The Rising Tide: Get to know Alabama’s 2020 recruiting class

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The Rising Tide: Get to know Alabama’s 2020 recruiting class

UA Athletics

UA Athletics

UA Athletics

Joey Blackwell, Staff Reporter

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Editor’s Note: This page will be updated as needed for the remainder of the 2020 recruiting cycle.

The gears of the 2020 recruiting cycle have been turning for several months, and so far it has been business as usual for Alabama football. With less than three months until the early signing period, the Crimson Tide’s class ranks No. 1 in the SEC and trails only Clemson in the nationwide rankings, according to 247Sports.

The team has done well to fill spots that may be vacated by graduating seniors and NFL draft hopefuls, but it could still look to bolster a few positions in the coming months. 

With the team’s top three wide receivers and up to four projected starters in the secondary looking like they may leave after 2019, both top-end talent and depth could be focal points. The linebacker depth leaves a bit to be desired, too.

Alabama currently has three wide receiver commits for 2020 along with three linebackers and five defensive backs. 

The team added quarterback Bryce Young to its haul on Sept. 22, bringing its total to 23 players in the class of 2020. Check out the list below to get to know all 23 (rankings and scouting reports from 247Sports): 

 

Will Anderson (WDE, 6-3, 233; Hampton, Georgia)

Rankings: 98 nationally, 6 at position, 10 in state

A four-star defensive end, Anderson has the build of a linebacker. However, don’t let his size distract you from his intuitive pass-rusher instincts. He shows versatile first-step quickness and was compared by 247Sports to former Alabama linebacker Tim Williams, who totaled 30 sacks in his college career. Sanders has committed to Alabama over Georgia Tech and Auburn.

 

Javon Baker (WR, 6-1, 190; Powder Springs, Georgia)

Rankings: 124 nationally, 25 at position, 14 in state

Baker was one of three Alabama commits invited to compete at The Opening Finals over the summer. Baker has said in recent interviews that Alabama’s extensive coaching turnover hasn’t shaken his confidence in his commitment. He is one of three wide receiver prospects in the class who could eventually have to replace the production of one of college football’s finest receiving corps.

 

Brian Branch (S, 6-0, 182; Tyrone, Georgia)

Rankings: 108 nationally, 7 at position, 11 in state

Primarily a safety, Branch has been used throughout his high school career as a utility player on both offense and defense. His time playing wide receiver has helped his ball skills and his elusiveness in the open field makes him a promising kick returner. He has been compared to former Alabama star Eddie Jackson by 247Sports.

 

Chris Braswell (WDE, 6-3, 220; Baltimore, Maryland)

Rankings: 16 nationally, 1 at position, 2 in state

One of two five-star recruits in the 2020 class, Braswell’s presence is felt all over the field due to his athleticism and awareness in space. He also excels at dropping into pass coverage, and his length makes him a threat to disrupt screen passes from opposing quarterbacks. Braswell could improve his upper-body strength, but it’s nothing that his senior year and a few months in the Crimson Tide weight room can’t fix.

 

Jackson Bratton (ILB, 6-3, 225; Muscle Shoals, Alabama)

Rankings: 174 nationally, 9 at position, 8 in state

Bratton was one of Alabama’s earliest recruits of the 2020 cycle, committing in March 2018 over Nebraska, Ole Miss, and Auburn. The First-Team All-State linebacker and lifetime Alabama fan has developed a friendship with defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach Pete Golding, and said he is aware of the Crimson Tide’s history of producing top-tier NFL linebackers.

 

Caden Clark (TE, 6-4, 246; Akron, Ohio)

Rankings: 479 nationally, 16 at position, 13 in state

Clark, a three-star recruit, has kept weekly contact with Alabama tight end coach Jeff Banks, who has gone over film with him to help him improve his game, according to 247Sports. Clark possesses impressive size for a high schooler and could develop into a key piece of what is currently one of Alabama’s weaker position groups.

