Saban and his staff have absolutely dominated the recruiting paths since he first arrived to Alabama in 2007, and they are once again atop the rankings according to all four of the major recruiting services, and they still have some big name prospects they are going after.
The Tide currently has 27 commitments toward their 2012 recruiting class, and they have their eyes on a few more to solidify their hold on the top-ranked class in college football. Of their 27 commitments, 12 of them were ranked in the final ESPNU 150. Here is a rundown of those players:
#6 Landon Collins (S/Geismar, LA)
#11 Eddie Williams (ATH/Panama City, FL)
#20 Cyrus Jones (ATH/Baltimore, MD)
#22 Chris Black (WR/Jacksonville, FL)
#30 Brandon Greene (OT/Ellenwood, GA)
#31 Geno Smith (DB/Atlanta, GA)
#49 Amari Cooper (WR/Miami, FL)
#55 T.J. Yeldon (RB/Dapne, AL)
#59 Dillon Lee (OLB/Buford, GA)
#93 Ryan Anderson (OLB/Daphne, AL)
#109 Reggie Ragland (ILB/Madison, AL)
#121 Tyler Hayes (OLB/Thomasville, AL)
Not surprisingly, Alabama’s 12 ESPNU 150 commitments are the most of any team. Florida State is the closest to that number with 10. Even with a great recruiting class already rounded up by the Crimson Tide, they aren’t done yet. Here is a few guys that Saban and company are still going after with just a little over a week left until National Signing Day on February 1st.
Dorial Green-Beckham (WR/Springfield, MO): #3 ESPNU, #1 Rivals, #1 Scout
The 6’6” 220 pound receiver out of Springfield, Missouri is considered by most to be the #1 prospect in the nation for 2012. Alabama fans are quick to point out comparisons to former star wideout Julio Jones, and they aren’t off base at all. Green-Beckham is a taller version of the Alabama great.
The five-star wide receiver is reportedly down to five schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. The majority of experts believe that Alabama is behind in the chase for his signature, and I tend to agree.
I would expect Green-Beckham to end up at a school like Arkansas or Oklahoma that throws the ball a lot more, but nobody really has any idea what Green-Beckham will do on National Signing Day.
Eddie Goldman (DT/Washington, DC): #10 ESPNU, #7 Rivals, #31 Scout
The 6’4” 307 Goldman is one of the nation’s top defensive tackles, and undecided recruits. He is down to six schools according to rivals: Alabama, Auburn, California, Clemson, Florida State, Miami. I also wouldn’t count out Maryland in the chase for the DC prospect with Mike Locksley now on staff.
As for the Crimson Tide, they have seemed to be in good position to get Goldman’s signature for quite some time, but the chief recruiter for his services was Sal Sunseri. With Sunseri now moved on to be the defensive coordinator at Tennessee, I’m not really sure where Alabama lands with the 5-star defensive tackle.
Obviously, Goldman would be a huge pull for Alabama, and he could see some immediate playing time on the interior of the defensive line. Josh Chapman and Nick Gentry graduated, so the Crimson Tide needs help at defensive tackle.
I still think the Crimson Tide have a really good shot at getting Goldman’s signature, and it would be a big get for Saban.
Jameis Winston (QB/Hueytown, AL): #14 ESPNU, #10 Rivals, #41 Scout
Winston is considered by ESPNU and Rivals to be the nation’s #1 ranked quarterback, and the #2 in the nation by Scout. He is currently committed to Florida State, and has been since August, but he has said he is still considering both Alabama and LSU.
Recently, new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, new linebackers coach Lance Thompson, and assistant Jeremy Pruit visited Winston when he was at a baseball workout for the San Diego Padres.
According to TideSports, Winston is currently 100% committed to baseball. He would like to play both sports in college, and obviously Alabama, Florida State, and LSU are going to allow him to do that. But, if he is selected in the first round of the MLB Draft he will not be going to college. Anywhere after that, and he plans on sitting down with his family to discuss it.
Most projections I have seen do not have Winston going in the first round, but he will certainly be selected somewhere pretty early in the 2012 Draft, so even if he does flip to Alabama on signing day, he could still very well end up playing minor league baseball instead.
He would be another huge get for the Tide, but his signature is not essential to this class with current quarterback A.J. McCarron heading into his junior season in 2012.
Arik Armstead (OT/Elk Grove, CA): #24 ESPNU, #61 Rivals, #2 Scout
Alabama is not among the final five on Armstead’s list of Auburn, Cal, Notre Dame, Oregon, and USC. Armstead did, however, take an official visit to Alabama back in November. Also, Nick Saban is planning an in-home visit with Armstead to try and sway him toward Tuscaloosa.
Armstead will either play offensive tackle or defensive end in college. His brother Armond is looking to transfer from USC, and the talk is that they will end up at the same school so they can play together. I’ve heard no talk of Alabama taking in Armond as well, so I would say it is a longshot that Arik Armstead ends up with Alabama.
Kwon Alexander (OLB/Oxford, AL): #29 ESPNU, NR Rivals, #52 Scout
Alexander was once highly rated on rivals as well, but he tore his ACL during his senior season at Oxford High School, and he was bumped down because of it. The talent is still there, and he has offers from most programs. His final three according to rivals is Alabama, Auburn, and LSU.
Alexander seemed to be a lock for Alabama a few months back, but now it’s not so sure. Alabama has a pretty deep class of linebackers already, so it might be tough to get him to Tuscaloosa.
Alabama currently has five linebackers committed to the 2012 class. If I had to make an educated guess, I would say Alexander stays in state, but signs with rival Auburn instead.
Korren Kirven (DT/Lynchburg, Virginia): #100 ESPNU, #206 Rivals, #218 Scout
The 6’4” 272 pound defensive tackle would be a solid consolation prize for Alabama if they are unable to sign Eddie Goldman. Kirven’s final five are: Alabama, Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech.
Kirven is the 16th ranked defensive tackle in this class according to rivals, and recently took an official visit to Tuscaloosa, which he described as “great”. Kirven has one more official visit left and that is to Virginia Tech.
Of his final five, I see it coming down to Alabama, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech.
While it would be nice to add a couple of these guys on signing day, regardless of what happens Alabama has pieced together another excellent recruiting class.
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