Have Alabama football recruiting questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the SEC Country Alabama recruiting mailbag to discuss Crimson Tide recruiting.
This week, we discuss Alabama’s chances of flipping Ohio State quarterback commit Emory Jones, chances the Tide will finish with a top 5 recruiting class and put to bed the notion of the team “struggling” to recruit this year.
Let’s get to your questions.
Do you think Emory Jones sticks with Ohio State?
Emory Jones’ recruitment isn’t over by any means, although the Buckeyes quarterback commit says he’s 100 percent locked in with his commitment. I don’t think he is. Jones took a secret visit to Tuscaloosa last month to throw for the Tide staff and get face time with them. He initially denied being at Alabama, only to admit he was there a few days later.
Why would a player lie about visiting a school if he truly were 100 percent committed to his school of choice? After all, committed players visit other schools all the time.
Alabama has a chance to flip Jones from his commitment, but as of writing this on Aug. 30, my guess is he sticks with his commitment to Ohio State. The Tide will make this interesting though.
Do you think Alabama will have at least a top 5 class in 2018?
Let’s do some math here, using my most up-to-date projections and the 247Sports class calculator. If you missed them, here is who I project Alabama will sign on offense and defense.
If the Tide sign every player in those projections, they will have a score of 303.67 when using the 247Sports class calculator. If this were 2017, that score would have given Alabama the nation’s No. 3 class behind, well, the Crimson Tide’s 323.87 score and Ohio State’s 312.14 score.
Now, it’s not likely that my predictions will be perfectly accurate. Since doing that projection piece, 4-star running back Asa Martin committed to Auburn over Alabama. I don’t think his recruitment is over, though.
But, yes, when National Signing Day is over, I do believe Alabama will have a top-5 class.
Do you think Alabama is struggling to recruit this year?
Not at all. I know why some fans think that’s the case when you just look at the surface level.
Alabama is currently ranked 28th in the nation and has the 10th best recruiting class in the SEC, but the Crimson Tide are not struggling. Sure, they’ve missed on some top targets, such as Martin, along with 5-star running back Zamir White, 3-star tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson and a few others. But, the majority of the team’s targets are uncommitted.
Updates on the wide receiver group?
We’re still working with the same group of receiver targets: Justyn Ross, Seth Williams, Jaylen Waddle, Justin Watkins and current Tide commit Xavier Williams.
Ross is Alabama’s top outside wide receiver target. Most people believe his recruitment will come down to Alabama and Auburn, but Clemson is a big threat, too. His mother is an Alabama fan, and the team has done a good job at developing a relationship with her. He holds his recruitment tight to the vest, and it’s hard to get anything substantial out of him in interviews.
Waddle is Alabama’s top slot receiver target. Waddle, from Bellaire, Texas, has visited Tuscaloosa twice in the past few months. One source told SEC Country that Waddle’s family has warmed up to the idea of him playing for the Tide. Florida State and Texas A&M are big threats.
Watkins recently told SEC Country that he’s down to Alabama, Florida and LSU. Watkins is being recruited as a slot receiver, which is where Waddle is pegged. Waddle is the top slot target in the 2018 class, so if he ends up choosing the Tide, there won’t be space for Watkins. Waddle’s recruitment is shaping up to be an Alabama, Florida State and Texas battle, so if he chooses either of the latter two, Watkins would take his spot in my projections.
Williams seems to be leaning toward Auburn. He lives in Cottondale, Ala., which is a suburb of Tuscaloosa. It just seems like he wants to play somewhere other than in his backyard.
What percentage chance would you give Alabama to land Harold Joiner, and do you think the staff wants him more so than Asa Martin?
I think there’s about a 35 percent chance Alabama lands Harold Joiner. I’m going that low because I believe he thinks the LSU and Michigan State depth charts at running back are more favorable than Alabama’s. Early playing time is what’s most important to Joiner, and I think those two schools, which he considers his co-leaders, present the best chance to play immediately.
As for the second part of your question, I think Alabama wants Joiner more so than Martin. I actually had one person close to the program say Joiner has more upside and ability than Martin. Joiner is one of the most special athletes in this 2018 class.
Do you think Trey Sanders will stay committed to Alabama?
Sanders is a 2019 running back commit, so it’s hard to say whether a player will remain committed to any school for more than two years. He’s given no indication on wanting to back off his commitment to Alabama, so I think he’ll stay with the Tide.
Have a question about Alabama recruiting? Tweet me @ChrisKirschner, and we’ll try to answer it in a future mailbag.