Alabama looks to sign top class



 

With National Signing Day finally here, Alabama looks to reel in yet another No. 1 recruiting class.

Twenty-five high school players have committed to the Crimson Tide, with eight early enrollees already on campus in Tuscaloosa. This year’s class is all but complete, but coach Nick Saban and company could see an additional student athlete or two pledge to play for the Crimson Tide on Wednesday.

Alabama’s top target on Signing Day can be found within state lines.

Rashaan Evans is the No. 1 outside linebacker in the 2014 recruiting class and No. 2 overall prospect in the state of Alabama, according to 247Sports.com.

Evans has narrowed his choices down to three schools: Alabama, Auburn and UCLA. Things are looking to come down to the wire between the Crimson Tide and the Tigers.

“I think it’s really close,” Andrew Bone, recruiting expert for TideSports.com, said. “I don’t think he’s a lock to Auburn. I think Alabama is certainly in the mix for him, and he could surprise many on Signing Day and commit to Alabama.”

Evans is from Auburn, and both of his parents went to school there, but Alabama has placed Evans as one of its top priorities ahead of Signing Day.

“It’s certainly going to be hard for him to turn down Auburn with him being a local star and the family legacy for the Tigers,” Bone said. “But I definitely think that Alabama has a real good shot at him.”

(See also "Breaking the Mold: Freshman running back Derrick Henry brings size, talent to Alabama's offense")

The Crimson Tide received its 26th commitment from junior college tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith late Monday night, essentially eliminating itself from landing a multitude of commitments on Signing Day. However, Alabama is still considered a long shot for a couple of prospects.

Malachi Dupre is the No. 2 wide receiver and No. 17 overall player in the country, as well as the No. 4 prospect in the state of Louisiana.

Alabama has had success in Louisiana this recruiting season with four commitments from players from the Bayou State, but that success may come to a halt Wednesday with Dupre. The Crimson Tide is thought to be a long shot, since Dupre is still considering Alabama, Florida State, LSU and UCLA.

“Dupre was long considered an LSU lock, but he’s open to leaving, and those close to him say he had great visits to Tuscaloosa, Tallahassee and Los Angeles,” Charles Power, recruiting expert for 247Sports.com, said.

(See also "Quarterback Jacob Coker signs with Alabama")

The nation’s No. 3 weak-side defensive end, Chad Thomas, is currently committed to Miami, but that could potentially change Wednesday.

Thomas is a Miami native, but he recently took an official visit to Alabama. However, Bone said things are still up in the air and fans should not count on Thomas to flip his commitment to the Crimson Tide.

“I think one of the things is that his mom did not come on the trip with him. He just came on the visit by himself,” Bone said. “But he said after the trip that it was the best visit that he’s ever been on.”

Alabama has solid verbal pledges from most of its 25 commitments, but some players may still look to go elsewhere.

Tuesday, three-star safety Chris Williams flipped his commitment from Alabama to Central Florida. Williams visited UCF this past weekend before changing his mind.

Three-star defensive tackle O.J. Smith will reportedly not sign a letter of intent Wednesday because he did not meet academic requirements. It was also reported that Smith was offered a grayshirt by Alabama, but he was not fond of the offer, Bone said.

There will be some player movement for Alabama, but for the most part, it will be a relatively quiet Signing Day for Saban. With much of this year’s class solidly committed to the Crimson Tide, he and his coaching staff will sit back and hope for a few surprises.

“We could see Alabama land a few more prospects, but for the most part the class is set, and barring a surprise, will be No. 1 come Wednesday," Power said.

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