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What Alabama football could do to finish its top-ranked 2021 recruiting class

Brett Hudson
Tide Sports
Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban spoke in the Naylor Stone Media Suite about the 2020 signing class Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Alabama’s 2021 recruiting class already has at least one four-star at every offensive and defensive position group with the exception of running back, tight end and cornerback. UA has stacked 15 four- and five-star prospects in the other six position groups.

Yet UA has just 21 commits in its class. What is already the No. 1-ranked class in the nation, according to the 247 Sports Composite, has room to grow.

Finding the exact needs to fill is a tricky proposition this year: the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA allows players back for seasons that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, certainly in 2021 and possibly for later seasons. But there remain more than enough highly-rated prospects at important positions for UA to secure its full class before the early signing period starts on Dec. 16.

One of the positions without a four- or five-star player committed is cornerback, where UA has junior college cornerback Khyree Jackson and Cincinnati native Devonta Smith committed, both three-stars. Alabama is all-in on the race for five-star Ga’Quincy McKinstry of Pinson Valley High School in the Birmingham area, and he is UA’s lone option after Miami prospect Jason Marshall committed to Florida in August.

McKinstry has UA in his top three with Auburn and LSU; he has not set a commitment date yet.

Alabama already has an impressive haul on the offensive line – two of the top three tackles, the No. 2 guard and the top center are all committed to the Crimson Tide – and could add more. The No. 2-rated tackle, Amarius Mims, is committing on Oct. 14 and is considering UA as well as Tennessee and his in-state Georgia Bulldogs.

Offensive line is likely to be a position of need regardless of the extra year of eligibility: Alex Leatherwood is projected to be a first-round NFL pick, while Deonte Brown and Landon Dickerson will be draftable prospects this spring and Evan Neal will be next spring. Alabama’s could bring a both timely and historic group of offensive linemen to campus: no school has ever signed the top three tackles in the same class; signing two of the top three has happened only twice since 2005.

Alabama could also add another safety in four-star Terrion Arnold out of Tallahassee, Florida, and is in the market for another defensive end/edge linebacker. Whether that takes the form of recent Ohio State decommit Tunmise Adeleye, IMG Academy’s Xavian Sorey, Shemar Turner from Texas, someone else or none of the above, UA will have plenty of reinforcements at the position when joining current commits Dallas Turner, Monkell Goodwine and Ian Jackson, all four-star prospects.

Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or bhudson@tuscaloosanews.com or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson