improve the front line. Former five-star recruit Matt Elam will have to show something in his senior year. Crazy to think he almost went to Alabama where he would probably be riding the bench. The linebackers are a position of strength returning all four starters in their 3-4 set. ILB Jordan Jones will try to build off his 109 tackles during his sophomore year. The secondary should be solid as well with both corners and star safety Mike Edwards returning. If the defensive line comes alive this could be a good group.

Kentucky’s non-conference includes Southern Miss and Louisville. Last year, they lost to Southern Miss and beat Louisville. It will most likely be reversed this coming year with Lamar Jackson returning. In the SEC, Kentucky has it easier than most East teams playing against the low end of the West with Ole Miss and Mississippi State. If they can put it together Kentucky has an outside chance of making it to Atlanta.

4. Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee Vol logo

Projected Record: 7-5 (3-5 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 5 Defense- 6

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

17

14

4

7

10.5

Maybe I should write this Tennessee preview like they played in 2016… Coast through the first half and finish the second strong. The offense is in total transformation mode with Joshua Dobbs, Alvin Kamara, Jalen Hurd and Josh Malone all finding better colors to wear than orange (except Josh Malone will still wear orange with the Bengals and I’m sure Jalen Hurd will wear some terrible design that Baylor put together). The new quarterback job will come down to junior Quinten Dormady or redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano. The offensive line is a question mark, but ESPN’s top ranked recruit for 2017, Trey Smith, should see playing time right away. At wide receiver Jauan Jennings can fly and Ethan Wolf is a reliable tight end target. It is going to be anyone’s guess on how well this offensive group comes together.

The defense last year had their fair share of injury problems. The 2017 defensive unit will look to make improvements especially after giving up over 200 yards a game on the ground. DT Kahlil McKenzie is a space eater and an impact player. The safeties are the strength of this unit with Todd Kelly Jr. and Nigel Warrior. Evan Berry (Kansas City Chiefs Eric Berry’s brother) will also look to end on a high note for his senior season. It will be the last time we see a Berry in orange until 20 years from now when one of their sons is playing.

Tennessee gets the worst of it from the West, having to play both Alabama and LSU. The non-conference is manageable, but whoever starts at quarterback better be ready for Georgia Tech in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. I think it is a transition year where Butch Jones isn’t given any time to transition. Tennessee goes 7-5 and enters the Chip Kelly sweepstakes.

5. South Carolina Gamecocks

SC logo.png

Projected Record: 5-7 (3-5 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 10 Defense- 6

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

21

25

20

19

21.25

I actually really like the Gamecocks this year, but their non-conference schedule could hold them back. QB Jake Bentley is very talented and should continue to develop in his sophomore year. The offensive line returns four starters and offensive playmakers are not lacking. WR Deebo Samuel may be one of the most dynamic players in the SEC and will look to grow on his 783 receiving yards last year.

LB Skai Moore is back after missing all of the 2016 season. He was the leading tackler in his first three years and will come back to lead the defense again. Joining Bryson Allen-Williams, the linebacker core should be one of the tops in the SEC. Where Will Muschamp has his hands full is trying to improve the secondary and pass rush. These units will have to step up if South Carolina will become bowl eligible.

Their last game of the season will be against Clemson and could have some playoff implications for the Tigers. They also start the year against NC State who could be a surprise team in the ACC. Louisiana Tech won’t be an automatic win either as the boys from Ruston, Louisiana are projected to win Conference USA. Thank God they at least have Wofford on their schedule. The Gamecocks do avoid the powerhouses in the West by playing Arkansas and Texas A&M, but a road game against Georgia and Florida at home the very next week isn’t ideal. It could be really bad or be a pretty good year, but either way the Cocks will make it interesting.

6. Vanderbilt Commodores

Vandy logo

Projected Record: 6-6 (3-5 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 8 Defense- 7

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

64

54

49

46

53.25

Vanderbilt has a lot of starters coming back from a 6-7 team and should be highly competitive in the East. The offense made great improvements near the end of the year putting 38 points against Ole Miss and 45 points against Tennessee. Returning quarterback Kyle Shurmur will have to continue to improve if they want to get over the 6 win mark. Ralph Webb is one of the most talented running backs in the SEC and set a Vanderbilt record last year for rushing yards in a season. The offensive line will have to replace Will Holden, who was drafted in the fifth round, but will still have three returning starters.

The defense will have to replace All-SEC Zach Cunningham, but Derek Mason’s group is filled with veterans. The secondary is the strength of the defense. The defensive line has good depth, but the overall talent of the defense isn’t on par with the rest of the SEC. The defense should be good, not great this season.

The non-conference schedule won’t be easy for the Commodores as they face a tough Kansas State team at home and a decent Middle Tennessee State on the road. Vanderbilt got the bad draw of playing against Alabama from the SEC West and it will be their first SEC game of the year nonetheless. The talent level of Vanderbilt is alright, but not based on SEC standards. Getting to 7 wins would be a good year for Derek Mason.

7. Missouri Tigers

Mizzou logo

Projected Record: 5-7 (1-7 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense- 10 Defense- 3

Recruiting Rankings:

2017

2016

2015

2014

4 YR AVG

42

43

25

39

37.25

The Tigers had a rough 2016 season finishing 4-8 on the year and just 2-2 in non-conference play. Ever since Gary Pinkel left, the team has not been the same. Add in the fake protests and downward spiral of the basketball team, the Missouri faithful are going through some tough times. As for the football team, Missouri does return a lot of offensive talent, but the defense will probably be the weak link this year. At least their basketball team will be talented.

Returning QB Drew Locke has a lot of talent and is coming off a 23 touchdown sophomore year. Along with Locke is 1,000-yard senior wide receiver J’Mon Moore. The offensive line struggled last year, but does return everyone. If they improve the biggest beneficiary will be dangerous RB Damarea Crockett. This team should finish the year as a top half of the SEC offense.

The defense is another story. Missouri’s defense last year was horrendous even giving up 51 points to Middle Tennessee State. That defense only returns three starters. One of the few bright spots is the return of former five-star Terry Beckner Jr. from injury. Marcell Frazier will give Missouri a reliable pass-rusher as well. Linebackers will need a major improvement from last year. They will also have to figure out how to replace their two starting cornerbacks from last season. The optimism on defense is bleak and will affect how they compete in the SEC this year.

The non-conference record should improve this year as their toughest opponents will be UConn and Purdue. The rest of the schedule is not as easy as they face Auburn and Arkansas from the SEC West. They will have to travel to Georgia, but have Florida and Tennessee at home. Missouri is a long time away from their back to back SEC East championships. I’m sure Missouri wishes they were playing against Big 12 competition this year.

 

 

 

 

 

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Alabama Football Preview

Alabama Crimson Tide

OFFENSE

Returning Starters: 6

Key Departures: QB Jake Coker (Cardinals), Derrick Henry (Titans), Kenyan Drake (Dolphins), Richard Mullaney (Texans), Ryan Kelly (Colts), Dominick Jackson (Lions)

Quarterback

For the third year in a row, Alabama has not announced their starting Quarterback going into the season. It has been an intense competition between Cooper Bateman, Blake Barnett, David Cornwell, and Jalen Hurts. The favorite going into the year has to be Cooper Bateman, last year’s backup. Nick Saban favors quarterbacks that do not turn the ball over and normally tends to go with the experienced quarterback.

