It’s become my third favorite holiday, behind Thanksgiving and Christmas.
National Signing Day.
In the days before Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, not so much. But in the amazing five year run he has put Alabama on since taking over at the Capstone, National Signing Day has been a fun ride. Will tomorrow be the same?
This recruiting season has been more turbulent than most in recent memory, with tons of commitments second guessing and changing their tune. However, I still contend that I stopped worrying about recruiting…and basically ever other aspect of our football program…when Nick Saban stepped onto the tarmac in Tuscaloosa that beautiful wintry day in 2007.
Whatever happens tomorrow will unfold in the lap of the most meticulous, masterful coach in college’s version of the game of football. Nevertheless, here’s what I think will happen:
Alabama currently has 21 commitments, including 9 that were early enrollments this spring making spring practice a reality for them. These are:
Aaron Douglas/OL/6-5/285/Maryville, Tenn./Western Arizona CC – an All-American at Tennessee before transferring following Kiffengate. Solid impact player on the offensive line. A Rivals 4-star
Quinton Dial/DL/6-6/315/Pinson, Ala./East Mississippi CC/Clay-Chalkville – a man-child on the defensive line, and another Rivals 4-star.
Jesse Williams/DL/6-4/330/Brisbane, Australia/Western Arizona CC – a freakish beast on the defensive line; an aggressive space eater like Terrence Cody, minus the gut. A Rivals 4-star
Trey DePriest/LB/6-2/231/Springfield, Ohio/Springfield – Jim Tressell wanted DePriest badly, but the Rivals 4-star and ESPNU150 linebacker followed his heart to Tuscaloosa.
Phillip Ely/QB/6-1/186/Tampa, Fla./Plant – As a Rivals 3-start, an anomaly among some of the other highly touted players Bama has signed of late. Then again, Greg McElroy wasn’t exactly on everybody’s wish list coming out of high school.
Dee Hart/RB/5-8/190/Orlando, FL – One of two current Rivals 5-stars, possibly the most explosive player to in this class. Will make an immediate impact on special teams (think Javy Arenas) if not in the backfield. Also an ESPNU150 player.
Vinnie Sunseri/LB/6-0/205/Tuscaloosa, Ala./Northridge – son of Alabama assistant coach Sal Sunseri, a tough player.
2010 Greyshirts who will resign:
Ronald Carswell/WR/6-0/180/Macon, Ga./Westside – one of the top receivers in the state of Georgia.
Wilson Love/DL/6-4/285/Mountain Brook, Ala./Mountain Brook – brother of Bama lineman Tyler Love.
So that’s who we have on campus right now…but who will Bama add tomorrow?
Commits who keep their commitment
Hasean Clinton-Dix, S – the top safety prospect in the country, according to Rivals (4-star) and ESPNU150 player out of Florida.
Xzavier Dickson, DE – a Rivals 4-star and ESPNU150 player – a steal from the great state of Georgia
Malcolm Faciane, TE – ranked by ESPN as the #4 TE prospect in the land, and an ESPNU150 player
LaMichael Fanning, DE – a 4-star by Rivals and ESPN
Jabriel Washington, ATH – a 4-star by Rivals and ESPN from the state of Tennessee
D.J. Pettway, DE – a 4-star from Rivals/ESPN from Pensacola.
Christion Jones, CB – a 4-star from Rivals/ESPN and a rare in-state player (on an unusually weak in-state class)
Bradley Sylve, WR – an ESPNU150 player and Rivals 4-star.
Danny Woodson Jr., WR – my favorite of the class so far, his dad was a freak athlete at Bama. Can’t wait to see him in Crimson. A Rivals 4-star and ESPNU150 player.
Shannon Brown, ILB – A Rivals 4-star and ESPNU 3-star linebacker from the state of Georgia.
Marvin Shinn, WR – another impact player I can’t wait to see in uniform; Rivals 4-star and ESPN150 player.
Ryan Kelly, OC – another Ohio product, an early commit for the future of our offensive line.
Isaac Luatua, OG – an interior lineman from California, a 3-star by Rivals/ESPNU.
Daryl Collins, WR – from the high school juggernaut Gadsden City Titans.
So who’s left on the board?
1. The big dog everybody wants is 5-star offensive line prospect Cyrus Kouandjio. Cyrus K is the younger brother of Arie Kouandjio, currently on the Tide roster. Cyrus has been a strong Bama lean until late. It reportedly is down to Alabama, Auburn and New Mexico. However, interest in Auburn came of late, and his parents didn’t even make the trip to last weekend’s visit in Lee County. ITK prediction? My gut tells me Auburn…and my gut hurts at the moment.
2. Gabe Wright out of Georgia has been an Auburn lean for some time, also considering Alabama, Clemson and Tennessee. I am hearing that Derrick Dooley has stolen this defensive tackle from the Tigers. I don’t believe what I hear though. ITK prediction? Auburn
3. Isaiah Crowell is the nation’s top running back, and word is he’s been a Georgia lock for along time. Whispers of late however have him interested in playing for a champion, and that this clearly isn’t going to happen in Athens. Delusional barners want to believe he’s interested in Auburn, but he has NFL aspirations, and the dipsy-doo, trickeroo offense gets no one ready for the NFL. In a complete shock… ITK prediction? Alabama
4. Jeoffery Pagan is another Georgia prospect that has shown interest in Alabama. Some think there’s a good chance he comes to Tuscaloosa, but I think this is one Mark Richt has locked up. ITK prediction? Georgia
5. Nick Brassell is a talented receiver under heavy pressure to stay at home and play for Houston Nutt. He won’t win anything that matters there, outside of a possible Egg Bowl…if Dan Mullen leaves. Still, that’s where he’s going. ITK prediction? Ole Miss
6. The nation’s top overall prospect is Jadeveon Clowney. Don’t let the last name fool you, there is nothing funny about getting mauled by this violent defensive end, although watching his highlights honestly made me laugh. It was utterly hilarious watching him dominate everyone…everyone…in front of him on the football field. Bama has a real shot at Clowney, but there are family reasons he may need to stay in the state of South Carolina. He wants to announce on his birthday (Feb. 14), so word likely won’t come tomorrow. Still, something tells me Jadeveon plays in Tuscaloosa, and if so, he’ll start from day one. ITK prediction? Alabama
And finally, one final prediction for the day. Linebacker Brent Calloway had been a 2-year commit to Alabama before he began listening to the woos of the Auburn Tigers. Word is he believed the lie that Cam Newton would return for his senior season, and he was swept away in the 24-hour Cam orgy. He wanted to play with Cam, but that isn’t going to happen. Cam took the money and ran (again), and Newton certainly won’t make it three years in the NFL for Brent to meet up with him in the pros. In the most satisfying signing of the day, Calloway shifts back to reality and signs with Alabama.
Oh how I love signing day! Regardless of any surprises tomorrow, at worst Alabama signs its fifth top five class in a row. At best they sign their third #1 class in five years, continuing to assure the SEC that like some of its brethren, the Tide is not a flash in the pan. And with the signatures of Cyrus Kouandjio, Isaiah Crowell and/or Jadeveon Clowney, Alabama signs not only the top class, but maybe the best it has ever had.
Thank you Coach Nick Saban.