On the eve of the first early signing date for college football, Alabama’s current 16 commitments rank seventh nationally in the 247Sports.com composite rankings. Of those commitments, one is already on campus, and the majority are expected to sign national letters of intent Wednesday.
Savion Smith, a junior college transfer defensive back, is already at UA and has participated in Crimson Tide bowl practices this week along with Jarez Parks, a grayshirt member of the 2017 recruiting class.
Those committed prospects who don’t sign Wednesday will still have the opportunity to sign in next February’s normal signing period.
Alabama could land a couple of uncommitted prospects, the biggest of whom is a five-star defensive lineman out of Maryland, Eyabi Anoma. At 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, Anoma is considered one of the nation’s best pass rushers. He is the seventh-ranked player in the country, according to the 247Sports.com composite player rankings.
Two more defensive linemen who may commit include four-star defensive tackle Christian Barmore and five-star defensive end Brenton Cox.
Offensive tackle Penei Sewell hasn’t decided if he’ll commit early or wait until February. He’ll likely decide between Alabama and Oregon.
Defensive tackle Bobby Brown, who Alabama identified at one of its prospect camps over the summer, is a Texas A&M verbal commitment but is still said to be considering Alabama.
Dominick Wood-Anderson, a junior college tight end, could also pull the trigger for Alabama.
All in all, Alabama is expected to sign the majority of its current commitments while also preparing for the possibility of others joining the class.
The fact that the exact number of early signees isn’t known reveals a lot about the process of the new early signing period that has drawn the ire of Alabama coach Nick Saban.
The management of roster numbers aside, the logistics of recruiting while also preparing a team for the College Football Playoff hasn’t been easy.
“I didn’t like it when we did it, I don’t like it now,” Saban said of the early signing period. “I don’t think it’s in the players’ best interest. I don’t see how it benefits anybody. I think it’s really stressful for everyone. We’re all trying to get ready for bowl games and playoff games and we have a signing day right in the middle of when we’re going to be practicing for a playoff game. It was very stressful for a lot of coaches to get out and see as many guys as they could in December and accelerate everything.
“You don’t have very much time to do that. If you’re playing in a championship game, you have even less time to do it. … You have guys who are waiting until February, so you don’t have much control over who signs early and who doesn’t, so how do you manage that number of guys that you might get?
“We’re dealing with it. It is what it is and we’re managing it the best we can, and we’re working with every player and trying to let them decide when they want to make their decision and not really pressing them to make a decision so that when they commit to us, they commit to all the things here that we do here to help them be successful personally, academically and athletically, and I think they ought to have the opportunity to evaluate that.”