Cooper bateman.png

If you base the decision on this trend, Bateman is the guy. This is Bateman’s best chance to win the starting job as a redshirt junior. He would have plenty of help around him as the lead guy to manage the Crimson Tide offense.

Barnett is an extremely talented guy with a good arm as well as mobility. He came to Alabama as a 5 star quarterback from California and was part of the competition last year. As a redshirt Freshman Barnett has to limit his turnovers if he wants to take the starting job. Barnett is the most likely to unseat Bateman as the starting quarterback.

The third returning player is David Cornwell. Cornwell has a very strong arm and was a highly touted recruit for Oklahoma. He is often forgotten about as a redshirt sophomore that has experienced falling in the depth chart. The talent is there it is just a question whether Cornwell will ever put it together at Alabama or if he will have to transfer somewhere else to see the field. Cornwell fell out of the competition after an injury in fall camp.

Newcomer: Jalen Hurts (Channelview, Texas) – Going into spring ball it looked as if Hurts was just a candidate for a redshirt year with no chance of playing. While a redshirt might be the case, Hurts made major strides in the spring and was one of the most impressive quarterbacks at A-Day.He is the most athletic of the quarterbacks and has a good arm as well. He even played scout team as Deshaun Watson before the National Championship game. Jalen Hurts has the look of a future starter and is a legit contender in this competition.

Jalen Hurts.png

It is going to be Saban’s decision on whether he goes with the most experienced guy in Bateman, or takes a chance on starting talented Barnett or Hurts as freshman. Don’t right off Hurts, he has a legitimate shot at the starting job.

Running Back

Most teams would struggle to replace a Heisman trophy winner, but Alabama has plenty of talented players to fill the void. This year Alabama should split the carries more than just relying on one workhorse running back. It starts with Bo Scarbrough, a talented redshirt sophomore from Tuscaloosa.

Bo Scarbrough.png

He is just as big of a running back as Derrick Henry at 6’2 240 pounds and has very good hands too. Scarbrough will get most of the carries in Alabama’s offense.

The second running back that will get carries in the offense is Damien Harris, the top running back recruit of 2015. He was the third running back last year behind Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake and ran well. With the extra year Harris should be a more experienced running back and be more productive. Another running back that could receive some carries is junior running back Derrick Gore. Gore is a walk on running back that has been a pleasant surprise during his time at Alabama.

Newcomers: B.J. Emmons (Morganton, NC) and Joshua Jacobs (Tulsa, OK) add quality depth right away. Jacobs was a late bloomer in high school and may not have a redshirt year due to the lack of running back depth. Emmons on the other hand was the top running back prospect in the 2016 class and will make a major impact right away.

Wide Receiver

Wide receiver is Alabama’s deepest and most talented position this year. It all starts with Calvin Ridley, the true sophomore and leading receiver for the Tide last year. Ridley will try to avoid a sophomore slump after his 1000 yard freshman season.

Calvin Ridley

Look for him to be the top target for whoever steps in at quarterback.

The most forgotten player in the Tide’s receiving core is junior Robert Foster. He started last year as the number one wide receiver until his season was cut short due to injury. A bounce back season could be in the works for Foster and I predict he will finish the year as Alabama’s second leading receiver. The second leading receiver last year was ArDarius Stewart and he will continue to try to have success in the offense. Stewart had a slower start last season, however his breakout Tennessee game with a career high 88 yards lead to a strong finish. He will be a reliable target this year.

Cam Sims, Raheem Falkins, and Derek Kief are three huge targets that will be rotational players for the Tide’s offense. All three of these players are at least 6’4 and have received limited playing time in the past. Look for Cam Sims to possibly be a breakout candidate this year. Xavian Marks is a small, shifty running back/wide receiver that Lane Kiffin will move all over the field.

Newcomers: The newcomer that will contribute the most this year is graduate transfer from Bowling Green, Gehrig Dieter. Dieter had a huge season last season with 94 catches, 10 touchdowns and over 1000 yards receiving.

Gehrig Dieter.png

He led Bowling Green in receptions and was second in TDs and receiving yards to current New York Giant Roger Lewis. Dieter should have a role in this year’s offense, however it is yet to be seen how big of a role that will be with so many talented receivers. T.J. Simmons (Pinson, AL) will probably have a redshirt year. Trevon Diggs, brother of Minnesota Vikings Stefon Diggs, is being worked at both receiver and safety. Alabama may keep him at safety because it will be the best chance for Diggs to see the field.

Tight End

This unit is obviously led by the top receiver in the National Championship, O.J. Howard. Howard has a rare combination of size and speed that has been underutilized by Alabama in the past.

OJ Howard.png

Howard’s goal for his senior season will to have more of a consistent impact on the offense and not just a few great games. After Howard in the depth chart is sophomore Hale Hentges. Hentges saw the field as a freshman and has the making of Alabama’s future starting tight end. He is not only a reliable receiver, but a good blocker as well. The two other senior tight ends, Dakota Ball and Brandon Greene, will be mainly blocking tight ends for Alabama’s goal line and multiple tight end packages.

Newcomers: Miller Forristall (Cartersville, GA) enrolled early in January and performed nicely in the A-Day game. Due to the tight end receiving depth, Forristall may not have a redshirt year. Irvin Smith (New Orleans, LA) is another tight end that probably needs a redshirt year to develop so he is ready to contribute when Howard goes to the NFL.

Offensive Line

Cam Robinson leads the group as a top NFL prospect for the 2016 season. Robinson will hold down the left tackle spot for the third straight year for the Crimson Tide.

Cam RObinson.png

At left guard it looks as though sophomore Lester Cotton will step in to a starting role for the first time this year. Cotton was a four-star recruit out of Tuscaloosa and is a rising star on the line. At center, the Tide will look to replace first round pick Ryan Kelly on the offensive line. Ross Pierschbacher started last year as a redshirt freshman at left guard and now is moving over to center. Pierschbacher was solid as freshman and will try to translate that success to the center position. Right guard is Alphonse Taylor’s job to lose after being in Nick Saban’s dog house because of a DUI. It is yet to be seen if he will be starting or if it will be Bradley Bozeman at the right guard position when the season opens in Dallas.

Newcomers: Jonah Williams (Folsom, CA) has been impressive since enrolling early in January and it looks like he will start the year at the right tackle position. Williams will most likely kick over to left tackle next year when Cam Robinson most likely bolts for the NFL. Chris Owens (Arlington, TX) and Deonte Brown (Decatur, AL) are both interior lineman that will most likely redshirt this year.

DEFENSE

Returning Starters: 6

Key Departures: Jarran Reed (Seahawks), A’Shawn Robinson (Lions), D.J. Pettway (Saints), Darren Lake (49ers), Dillon Lee (Saints), Denzel Devall, Reggie Ragland (Bills), Cyrus Jones (Patriots), Geno Matias-Smith (Redskins), Jabriel Washington (Rams)

 Defensive Line

After being a strength of the 2015 National Championship team, the defensive line is still a talented bunch in 2016. The Crimson Tide will not have the depth they had with last year’s team, but the starters Jonathan Allen, Da’Shawn Hand, Darron Payne and Dalvin Tomlinson are a solid unit.

Jonathan Allen.png

Jonathan Allen is a hybrid DE/DT that can win against offensive lineman in a variety of ways. The senior leads the line and will be a high draft pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. At the other defensive end spot is Da’Shawn Hand who was one of the top recruits of the 2014 class. Hand last year played in mostly just pass rush situations and finished the year with 3 sacks. This year Hand will look to be more of an every down type of player.

At defensive tackle Darron Payne will take on the torch passed down by Jarran Reed and A’Shawn Robinson.  He is athletically gifted and was named as one of Bruce Feldman’s top 20 freaks in college football. He was timed in the 40 at a 4.93 at 6’2 320 pounds. He also bench presses 500 pound.

Daron Payne.png

This incredible combination of size and strength will show on the football field this fall for his sophomore season. Another talented defensive lineman is senior Dalvin Tomlinson. He led the defensive line last year with 6 pass breakups and added tremendous depth. This year look for him to take advantage of more of a consistent starting role in the defense. Junior Joshua Frazier and sophomore O.J. Smith will look to add quality depth along the defensive line.

Newcomers: Raekwon Davis (Meridian, MS) is an absolute monster at 6’7 318 pounds. Davis could be an instant impact player on the defensive line and will add depth for the Tide. Jamar King is a JUCO player out of California that will add depth to the defensive line. The last defensive tackle from junior college that Alabama got was Jarran Reed.

Linebackers

Tim Williams leads the outside linebacker unit and could end up being the most disruptive player on the Alabama defense. He finished last year strong with 7 sacks in his last 6 games as just a pass rush specialist.

Tim Williams.png

This year, Williams will be more of an every down player as an Outside Linebacker/Defensive End combination. Ryan Anderson was a solid rotational player with 6 sacks last year and now will have a more prominent role with the defense. The senior will start as an outside linebacker.

The inside linebacker spot is loaded with talent with senior Reuben Foster and junior Shaun Dion Hamilton starting in the 3-4 defense.

Reuben Foster.png

Reuben Foster is more athletic than departed Reggie Ragland and could be a higher draft pick. He has dropped down to 225 pounds to be more explosive in Alabama’s defense. Hamilton had a few starts last year and will now try to be a main stay in the starting lineup.

Alabama has the most depth in the country when it comes to the linebacker position. Rashaan Evans can play both inside and outside linebacker. Last year he worked mainly as a pass rusher, but this offseason he has been working mainly with the inside linebackers. Look for him to be worked around on the linebacker core. Baseball/Football player Keith Holcombe will also look for more playing time in the 2016 season. He is a sophomore and should mainly contribute on special teams.

Newcomers: It all starts with Ben Davis (Gordo, AL) and Mack Wilson (Montgomery, AL), the two five star inside linebacker recruits for Alabama. Both could be early contributors on the defense and are future stars. The talent and depth at inside linebacker means they probably won’t start this year, but could be solid rotational players and special team contributors. Terrell Hall (Washington, D.C.) is an outside rush linebacker who has great size. He may not contribute right away, but at 6’5 247 pounds he could be a future potential edge rusher. Shawn Jennings (Dadeville, AL) is brothers with current Tide linebacker Anfernee Jennings. Shawn Jennings is a converted safety and is a probable redshirt candidate.

Cornerbacks

The Crimson Tide lost a great cornerback in Cyrus Jones, but Marlon Humphrey and Minkah Fitzpatrick were two young breakout players as freshman. Now as sophomores, Humphrey and Fitzpatrick look to lead the cornerback unit that is very young. Humphrey is slotted as an outside cornerback and could have a decision on whether to go pro or not as a redshirt sophomore.

Minkah Fitzpatrick.png

Fitzpatrick could be moved around on the defense, playing both the outside corner spot and the nickel “Star” position in Alabama’s defense. He is a versatile player that will be the key to the secondary. The two other returning corners that will compete for playing time is junior Anthony Averett and redshirt freshman Kendall Sheffield. Averett has a shot to beat out the newcomers for solid playing time this year. Kendall Sheffield is a former five star recruit that has all the athletic ability to be an eventual starter. However, he is still trying to become more natural at the position so he can use that athletic ability. He is probably still another year or two from being a starting corner.

Newcomers: It was a huge cornerback recruiting class as they had four commitments in the 2016 class. Shy Carter (Kentwood, LA) is the most likely to see early playing time as he has been a stand out performer in fall camp. Carter could take over as a starter this year and could be a future star. After Shy Carter is Jared Mayden (Sachse, TX), Aaron Robinson (Deerfield, FL), and Nigel Knott (Madison, MS). Mayden and Robinson have been mostly practicing with the second and third team defense and could see some playing time this year. Nigel Knott is recovering from an off season surgery and is a likely redshirt candidate.

Safety

Eddie Jackson leads the secondary after a 6 interception junior year season. He decided to come back for his senior season, turning down being a high round draft pick. Another great season would vault Jackson into being a first round pick. The question then turns to who will start opposite of Jackson.

Eddie Jackson.png

Junior Tony Brown is making the transition to safety, but could have to sit out the first few games due to a NCAA suspension. After Tony Brown the battle looks to be down to sophomore Ronnie Harrison and junior Hootie Jones. Both are bigger safeties at 6’2 220 pounds. Ronnie Harrison saw action his freshman year and finished the season with 2 interceptions and started one game against Texas A&M. He was also a key contributor on special teams and should continue this role. Hootie Jones was a highly ranked recruit that has not got as much playing time over the past few years as his ranking would indicate. He will look to change that this year after only seeing the field last year in blowouts. Hootie will probably have to wait until his senior year for the starting safety spot. Deionte Thompson redshirted last year as a freshman and will probably be a special teams contributor.

Newcomer: The Crimson Tide did not have a safety commit in 2016. They do however have receiver/safety Trevon Diggs that will probably play safety this year due to the Crimson Tide’s depth at wide receiver.

Special Team Starters

Kicker: Adam Griffith, Senior

Punter: JK Scott, Junior

Long Snapper: Cole Mazza, Senior

Bottom Line: The Crimson Tide again go into the season with questions at the quarterback position. The running back and wide receiver position are extremely talented to help the transition for Bateman, Barnett or Hurts. The quarterbacks key role will be to not turn the ball over and let the defense and skill position guys lead the football team. Interior offensive line is a bit of a concern with Ryan Kelly gone, but Alabama has been recruiting highly ranked offensive lineman for the past few years to help fill the void. The defense is very talented again going into the season at all levels. Secondary and Linebacker have great depth and talent, but the defensive line has some depth concerns. Regardless, this defense should be one of the top ranked in the nation.

It will need the talent to compete with the tough completion of USC, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas A&M and LSU. Alabama making it through the tough SEC schedule without a loss is going to be hard and they most likely slip up with one of those games. The most likely loss will come against away opponents Tennessee or LSU. The Tide has the talent however to still be SEC and National Championship contenders.

Prediction: 11-1 (1st SEC)

Pro Prospects: 

RB Bo Scarbrough*, WR Robert Foster*, WR Gehrig Dieter, TE O.J. Howard, OT Cam Robinson*, OG Alphonse Taylor, DE Jonathan Allen, DE Da’Shawn Hand*, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, OLB Tim Williams, OLB Ryan Anderson, ILB Reuben Foster, CB Marlon Humphrey*, S Eddie Jackson, LS Cole Mazza

Alabama Announcement Times

Here are the announcement times today for Alabama Targets. Stay tuned to draftfever.com for coverage. As well as rolltide.com to track when the Letter of Intents come in.

Alabama Targets NSD Announcement Times (All Times are Eastern)

S Nigel Warrior 8:00 AM

ATH Mecole Hardman 8:30 AM

WR A.J. Brown 9:00 AM

CB Shyheim Carter 9:00 AM

WR Mykel Jones 9:00 AM

DT Michail Carter 9:00 AM

DT Kobe Jones 9:00 AM

RB Joshua Jacobs 9:00 AM

CB Jared Mayden 9:15 AM

ILB Ben Davis 10:10 AM ESPNU

ILB Dontavious Jackson 10:45 AM ESPNU

WR Ahmmon Richards Noon ESPN U

OT Landon Dickerson 12:30 PM ESPNU

OLB Mack Wilson 2:05 PM ESPN 2

DE Terrell Hall 2:15 PM ESPNU

DT Derrick Brown 3:10 PM ESPN 2

TE Irvin Smith 3:15 PM

TE Devin Asiasi 3:20 PM ESPN 2

CB Jack Jones 4:30 PM Periscope

OLB Mique Juarez 5:00 PM

2 Decommit Day Before NSD

With Joshua Perry and Brendan Scales having grayshirt concerns, both recruits decided to decommit on Tuesday. Scales decided to switch his commitment to the Missouri Tigers and Perry’s final destination is still unknown. Losing Perry and Scales is not ideal, but they should have enough scholarships for commits on National Signing Day.

Joshua Perry

Joshua Perry

 Position Hometown Height Weight
S Amite, LA 6′ 3″ 184
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 64 S Scout Rank 53 S
Rivals Rank 48 S 24/7 Rank 46 S
Composite 53 S Star Rating 3 Star
Joshua Perry is a very aggressive tackler, but will need to add on weight for the role he is best in. He has the frame to put on size, but will have to continue to improve in coverage as well. This is a developmental commit who could find the field later in his career.

 

Brendan Scales

Brendan Scales

 Position Hometown Height Weight
TE  Wildwood, MO 6′ 4″ 235
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 18 TE Scout Rank 23 TE
Rivals Rank 24 TE 24/7 Rank 16 TE
Composite 20 TE Star Rating 3 Star
Scales is a great addition for a position of need for the Tide. While you shouldn’t expect the same type of athleticism as you see with OJ Howard, he is a decent athlete with strong hands. Look for Scales to be a good intermediate pass catcher for Alabama.

 

Bama gets Another Mississippi Product

Scott Lashley, an Offensive Tackle from West Point, Mississippi, is Alabama’s 18th commit. He was a Mississippi State lean for most of the recruiting period, but a late push by Mario Cristobal gave the Tide the gifted Offensive Tackle. He released a video of his commitment this afternoon:

Nigel Knott Commits to Alabama

On his birthday, Nigel Knott announced that he would be spending the next four years in Tuscaloosa. Alabama was able to pull the Germantown, Mississippi product away from Oregon, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State. He brings great speed to Tuscaloosa and  Nigel Knott committed with this video produced by Bleacher Report:

 

Alabama Signing Day Updates

It all comes down to this… it is National Signing Day for these uncommitted recruits. These are the top remaining recruits on Alabama’s board and the prediction on where they will be committing.. This page will be updated as they commit.

Alabama Targets By Ranking (All Decision Times are Eastern)

1. 

Derrick Brown

 Position Hometown Height Weight
DT  Sugar Hill, GA 6′ 4″ 322
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 9 Scout Rank 9
Rivals Rank 17 24/7 Rank 9
Composite 11 Star Rating 5 Star
Derrick Brown is a top defensive talent who will be choosing between Tennessee, Auburn and Alabama. Brown had an official visit to all three with Tennessee having the last shot at him. Georgia at one point was looked at as the favorite for Brown before he named his top three. There is not a strong favorite in the running, but I think Brown ends up picking Auburn.

COMMITMENT: Auburn was able to go into Georgia and get a great defensive lineman.

Decision Time- 3:10 PM

PREDICTION: AUBURN

COMMITTED: AUBURN

2.

ben davis 2

 Position Hometown Height Weight
ILB  Gordo, AL 6’4″ 235
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 24 Scout Rank 11
Rivals Rank 5 24/7 Rank 10
Composite 13 Star Rating 5 Star
Ben Davis’s recruitment will come down to Georgia, Auburn and Alabama. He is an Alabama legacy as his dad is Wayne Davis, the all-time leading tackler for Alabama. The hire of Kirby Smart helped the Dawgs out and Auburn still has a chance, but I don’t think it will be enough.

COMMITMENT: Davis decides to follow the Alabama legacy as his dad was the all time leading tackler for Alabama. A big major commitment from the Tide.

Decision Time- 10:10 AM

PREDICTION: ALABAMA

COMMITTED: ALABAMA

3.

Mique Juarez

 Position Hometown Height Weight
OLB Torrance, CA 6’2″ 226
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 30 Scout Rank 8
Rivals Rank 9 24/7 Rank 16
Composite 16 Star Rating 5 Star
Alabama has been trending big time for Mique Juarez. He took a visit on January 22nd and then right after Nick Saban made an in home visit to see him in California. This will be very close as UCLA has been the favorite and Ole Miss has an outside shot. I think he ends up staying in the state, but the Tide will make it close.

COMMITMENT: UCLA ended up keeping Juarez close to home keeping him away from Alabama and UCLA.

Decision Time- 5:00 PM

PREDICTION: UCLA

COMMITTED: UCLA

4.

jonathan kongbo

 Position Hometown Height Weight
DE  Surrey, B.C., CA 6’6″ 264
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 4 Scout Rank 5
Rivals Rank 5 Star 24/7 Rank 1
Composite 3 Star Rating 5 Star
Kongbo is the top uncommitted JUCO recruit out there and will be a huge piece to any recruiting class. After having some momentum early, Alabama chances have soured recently. It looks like this will come down to Tennessee, USC, Florida State, and Ole Miss. I think the late visit to USC helps, but Kongbo stays with his original Tennessee commitment.

COMMITMENT: The original Tennessee commit stuck with the Vols. USC made a late push, but Kongbo should play right away on the Vols defensive line.

PREDICTION: TENNESSEE

COMMITTED: TENNESSEE

5.

mecole hardman

 Position Hometown Height Weight
ATH Elberto, GA 5’11” 176
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 48 Scout Rank 16
Rivals Rank 11 24/7 Rank 13
Composite 22 Star Rating 5 Star
Mecole Hardman at one point was trending with the Tide near the end of his recruitment. However, a canceled official visit on January 22nd due to the winter weather. Hardman ended up making the trip to Athens instead and by all accounts had a great time. He will be choosing from seven schools (his mom will be making a cake for each one) including Ohio State, Florida, Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, Michigan and Tennessee. Look for it to be a two team race though between Bama and the Dawgs.

COMMITMENT: Not getting an official visit ended up hurting the Tide as Georgia won the battle for one of the best players in the country. Hardman should come into Georgia right away and compete for playing time.

Decision Time- 8:30 AM

PREDICTION: GEORGIA

COMMITTED: GEORGIA

6.

demetris robertson 2

 Position Hometown Height Weight
ATH Savannah, GA 6′ 1″ 180
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 62 Scout Rank 23
Rivals Rank 8 24/7 Rank 14
Composite 27 Star Rating 5 Star
There are reports out there that Demetris Robertson will not be signing on national signing day. He has scheduled a visit to Georgia after national signing day and there is no timetable for his commitment. He has a high priority on academics as he will have a final list of Cal, Stanford, Notre Dame, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Alabama. Alabama will try to reel in the former commit, but it will be tough to beat out Notre Dame.

PREDICTION: NOTRE DAME

7.

Mack Wilson

 Position Hometown Height Weight
OLB  Montgomery, AL 6′ 2″ 230
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 34 Scout Rank 46
Rivals Rank 26 24/7 Rank 15
Composite 30 Star Rating 5 Star
Lyndell “Mack” Wilson has highly publicized his recruitment and it is now down to two schools. Georgia and Alabama are the finalist even though Wilson had Florida as the leader throughout the process. Wilson canceled his official visit due to a miscommunication between Florida and his mother. Alabama is on a full court press for Wilson as they try to become the leader. The Kirby Smart hire helped Georgia, but I think Alabama keep Wilson in the state.

COMMITMENT: Shaun Dion Hamilton and Ben Davis were huge pieces in getting Mack Wilson to Tuscaloosa. It was a huge recruiting win getting Wilson to commit to Alabama.

Decision Time- 2:05 PM

PREDICTION: ALABAMA

COMMITTED: ALABAMA

8.

jeffery simmons

 Position Hometown Height Weight
DE  Macon, MS 6′ 4″ 270
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 84 Scout Rank 10
Rivals Rank 15 24/7 Rank 19
Composite 32 Star Rating 4 Star
Jeffery Simmons is a phenomenal defensive lineman who will be tough to pull out of the state of Mississippi. Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Tennessee and Alabama are the finalists for the defensive end. Alabama has a real shot to bring Simmons to Tuscaloosa, but I think he ends up staying in state.

COMMITMENT: Big surprise Mississippi State was able to beat out both Alabama and Ole Miss. He decided to stay in the state and will most likely play right away.

PREDICTION: OLE MISS

COMMITTED: MISSISSIPPI ST.

9.

Jack Jones

 Position Hometown Height Weight
CB  Long Beach, CA 5′ 11″ 164
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 96 Scout Rank 15
Rivals Rank 12 24/7 Rank 22
Composite 36 Star Rating 4 Star
Jack Jones is an exciting defensive back from California. Alabama has been trending with the smaller defensive back, but he is most likely to stay in California. His final three are Alabama, USC, and Texas A&M. However, it looks like he is going to be staying in state.

Decision Time- 4:30 PM

PREDICTION: USC

COMMITTED: USC

10.

aj brown

 Position Hometown Height Weight
WR  Starkville, MS 6′ 2″ 218
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 66 Scout Rank 45
Rivals Rank 53 24/7 Rank 38
Composite 51 Star Rating 4 Star
A.J. Brown is an incredibly talented wide receiver. However, the challenge again will be pulling a talented player out of the state of Mississippi. His finalist are Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, and Cal. I believe Alabama switches the luck it has had in Mississippi though with Brown.

COMMITMENT: A.J. Brown stays in the state of Mississippi. Ole Miss did a great job going into Starkville and pulling Brown out. Great addition for Ole Miss.

Decision Time- 9:00 AM

PREDICTION: ALABAMA

Committed:

11.

devin asiasi

 Position Hometown Height Weight
TE Concord, CA 6′ 4″ 265
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 44 Scout Rank 67
Rivals Rank 46 24/7 Rank 74
Composite 58 Star Rating 4 Star
Devin Asiasi is a talented tight end, as well as a good defensive end recruit as well. Michigan is heavily after him and he could very well end up going there. He had a good visit with Alabama, but I think he ends up staying in state. His final five are Alabama, Michigan, USC, UCLA, and Washington.

COMMITMENT: Unbelievable job by Coach Harbaugh to pull the top tight end in California out of the state. He is a huge get who could end up switching to the defensive line.

Decision Time- 3:20 PM

PREDICTION: USC

COMMITTED: MICHIGAN

12.

landon dickerson

 Position Hometown Height Weight
OT Hudson, NC 6′ 5″ 300
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 64 Scout Rank 76
Rivals Rank 43 24/7 Rank 31
Composite 54 Star Rating 4 Star
Dickerson’s recruitment really started looking like an Alabama lean after his January 22nd official visit. However, most of his recruitment Florida State was looked at as the favorite and it actually looks like they have some late momentum. It will be hard for Alabama to beat Florida State with the momentum they are going into National Signing Day . Tennessee is the dark horse in this race. His finalist are Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, and Florida.

COMMITMENT: Florida State adds more much needed offensive line help. The Seminoles were able to keep the momentum through out the process for Dickerson.

Decision Time- 12:30 PM

PREDICTION: FLORIDA STATE

COMMITTED: FLORIDA STATE

13.

Shyheim carter

 Position Hometown Height Weight
CB  Kentwood, LA 5′ 10″ 181
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 40 Scout Rank 98
Rivals Rank 114 24/7 Rank 71
Composite 81 Star Rating 4 Star
Shy Carter was an Alabama commit until he backed off of that commitment in August. Five months later Alabama is looked at as the heavy favorite for Carter. The one team that could spoil Alabama’s pursuit is Ole Miss. Carter has two infant daughters and says they are a major part in his recruitment. He has stated that he thinks Ole Miss treats his daughters the best. I still think Alabama pulls off the Shy Carter commitment regardless.

Decision Time- 9:00 AM

PREDICTION: ALABAMA

COMMITTED: ALABAMA

14.

Nigel Warrior

 Position Hometown Height Weight
S Suwanee, GA 6′ 0″ 188
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 157 Scout Rank 20
Rivals Rank 92 24/7 Rank 71
Composite 85 Star Rating 4 Star
Warrior is down to three schools with Tennessee, Alabama, and Auburn being the finalist. Tennessee is the major favorite as his dad, Dale Carter, was a first round pick. Alabama will make it close, but Tennessee should have the edge here with the Volunteer legacy.

COMMITMENT: No surprise here for the Tennessee legacy. A big get for the Vols.

 Decision Time- 8:00 AM

PREDICTION: TENNESSEE

COMMITTED: TENNESSEE

15.

Nigel Knott

 Position Hometown Height Weight
CB Madison, MS 5′ 11″ 174
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 36 Scout Rank 196
Rivals Rank 51 24/7 Rank 62
Composite 86 Star Rating 4 Star
Nigel Knott will be a battle between staying close to home or going to Oregon. Knott’s family wants Nigel to stay closer to home where it’d most likely be Ole Miss or Alabama. Nigel is publicly a big fan of Oregon, but I think the family wins out on this one. Look for Knott’s last official visit to Ole Miss clinch it for the Rebels. Mississippi State will be the dark horse in this recruiting battle.

Commitment: Alabama’s first cornerback commit is a big win, getting him away from the state of Mississippi. Knott has great speed and is a big part of the 2016 class.

PREDICTION: OLE MISS

COMMITTED: ALABAMA (2/01)

16.

terrell hall

 Position Hometown Height Weight
DE  Washington, D.C. 6′ 6″ 250
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 47 Scout Rank 267
Rivals Rank 20 24/7 Rank 64
Composite 100 Star Rating 4 Star
Terrell Hall was a late riser in the recruiting process, but is a monster up front. The one time Ohio State commit is down to Alabama, Florida State, Maryland, and Ole Miss. Florida State and Ole Miss are both pushing hard for Hall’s commitment while Maryland is trying to keep him in the hometown state. I believe Alabama has finished strong with Hall and will end up with his commitment. There was a bit of good luck as well where he had to stay an extra day on his official visit due to weather.

COMMITMENT: A great edge rusher with rare length Alabama is getting a great defensive end. They were able to beat out Florida State and Maryland.

Decision Time- 2:15 PM

PREDICTION: ALABAMA

COMMITTED: ALABAMA

17.

dontavious jackson

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
ILB  Houston, TX 6′ 2″ 248
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 123 SCOUT RANK 65
RIVALS RANK 168 24/7 RANK 89
COMPOSITE 111 STAR RATING 4 STAR
Dontavious Jackson is one of the top linebackers in Texas, but his recruitment has been from teams around the nation. Where Jackson will go is one of the tougher ones to figure out as Alabama, Florida State, and Texas are his final schools. Alabama has a very good shot at him, however I think he will end up staying in his home state.

Decision Time- 10:45 AM

PREDICTION: TEXAS

COMMITED:

18.

Michail carter

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
DT Jackson, GA 6′ 3″ 311
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 55 SCOUT RANK 178
RIVALS RANK 89 24/7 RANK 118
COMPOSITE 110 STAR RATING 4 STAR
Michail Carter has a decision between Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and Georgia Tech. Alabama got a mid week official visit from Carter, but Georgia will get the last chance at him. I don’t think Carter ends up leaving the state as Georgia gets another quality recruit.

COMMITMENT: Georgia ended up winning the tough battle against Alabama for the in-state target

Decision Time- 9:00 AM

PREDICTION: GEORGIA

COMMITTED: GEORGIA

19.

Keith gavin

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
WR  Crawfordville, FL 6′ 4″ 225
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 79 SCOUT RANK 171
RIVALS RANK 143 24/7 RANK 111
COMPOSITE 126 STAR RATING 4 STAR
Gavin is down to two schools, Florida State and Alabama. Florida State is the hometown team as Gavin lives just 30 minutes away from Tallahassee. However, Gavin and his family are pretty big fans of Alabama during this recruitment process. I think Alabama ends up being successful pulling Gavin out of Florida.

Commitment: Gavin ended up choosing Location and committed to the Seminoles.

PREDICTION: ALABAMA

COMMITTED: FLORIDA STATE (1/29)

20.

Jared Mayden

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
CB Sachse, TX 6′ 1″ 190
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 218 SCOUT RANK 56
RIVALS RANK 120 24/7 RANK 147
COMPOSITE 135 STAR RATING 4 STAR
Mayden decommitted from Oregon about three weeks ago and since then Alabama has been all over him. In the short time the Crimson Tide have been recruiting him, they have shot up to be a finalist for this cornerback recruit. His decision will be between Alabama and Oklahoma, where his dad was a basketball player. I think Alabama’s late surge is enough to land his commitment.

Commitment: Another big win for Alabama as Mayden decided to join Alabama instead of Oklahoma.

Decision Time- 9:15 AM

PREDICTION: ALABAMA

COMMITED: ALABAMA

21.

Tramonda Moore

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
OT  Oklahoma City, OK 6′ 5″ 350
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 87 SCOUT RANK 144
RIVALS RANK 200 24/7 RANK 109
COMPOSITE 135 STAR RATING 4 STAR
Tramonda Moore is a big offensive tackle who has Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Alabama and Miami on his list. Unfortunately, this is looking like an in-state battle for the very good offensive lineman. Look for Oklahoma to edge out Oklahoma State.

Commitment: In the battle of the in-state schools Oklahoma State won out.

PREDICTION: OKLAHOMA

COMMITTED: OKLAHOMA ST. (2/02)

22.

Jauan Williams

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
OT  WASHINGTON, D.C. 6′ 7″ 270
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 110 SCOUT RANK 27 OT
RIVALS RANK 146 24/7 RANK 165
COMPOSITE 180 STAR RATING 4 STAR
Alabama was trending with Jauan Williams, however near the end things have not looked as promising. Williams has Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Alabama as the finalist. It looks like the Seminoles will end up winning this recruiting battle.

COMMITMENT: Williams is a very good get at a position of need for Florida State. Florida State held off the late rush from other teams.

PREDICTION: FLORIDA STATE

COMMITTED: FLORIDA STATE

23.

ahmmon richards

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
WR  West Palm Beach, FL 6′ 2″ 180
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 212 SCOUT RANK 120
RIVALS RANK 62 WR 24/7 RANK 148
COMPOSITE 183 STAR RATING 4 STAR
Richards was a  Miami commitment until he backed off of it a few months ago. Right after the decommitment Alabama became the favorite. Miami has made a late surge with Auburn and Tennessee also in the running. It will be close, but I think he ends up going back to his Miami commitment.

COMMITMENT: After decommiting a few months ago, Alabama really looked like the destination. However, the hiring of Mark Richt was major for Miami keeping Richards.

Decision Time- Noon

PREDICTION: MIAMI

COMMITTED: MIAMI

24.

kobe jones

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
DT  Starkville, MS 6′ 4″ 270
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 178 SCOUT RANK 199
RIVALS RANK 48 DT 24/7 RANK 276
COMPOSITE 226 STAR RATING 4 STAR
Kobe Jones is a quality defensive lineman who has been very busy with official visits. Ultimately it will come down to Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama. Look for Kobe Jones to stay in the state.

COMMITMENT: Jones was too tough to get out of Starkville as he committed to the hometown team.

Decision Time- 9:00 AM

PREDICTION: MISSISSIPPI ST.

COMMITTED: MISSISSIPPI ST.

25.

mykel jones

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
WR  Patterson, LA 6′ 0″ 185
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 271 SCOUT RANK 45 WR
RIVALS RANK 94 24/7 RANK 240
COMPOSITE 226 STAR RATING 4 STAR
Jones is down to the three schools of Alabama, Tennessee and Ole Miss. He has taken official visits to all three, but it looks like it will come down between Ole Miss and Alabama. Mykel Jones could very well choose Alabama as he went to the same college as Daylon Charlot (Freshman WR for Alabama). However, I think Ole Miss has the slight edge.

Commitment: A major upset for Oklahoma as it was considered an Alabama and Ole Miss battle.

Decision Time- 9:00 AM

PREDICTION: OLE MISS

COMMITTED: OKLAHOMA

26.

scott lashley

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
OT  West Point, MS 6′ 7″ 295
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 140 SCOUT RANK 215
RIVALS RANK 27 OT 24/7 RANK 192
COMPOSITE 212 STAR RATING 4 STAR
Alabama is trending for Lashley and they may end up stealing the Mississippi product. However, it will be tough to pull him away from Mississippi State. I think when it is all said and done he ends up a Bulldog.

Commitment: Alabama gains a much needed offensive tackle for depth.  Lashley has a high ceiling and has the ability to be developed into the next starting tackle. Another big win for Alabama, getting another recruit from the state of Mississippi.

PREDICTION: MISSISSIPPI ST.

COMMITTED: ALABAMA (2/02)

27.

jacob mathis

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
TE  Tampa, FL 6′ 6″ 225
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 256 SCOUT RANK 203
RIVALS RANK 30 TE 24/7 RANK 13 TE
COMPOSITE 252 STAR RATING 4 STAR
Alabama already has two tight end commits in this class so it is unclear if they have enough scholarships to bring in another tight end. However, they would make room for Mathis. His final list includes Michigan, Alabama, Florida and Ole Miss. He will probably stay in Florida, with Ole Miss challenging for the commitment.

COMMITMENT: Ole Miss got a huge addition with Mathis as they beat out Florida for the great tight end.

Prediction: FLORIDA

COMMITTED:

28.

keyshawn young

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
WR  Miami, FL 5′ 11″ 163
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 214 SCOUT RANK 63 WR
RIVALS RANK 65 WR 24/7 RANK 67 WR
COMPOSITE 279 STAR RATING 3 STAR
Alabama is on the list for Keyshawn Young, but is not considered one of the favorites. The favorites include Michigan, USC, and Louisville. Look for Michigan to land the Miami product.

COMMITMENT: Keyshawn Young aka “Pie” announced that he will be attending USC. USC made a great push to beat out Michigan for this wide receiver.

Decision Time- 1:00 PM

PREDICTION: MICHIGAN

COMMITTED: USC

29.

Nick Eubanks

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
TE  Plantation, FL 6′ 5″ 215
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 256 SCOUT RANK 29 TE
RIVALS RANK 9 TE 24/7 RANK 15 TE
COMPOSITE 289 STAR RATING 3 STAR
Michigan had a major need for tight end which was satisfied by the commitment of Nick Eubanks. Nick Eubanks committed to Michigan over Alabama and Florida on 1/28/16.

PREDICTION: FLORIDA

COMMITTED: MICHIGAN (1/28)

30.

jamar king

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
DT  Ukiah, CA 6′ 5″ 285
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK N/A SCOUT RANK N/A
RIVALS RANK N/A 24/7 RANK 56
COMPOSITE N/A STAR RATING 3 STAR
Jamar King is a JUCO transfer who was a late find in the recruitment world. Don’t let the 3 star rating fool you, he is a very talented defensive lineman. It will be a close competition between Alabama and Ohio State down the stretch. Look for Alabama to pull this one out.

COMMITMENT: Alabama was looked as the leader. Alabama held off Ohio State for this JUCO sleeper.

PREDICTION: ALABAMA

COMMITTED: ALABAMA

 

Alabama Commits

ALABAMA COMMITS (By Ranking)

1.

ben davis 2

 Position Hometown Height Weight
ILB  Gordo, AL 6’4″ 235
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 24 Scout Rank 11
Rivals Rank 5 24/7 Rank 10
Composite 13 Star Rating 5 Star
COMING SOON

2. 

Charles Baldwin

Charles Baldwin

 Position Hometown Height Weight
OT  Windsor, CT 6′ 5″ 305
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 1 Scout Rank 3
Rivals Rank 5 Star 24/7 Rank 2
Composite 2 Star Rating 5 Star
Charles Baldwin is considered one of the top Junior College recruits in the nation and is an early enrollee. He has excellent raw physical tools to be a top college football offensive lineman. Getting in to Tuscaloosa early, Baldwin has a chance to step in right away and take over the right tackle job. This is one of the biggest gets of Alabama’s class.

3.

Mack Wilson

 Position Hometown Height Weight
OLB  Montgomery, AL 6′ 2″ 230
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 34 Scout Rank 46
Rivals Rank 26 24/7 Rank 15
Composite 30 Star Rating 5 Star
COMING SOON

4.

Jonah Williams

 Position Hometown Height Weight
OT  Folsom, CA 6′ 5″ 280
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 25 Scout Rank 58
Rivals Rank 24 24/7 Rank 17
Composite 31 Star Rating 5 Star
Jonah Williams is also a highly rated early enrollee that will have the benefit of spring football. He has very good athleticism and size for a tackle. Williams will have to continue to develop technically, but plays with a solid base in pass and run protection. He will try to compete for a starting role, however I think he will most likely be groomed for a tackle position when Cam Robinson leaves.

5.

B.J. Emmons

 Position Hometown Height Weight
RB  Morganton, NC 5′ 11″ 220
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 33 Scout Rank 40
Rivals Rank 33 24/7 Rank 35
Composite 35 Star Rating 4 Star
Ranked by many as the top running back in the nation, Bama adds quality depth for next season with B.J. Emmons. Emmons has the ability to contribute right away with his college ready size. He will still have to improve as a receiving back, but has the speed and strength to run between the tackles. Next year the Tide should roll with the three young running backs of Scarbrough, Harris and Emmons.

6.

Kendall Jones

 Position Hometown Height Weight
DT  Killeen, TX 6′ 5″ 361
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 133 Scout Rank 14
Rivals Rank 23 DT 24/7 Rank 93
Composite 80 Star Rating 4 Star
Kendall “The Hulk” Jones is a massive human being that could develop into a great defensive tackle. Even though he is big, he has surprisingly good movement skills. He has a really good power rush and he is stout in the run game as well. Look for him to be a clog in the middle for future Alabama defenses.

7.

Shyheim carter

 Position Hometown Height Weight
CB  Kentwood, LA 5′ 10″ 181
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 40 Scout Rank 98
Rivals Rank 114 24/7 Rank 71
Composite 81 Star Rating 4 Star
COMING SOON

COMMITTED: ALABAMA

8.

Nigel Knott

 Position Hometown Height Weight
CB Madison, MS 5′ 11″ 174
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 36 Scout Rank 196
Rivals Rank 51 24/7 Rank 62
Composite 86 Star Rating 4 Star
Nigel Knott is Alabama’s first cornerback commit and a great addition. Knott has great speed and ball hawk ability to contribute to the Tide. He does only have a slight build on him now where he will have to put on weight before seeing the field. Knott could have a specialized role next year and down the road he should develop into a starting cornerback.

9.

terrell hall

 Position Hometown Height Weight
DE  Washington, D.C. 6′ 6″ 250
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 47 Scout Rank 267
Rivals Rank 20 24/7 Rank 64
Composite 100 Star Rating 4 Star
COMING SOON

10.

Raekwon Davis

Raekwon Davis

 Position Hometown Height Weight
DT  Killeen, TX 6′ 7″ 318
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 150 Scout Rank 110
Rivals Rank 88 24/7 Rank 83
Composite 108 Star Rating 4 Star
After a few weeks of wavering on his commitment to Alabama and mulling a flip to Mississippi State, Davis announced he is sticking with the Crimson Tide. Davis has phenomenal size and strength as he gives Alabama depth along the defensive line. He will need to develop better as a pass rusher, but is stout against the run as he uses his strength to anchor. Davis has a chance to play early, but my the end of his career he should be a regular along the defensive line.

11.

Trevon Diggs

Trevon Diggs

 Position Hometown Height Weight
WR  Rockville, MD 6′ 2″ 182
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 125 Scout Rank 115
Rivals Rank 135 24/7 Rank 113
Composite 122 Star Rating 4 Star
Trevon Diggs is a top rated wide receiver that will help the Tide’s depth. He is the brother of Stefon Diggs who is a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings. Diggs is also versatile enough to play corner or safety.  He has excellent length and speed to be a special defensive back as well. Diggs should develop into a nice wide receiving threat down the road or a very good defensive back.

12.

Jared Mayden

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
CB Sachse, TX 6′ 1″ 190
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 218 SCOUT RANK 56
RIVALS RANK 120 24/7 RANK 147
COMPOSITE 135 STAR RATING 4 STAR
COMING SOON

COMMITED: ALABAMA

13.

Deonte Brown

deonte brown

 Position Hometown Height Weight
OG  Decatur, AL 6′ 3″ 340
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 126 Scout Rank 102
Rivals Rank 28 OG 24/7 Rank 176
Composite 135 Star Rating 4 Star
Deonte Brown is a massive Offensive Guard that carries his weight well. He could develop into a nice interior offensive lineman for the Tide down the line after Alphonse Taylor graduates.

14.

Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts 2

 Position Hometown Height Weight
QB  Channelview, TX 6′ 2″ 208
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 13 QB Scout Rank 154
Rivals Rank 231 24/7 Rank 177
Composite 187 Star Rating 4 Star
Hurts is a talented dual-threat quarterback for this class who could develop into a starter late in his career. He has a bit of development to do coming from a simple high school offense. However, he shows good arm stength and build to eventually become a good quarterback. Hurts is also an early enrollee.

15.

Chris Owens

chris ownes

 Position Hometown Height Weight
OG  Arlington, TX 6′ 3″ 312
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 76 Scout Rank 170
Rivals Rank 25 OG 24/7 Rank 178
Composite 141 Star Rating 4 Star
Chris Owens is another nationally ranked offensive guard that is very mobile. He has a great combination of power and athletic ability where he will be able to compete for playing time down the road.

16.

Quinnen Williams

Quinnen Williams

 Position Hometown Height Weight
DE  Birmingham, AL 6′ 4″ 260
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 236 Scout Rank 198
Rivals Rank 106 24/7 Rank 159
Composite 175 Star Rating 4 Star
Quinnen Williams fits the Alabama system perfectly as a tweener between being a defensive end and defensive tackle. He’s not much of a pass rusher, but he wins with strength. Look for him to be a defensive end in Alabama’s 3-4 defense.

17.

scott lashley

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
OT  West Point, MS 6′ 7″ 295
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK 140 SCOUT RANK 215
RIVALS RANK 27 OT 24/7 RANK 192
COMPOSITE 212 STAR RATING 4 STAR
Alabama gains a much needed offensive tackle for depth.  Lashley has a high ceiling and has the ability to be developed into the next starting tackle. He has a big body that will continue to develop and raw pass protection ability. It was a huge win for Alabama, getting another recruit from the state of Mississippi.

18.

Aaron Robinson

aaron robinson.JPG

 Position Hometown Height Weight
CB Deerfield Beach, FL 6′ 1″ 175
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 294 Scout Rank 51 CB
Rivals Rank N/A 24/7 Rank 41 CB
Composite  37 CB Star Rating 3 Star
Aaron Robinson is a long cornerback who will need to gain weight in the weight room. He can play both wide receiver and cornerback as he is a very good athlete at this stage. It will be a few years down the road before he sees the football field, but look for him to add solid depth at both positions.

19.

Miller Forristall

Miller Forristall 2

 Position Hometown Height Weight
TE Cartersville, GA 6′ 6″ 210
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 27 TE Scout Rank 11 TE
Rivals Rank 21 TE 24/7 Rank 17 TE
Composite 19 TE Star Rating 3 Star
Forristall will have to fill out more before he will be able to make an impact. He is a very tall, skinny tight end that demonstrates great ball skills. Forristall also demostrates above average speed. With his height, he should be able to put on solid weight with the program. He will get an early start as he is an early enrollee.

20.

Irvin Smith

Irvin Smith.JPG

 Position Hometown Height Weight
TE New Orleans, LA 6′ 4″ 230
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 15 TE Scout Rank 42 TE
Rivals Rank 15 TE 24/7 Rank 23 TE
Composite 24 TE Star Rating 3 Star
COMING SOON!

21.

T.J. Simmons

TJ Simmons

 Position Hometown Height Weight
WR  Pinson, AL 6′ 2″ 189
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 108 WR Scout Rank 108 WR
Rivals Rank 57 WR 24/7 Rank 80 WR
Composite 88 WR Star Rating 3 Star
Simmons is a taller wide receiver that has just average speed. He does have great hands and is a very good route runner. Simmons will have an opportunity to build up strength early as he is an early enrollee.

22.

Shawn Jennings

Shawn Jennings

 Position Hometown Height Weight
S  Dadeville, AL 6′ 1″ 215
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 43 S Scout Rank 48 S
Rivals Rank 40 S 24/7 Rank 38 ATH
Composite 44 S Star Rating 3 Star
Shawn Jennings is an early enrollee that has good size and decent speed. Jennings is a very good tackler, but will have to continue to develop before he sees the field. He has the versatility to play both free and strong safety.

23.

Joshua Jacobs

Joshua Jacobs

 Position Hometown Height Weight
RB Tulsa, OK 5′ 10″ 200
Recruiting Rankings
ESPN Rank 36 RB Scout Rank 32 RB
Rivals Rank N/A 24/7 Rank 11 RB
Composite 26 RB Star Rating 3 Star
Ignore the 3 star rating, Jacobs is a very good running back that can help with the depth. He was a late bloomer in recruiting and could end up being a great steal for Alabama. Jacobs runs with a great base and makes very quick cuts. He could be the only running back based on if B.J. Emmons can become eligible.

24.

jamar king

 POSITION HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
DT  Ukiah, CA 6′ 5″ 285
RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN RANK N/A SCOUT RANK N/A
RIVALS RANK N/A 24/7 RANK 56
COMPOSITE N/A STAR RATING 3 STAR
Jamar King is a JUCO transfer who was a late find in the recruitment world. Don’t let the 3 star rating fool you, he is a very talented defensive lineman with great size and power. King adds depth right away.