 

Kyle Edwards (RB, 6-0, 210; Destrehan, Louisiana)

Rankings: 413 nationally, 26 at position, 17 in state

Edwards is Alabama’s fifth three-star recruit of the 2020 class and helps deepen a running back group that could return only four scholarship players if Najee Harris decides to turn pro. Trey Sanders will also be returning from a serious injury. Edwards chose Alabama over Kentucky, Houston, Penn State, Utah, Louisville and Virginia.

 

Damieon George (OT, 6-6.5, 348; Houston, Texas)

Rankings: 439 nationally, 33 at position, 59 in state

Having chosen Alabama over Ole Miss, Miami, Texas and Oklahoma, the massive three-star offensive tackle can bring a lot of power to the Crimson Tide’s offensive line. He is also a teammate of Zachary Evans, the nation’s No. 1 running back recruit who remains uncommitted but told 247Sports in June that the two are a “package deal.”

 

Xavier Hill (OG, 6-3, 325; Olive Branch, Mississippi)

Rankings: 460 nationally, 27 at position, 9 in state

A consensus three-star prospect, Alabama’s most recent commit strengthens an offensive line class that already included George and Seth McLaughlin. At 6-foot-3 and 325 pounds, this massive people-pusher will be a great addition to the Crimson Tide’s offensive front.

 

Traeshon Holden (WR, 6-3, 195; Harbor City, California)

Rankings: 213 nationally, 38 at position, 19 in state

Wide receiver is an important position for the 2020 class, and Holden’s downfield acceleration and ability to create separation are exactly what Alabama is looking for. Holden is a former teammate of fellow commit Chris Braswell at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore.

 

Jayson Jones (DT, 6-6.5, 340; Calera, Alabama)

Rankings: 172 nationally, 18 at position, 7 in state

Jones, a four-star defensive tackle, racked up 63 tackles and two forced fumbles in his junior year at Calera High School. Jones is a huge pickup for Alabama, both literally and figuratively. No hole in the line is too big for him to fill. Jones will have to develop his body a little more if he wants to see action right away with the Crimson Tide, but his light feet make him a threat to interior lines everywhere.

 

Thaiu Jones-Bell (WR, 5-11, 187; Opa Locka, Florida)

Rankings: 80 nationally, 15 at position, 13 in state

Jones-Bell could be the next in a long line of promising receivers from the Sunshine State to come to Tuscaloosa, joining Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley and Jerry Jeudy. Jones-Bell has impressive breakaway speed and is a sturdy player with a running back-like body.

 

Demouy Kennedy (ILB, 6-3, 205; Theodore, Alabama)

Rankings: 51 nationally, 3 at position, 2 in state

Kennedy, a former Auburn commit, is another four-star defender with a lot of promise. He is an excellent athlete with a lot of room to grow from a technical standpoint. He has a long, muscular frame but show the agility to excel in coverage as well. An explosive lower body helps him shed blocks and gives him some pass-rush upside. 

 

Jah-Marien Latham (DT, 6-3, 280; Reform, Alabama)

Rankings: 288 nationally, 26 at position, 13 in state

Latham, another lifelong Alabama fan, committed to the Crimson Tide just two days after receiving an offer in November. The four-star defensive tackle feels he can play multiple positions, telling 247Sports, “I can fit in playing 3-technique or maybe nose guard. Wherever they put me at, that’s where I’m going to play.” Latham was named First-Team All-State as a junior in 2018.

 

Seth McLaughlin (OC, 6-4, 270; Buford, Georgia)

Rankings: 453 nationally, 9 at position, 47 in state

McLaughlin is slightly undersized for his position but he makes up for it with quick feet and strong fundamentals. The three-star center is quick to get downfield and maintains blocks well after the ball has left the quarterback’s hand. McLaughlin’s determination and ability to finish blocks will prove invaluable in his career with Alabama.

 

Malachi Moore (CB, 6-0, 180; Trussville, Alabama)

Rankings: 147 nationally, 11 at position, 5 in state

Adaptability and quickness are two of Moore’s best qualities; the versatile defensive back, who has played both corner and safety, recently told AL.com that coach Nick Saban believes he could also play Star. He has been committed for nearly a year and appears dead-set on joining former teammates Paul Tyson and Pierce Quick in Tuscaloosa. 

 

Quandarrius Robinson (OLB, 6-4.5, 217; Birmingham, Alabama)

Rankings: 35 nationally, 4 at position, 1 in state

One of the team’s more recent commits, Robinson is the rare pass-rusher who can run a 4.6 40-yard dash. It’s no surprise to learn he is a former safety after seeing his quickness and ability to drop into coverage. Robinson does need to add weight in order to maximize his potential as a pass-rusher, but that potential is huge.

 

Jahquez Robinson (CB, 6-1.5, 174; Jacksonville, Florida)

Rankings: 305 nationally, 25 at position, 54 in state

Robinson joins Moore, Morton and Branch to form a solid core of defensive backs for the Crimson Tide’s 2020 class. Robinson chose Alabama over Florida, Florida State, Georgia, and LSU. With a 4.45 40-yard dash, he would immediately be one of the team’s faster DBs.

 

Drew Sanders (ATH, 6-5, 222; Denton, Texas)

Rankings: 27 nationally, 2 at position, 6 in state

Sanders’ listed position is all you need to know about him. The five-star is one of the best athletes in the 2020 class, and is the definition of a utility player, having played multiple positions on offense and defense. Alabama prefers him as a skilled pass-rushing defender, but he could also be used as a tight end or wide receiver. His versatility and size make him one of the most important commits in the Crimson Tide’s 2020 class.

 

Timothy Smith (DT, 6-4, 340; Sebastian, Florida)

Rankings: 149 nationally, 11 at position, 24 in state

The Crimson Tide adds its third defensive tackle to the 2020 class as Smith and Jones create a hulking defensive tackle duo. Smith chose Alabama over Clemson and in-state schools Florida, Florida Atlantic and FIU. He played as a 3-technique and as a nose tackle during his career which will bring versatility to the defensive line.

 

Kristian Story (ATH, 6-1, 210; Lanett, Alabama)

Rankings: 207 nationally, 4 at position, 9 in state

Expected to come in as a quarterback, Story possesses versatility on both sides of the ball. He also plays safety for Lanett, making him a viable defensive back option for the Crimson Tide. He has a thick frame, and is likely to add more muscle mass before his time in high school is over. At quarterback, Story amassed 2,424 passing yards and 1,207 rushing yards with 56 total touchdowns last season. Asked why he chose Alabama, the former Tennessee commit told AL.com, “It’s like family there. I feel like that’s where I’m most comfortable and fit best.”

 

Bryce Young (QB, 5-11, 183; Santa Ana, CA)

Rankings: 32 nationally, 2 at position, 4 in state

Dual-threat quarterback Bryce Young might just be Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s best commitment since his return to Tuscaloosa. In his junior year at Mater Dei High School, Young totaled 3,846 yards in the air and 286 rushing yards, with 39 passing touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns. Young is a scrambler, but still prefers to throw the ball on the run rather than take it down the field himself. His small size leaves something to be desired, but he makes up for it with his quickness and ability to escape pressure. If the Crimson Tide is successful in signing him, Alabama might have found a suitable replacement for Tua Tagovailoa.

 

Roydell Williams (RB, 5-10, 202; Hueytown, Alabama)

Rankings: 86 nationally, 9 at position, 3 in state

Williams aims to pick up the slack in the running back room, with Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs having left this past offseason and Najee Harris possibly joining them after 2019. Williams’ running style mirrors that of Jacobs, which has helped him put up massive numbers in high school: 2,757 rushing yards and 32 rushing touchdowns on 291 attempts in his junior season speaks for itself.