By firstname.lastname@example.org (Cody Estremera)
Alabama closed out National Signing Day with the No. 1 recruiting class for the seventh consecutive year. The Crimson Tide signed 26 players overall with six of those being five-star recruits and 18 of them being four-stars.
Of the 26 Alabama signees, 12 enrolled this past January, and many of them, including Mac Jones and Brian Robinson, will get to Alabama’s campus in early February. Notable early enrollees that are already on campus include five-star running back Najee Harris and five-star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
“We’re obviously very excited about the 14 players who signed with us today to join the 12 players who are already early enrollees,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. “I think this class is a class that we are very pleased with and proud of.”
Alabama coaches have been working on this class for multiple years, with some recruits committing as early as 2015.
“[National Signing Day] is an accumulation of all the way back, in some cases, as far as two or three years where you evaluate guys and start to develop relationships with them,” Saban said. “Our coaching staff did a phenomenal job in evaluation, and developing relationships and working hard to attract some of these guys here.”
Here is a breakdown of every player Alabama picked up on National Signing Day:
Allen is from the heart of tiger country, the LSU tigers. He decided on Wednesday that he wouldn’t bleed purple and gold, but instead crimson. Allen was ranked as the No. 4 linebacker in the country and the No. 5 player from the state of Louisiana by 247sports composite. The 4-star racked up 82 tackles and six sacks in his senior year.
Coming from City College of SF, Baker ranked as the No. 3 overall JUCO player and the top JUCO offensive tackle. Baker stands at 6-7, 295 pounds and is originally from San Francisco, California. Baker chose Alabama over SEC rivals Auburn and Georgia.
Benton scared Alabama fans, when he went to Auburn on Jan. 28 of a visit. Alabama fans had flashbacks to when Reuben Foster decommitted from Auburn to join the Crimson Tide. However, even though Auburn fans thought that their school had stolen him from Alabama, he picked the Crimson Tide. Benton was ranked as the No. 7 outside linebacker by 247sports composite.
Rated as the second best JUCO player of the 2017, the four-star defensive tackle adds much needed depth along Alabama’s front. Losing two key contributors on the defensive line in Jonathan Allen and Dalvin Tomlinson, Buggs will look to contribute early behind Da’Ron Payne. Buggs was rated as the No. 1 JUCO defensive tackle. Buggs accounted for 75 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Cowan, ranked as the No. 5 outside linebacker by 247sports composite, was the first player to sign with Alabama on Wednesday, shortly before 8 a.m. Cowan posted an incredible 104 tackles and seven sacks in his senior season at Palm Beach Gardens high school. Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt visited Cowan on Jan. 25 for a final push towards Alabama. Since Cowan was the first recruit signed, he took to Twitter supporting his future teammates.
Fletcher will be expected to play right from the get-go. Cole Mazza, Alabama’s veteran long snapper, departed from the Crimson Tide after his senior season. Fletcher competed in the 2017 U.S. Army All-American Game and was rated the No. 2 long snapper in the country.
Ranked as the No. 3 player according to 247Sports composite rankings, Harris turned heads for his gaudy performances during his senior season. The Antioch, Cali. native committed to Alabama on April 18, 2015, but the late stages of his recruitment featured drama over where he would attend. With Michigan making a late push, Harris arrived at the airport in Birmingham, confirming that he would remain with the Crimson Tide and enroll early. Harris is the sixth five-star running back Alabama has signed under Nick Saban.
James was one of the top tight end prospects from the state of Texas. He was ranked as the No. 13 tight end in the country by 247sports composite. He was part of the 29-1 run over his last two seasons.
Already boasting a talented group of receivers, Alabama added its second five-star wide receiver in as many as three years. Jeudy is the third-ranked receiver in his class and brings speed to the position for Alabama. Jeudy carries a frame similar to Calvin Ridley at 6-1, 177 pounds. Jeudy caught 13 touchdowns during his high school career.
Leatherwood, a five-star recruit, committed to the Crimson Tide on June 2, 2015, and will look to continue the tradition of freshman tackles making impact from the start. Cam Robinson, Jonah Williams, Cyrus Kouandjio and Andre Smith (all five-stars) all earned playing time during their freshman year. Leatherwood stands at 6-6, 327 pounds and could help fill the hole left by Robinson’s departure after the 2016 season.
Mathis’ commitment ceremony was definitely a special one. Mathis held the ceremony next to the grave of one of his close friends. The ceremony ended with Mathis joining the Crimson Tide. He was ranked by 247sports composite as the No. 7 defensive tackle in the country. He is joined by LeBryan Ray as the two defensive linemen to join Alabama.
McDonald earned a three-star rating with a productive senior season. McDonald recorded 66 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three interceptions and 11 pass breakups. During his junior year, McDonald was outstanding on special teams, blocking five punts. McDonald was a teammate of fellow signee LaBryan Ray at James Clemens HIgh School in Madison, Alabama.
Alabama’s secondary is known for it’s tackling, delivering hard hits and making sure that it brings the ball carrier down. Xavier McKinney is known for his tackling. While at Roswell High School, he recorded 82 tackles from the safety position. McKinney fits the size of the Alabama defensive backs, standing at 6-1, which almost …read more
Source:: The Crimson White Sports