What's next for Alabama football recruiting?
This article originally published on July 22.
Order has been restored in college football recruiting: the University of Alabama is back in the top five.
A trio of offensive line commitments over the weekend — top tackle Tommy Brockermeyer, top center James Brockermeyer and No. 2 guard Terrence Ferguson — solved UA’s needs at the position group and jumped the Crimson Tide up to No. 2 in the 247 Sports Composite’s rankings, only behind Ohio State.
The weekend was a continuation of a strong July for UA, one that filled some holes in it 2021 class and also made the next steps clear.
The addition of the Brockermeyer twins and Ferguson, when combined with preexisting five-star commit JC Latham, gives UA four offensive linemen in the class, three of them among the top 50 prospects in the nation regardless of position. It’s likely UA is done at the position group, but could add one more if five-star Amarius Mims surprises Georgia and commits to UA on Aug. 15.
Even without Mims, it could be the best offensive line class Nick Saban has ever recruited to UA. If all four sign, it will be the first time a Saban staff has brought three offensive linemen to campus that rank among the top 50 prospects nationally.
The run of July commitments also bolstered UA’s secondary when it flipped Kadarius Calloway from Mississippi State. The three-star from Philadelphia, Mississippi, joins Kaine Williams (four-star safety from Marrero, Louisiana) and Devonta Smith (three-star cornerback from Cincinnati) as defensive backs in the class, and UA intends to add more.
The highly competitive recruitment for five-star cornerback Ga’Quincy McKinstry remains one of UA’s top priorities; McKinstry, from Pinson Valley High School in the Birmingham area, recently trimmed Clemson and Georgia from his list, coming down to a final three of Alabama, Auburn and LSU.
UA would like to add both McKinstry and Jason Marshall, a five-star cornerback from Miami, to the class. With Patrick Surtain II, Ronald Williams Jr. and Josh Jobe all expected to be gone by the end of the 2021 season — if not sooner in the case of Surtain, a legitimate 2020 NFL Draft prospect — adding bodies to that position group is critical.
Alabama is also looking for one more at safety, the preferred choice being Terrion Arnold of Tallahassee, Florida.
If there is a bigger position of priority than cornerback, it is the defensive line. Alabama has a fair share of outside linebacker/edge defender prospects committed, but only one that fits the model of a potential interior defensive lineman: Anquin Barnes of Montgomery, who committed in April.
That could change on Sunday, when Damon Payne announces his commitment. The five-star is the top defensive tackle in the nation, the top prospect in the state of Michigan and the No. 14 prospect in the nation according to the 247 Sports Composite. If Alabama is able to secure Payne, it would like to add another at the position, such as fellow five-star Maason Smith of Louisiana or, more likely, four-star Tim Keenan from Ramsey High School in Birmingham.
Keenan’s teammate at Ramsey, four-star Jeremiah Williams, is one of several that Alabama could add to bolster its edge defender group, that list also including four-star Xavian Sorey from Florida. While it is true that teams cannot have too many talented pass rushers, Alabama did sign four top 100 prospects to those roles in its 2020 class. With 2021 top 50 prospect Dallas Turner and Prattville’s Ian Jackson already committed, UA doesn’t have an abundance of room to add more at the position groups.
Searches for a tight end and quarterback for the 2020 class remain ongoing, but producing results at neither would not be disastrous. With offensive line and wide receiver solved, the next few weeks in Alabama recruiting are all about the defensive line and the secondary.
Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson