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BAMA Recruiting

Discussion in 'Alabama Crimson Tide' started by JTEGGER, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. JTEGGER

    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    BOL caught up with national recruiting analyst JC Shurburtt to get the inside scoop on Alabama’s recent wide receiver commitment, Chris Black.
    Chris Black became Alabama's 15th commitment in the class of 2012 on Friday.

    How many times have you seen Black in person?

    I’ve probably seen him over ten times if you count camps, school visits, combines, 7-on-7’s, and actually watching him in pads.

    What was your initial impression of Black after you saw him for the first time?

    The first time I saw him was at the Under Armour Combine in Jacksonville and he was still a freshman going into his sophomore year. I know some of the coaches at First Coast and they said, “Keep an eye on our freshman receiver.” It was a pretty talent-laden camp and he dominated. He was one of the best young route-runners I’ve seen. He’s very natural with his hands and was kind of a no-brainer.

    What are your thoughts now that you’ve seen him develop over time?

    Black’s gotten better every time I’ve seen him. Probably the first thing is that he’s gotten bigger and stronger, so you can tell he puts in the work in the weight room. I think he’s probably faster in a straight line than he was back then, but I’ll tell you, he ran a 4.49 or a 4.5 as a rising sophomore at the combine. It’s not like the kid’s slow.

    What is Black’s body type?

    He’s wiry, but he’s strong enough to get off of the press. Wiry, slippery, and elusive are all words I would use to describe Black. I think a lot of people want to sit there and wonder why he’s five-stars because he’s a 5’11, 175 or 180-pound receiver and isn’t a 4.3 guy. He’s a 4.5 guy and he’s quick enough to make people miss in the open field and be gone.
    Black joined fellow Sunshine State prospect Eddie Williams as Alabama's two 2012 five-star commitments.

    At what position does he project?

    I think he can play anywhere. Alabama has a real multiple offense and I think people kind of assume that they just line up and grind it, but if you watched them play last year, they got in a lot of four and five wide sets. Darius Hanks’ position is one that comes to mind, depending on who Alabama has on the outside. Black’s a guy that can make plays in the open field like Marquis Maze. I think he’s more that type of a receiver in Alabama’s offense than a Julio Jones.

    What are some areas Black could work on to improve his game?

    He could work on gaining strength and just focus on fine-tuning his game. He’s an advanced route-runner now, but when you get to the next level, the DB’s are a little more intimidating. I just think taking every aspect of his game to the next level. He’s a good kid, and he’ll work hard and stay humble.

    What’s the buzz about Black around the First Coast program?

    They think he’s best receiver in Florida. He’s a huge part of their team and what they do. He’s their number one offensive weapon and makes their system go. They have other good receivers that complement him well, and that frees him up and allows him to make plays. In my opinion, he’s the best offensive player to come out of First Coast since Jermaine Thomas went to FSU.

    Where does he stack up in the state of Florida?

    We have Black as the top receiver in the state. When you talk about the top receivers in Florida, it’s Chris Black, Avery Johnson, and Angelo Jean-Louis. And a kid like Amari Cooper out of Miami Northwestern is starting to gain some traction. What set Black apart for me is that he’s more complete. I think he has more explosion than those other guys in the open field. I don’t think he might be as fast in a straight line as Avery Johnson, but I think he’s more explosive and elusive in the open field and plays the position at a higher level. I’m not one that’s usually going to rank a 5-foot-11, 175-pound receiver as a five-star. Anybody that’s followed my career knows that I tend to give the big guys a little more credit unless the prospect’s like Robert Woods from 2010, who is just a burner and baller. But I’ve seen so much from Chris Black and he’s impressed and improved every time. He’s got some elite tools and there’s a lot to like about him.

    What do you know about the type of person Black is off the field?

    He’s just a good kid. He’s a hard worker and is humble. It was a pleasure every time I spoke with him. Throughout the decision, I think he weighed a lot of things and took a lot of things into account. He did it the right way. He didn’t commit to one school and then show up on another’s campus wearing the gear of a school he’s not committed to. He’s not big on the hype and is a humble kid. Most kids that come out of First Coast are like that, but I don’t think any high school has put out a string of perfect kids. Chris Black is a super kid, but again, I’m not guaranteeing that any kid will never get in trouble, because they’re high school kids. But I think his work ethic is really top notch and think that will pay off for him at Alabama.
     



  2. JTEGGER

    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    Hill favoring 3

    Players at all levels always face adjustments on the gridiron and this year is no different. But the adjustments this fall may be higher than the norm according to St. George's (Collierville) senior Brandon Hill.
    2012 offensive tackle prospect Brandon Hill is currently favoring Alabama, Mississippi State and Georgia.

    The 2012 offensive tackle prospect found out the hard way last week concerning those adjustments.

    "We had two-a-days last week and then we had a scrimmage against Briarcrest (Tenn.) and lost by a touchdown," said the 6-foot-6 and 352-pound Hill. "With the new high school rules, we had so many penalties that killed us. Offensive linemen can't lead with their facemask anymore and you have to lead with your hands. And if you have a hold of someone's jersey and they move a few inches, they consider that holding.

    "So we've got to adjust to that and get used to the new rules. But that won't be that hard to do."

    As far as his play in the scrimmage, Hill said he did "well".

    "I think I did well and I would grade myself a 7 on a scale of 1-10," noted Hill. "But our group could have done better. The players and D-linemen I face are shorter than me so I have to learn how to get lower on my blocks."

    On the recruiting front Hill has collected several SEC offers and his latest offer came from that conference as well.

    "Recruiting is going pretty good," said Hill. "My latest offer was from Alabama and it was a good one to get. On Scout.com, they said Tennessee offered me but I haven't heard from their coaches about that. They haven't confirmed my offer officially so I have to wait and see about that one."

    Overall, Hill now owns offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, Southern Miss and Memphis. Of that group, Hill said he was favoring three schools and told why that trio was standing out to him.

    "I would say my Top 3 are Alabama, Mississippi State and Georgia," Hill said. "With Alabama I like their tradition and Alabama is a great school. I like their coaches and I know a couple of players there from Memphis and I played against them in high school.

    "With Mississippi State, I really like Coach Angelo Mirando and Coach John Hevesy. Coach Mirando is the recruiting coach in my area and we email each other all the time and we have a good relationship. And with Georgia, I like their coaches, too. When I go to Georgia and Mississippi State, I feel at home and there is a lot of cool people down there."

    And when asked of his decision timeframe, Hill said he would wait to take his official visits first before making any decision.

    "I am going to commit after I take my official visits," said Hill. "I am going to officially visit Alabama, Mississippi State and Georgia. I will also officially visit Southern Miss and I am not sure of my other one.

    "But I am just looking for stability in a program and find a place where I will be around good people."
     
  3. JTEGGER

    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    With the Crimson Tide’s 2012 recruiting board going through a big shake-up after watching several dominos fall either into place or to rival programs, it is time for BOL to again assess Alabama’s top 12 remaining recruiting targets that are uncommitted. The Tide took care of a glaring hole with the recent commitment of Lone Star signal-caller Alec Morris. The search for a top-flight wide receiver was satisfied when First Coast athlete Chris Black spurned FSU for Alabama. Here is a look at 12 prospects that could propel the Tide into another recruiting national championship, and where BOL Recruiting Analysts Tim Watts and Shane Youngblood rank them.
    DGB is an elite, game-changing wide receiver.

    listed in alph order

    Kwon Alexander - A big in-state battle is brewing for his services between Alabama and Auburn for this speedy outside backer.

    Landon Collins - 5-star safety that saw his stock shoot through the roof after summer performances. UA and LSU lead.

    Amari Cooper - Camp phenom who has emerged among the elite wide-outs in the nation. UA and FSU going head to head again possibly.

    Denzel Devall - Could put the finishing touches on one of the top linebacker corps in Alabama history. UA and Texas A&M are at the top.

    Travell Dixon - UA has had success with JUCO defensive backs. Dixon has UA at the top of his wish list.

    Eddie Goldman - UA looking to land this big dominating defensive tackle prospect. UA and FSU are his top choices.

    Dorial Green-Beckham - Nation’s top wide receiver prospect still has a long list of favorites that includes Alabama.

    Jordan Jenkins - Pure pass rushing defensive ends are always a Tide priority. Bama and Gators in the running.

    Cyrus Jones - Elite athlete who could project on either side of the ball. UA, Auburn and ND are top three choices at this point.

    Barry Sanders Jr - Speed back with great bloodlines. UA, Oklahoma State, FSU and Stanford comprise his short list.

    Russell Shell - Big power back who fits the mold of Ingram, Richardson that UA covets. UA among a long list of schools.

    Geno Smith - One of nation’s top corner prospects and UA has yet to add one in 2012 class. Announcing August 17th. UA and AU battle.

    Tim’s Take:

    Top heavy defensively which is the way the UA staff likes to recruit. They build around defense. Also despite the success of the class they have yet to add a big time pass rusher, defensive tackle or true boundary corner. Every year those three position are highly evaluated with Saban and staff aiming for the best of the best.

    1 - Jordan Jenkins
    2 - Landon Collins
    3 - Geno Smith
    4 - Eddie Goldman
    5 - Denzel Duvall
    6 - Amari Cooper
    7 - Dorial Green-Beckham
    8 - Travell Dixon
    9 - Cyrus Jones
    10 - Rushel Shell
    11 - Kwon Alexander
    12 - Barry Sanders

    Shane’s Take:

    Alabama is already well on its way to having the top linebacker class in the country for 2012. The remaining priorities is an exercise in elimination: Alabama needs to sign some elite cover corners, an interior defensive lineman who can do it all and ideally an every-down back on offense. The exception? Someone too good to pass up like Green-Beckham. The remaining targets are spread throughout the country geographically, but in a testimony to the Tide’s recruiting prowess and growing reputation as an elite power, UA is amazingly in the top 2 or 3 with high-end kids coast to coast.

    1 - Dorial Green-Beckham
    2 - Eddie Goldman
    3 - Geno Smith
    4 - Landon Collins
    5 - Jordan Jenkins
    6 - Travell Dixon
    7 - Rushel Shell
    8 - Cyrus Jones
    9 - Denzell Duvall
    10 - Amari Cooper
    11 - Kwon Alexander
    12 - Barry Sanders
     
  4. JTEGGER

    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    McDonough (GA) Eagle’s Landing Christian defensive lineman Isaac Rochell projects as one of the Peach State’s top prospects in the 2013 cycle and has the offer list to prove it. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Rochell made several visits over the summer, including a stop in Tuscaloosa.
    Rochell hopes to visit Tuscaloosa for a game in the fall.

    “Things have been a little slow lately since I’m starting my season and other teams are starting their seasons collegiately,” Rochell said. “We went to Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Florida State over the summer.

    “I don’t have any visits planned or anything, but I’m going to try to go to some games this year. Right now I plan on going to the Alabama-Penn State game. I think that would be an exciting game to see. I don’t necessarily know for the rest of the season.”

    Rochell took part in Alabama’s first camp session in June and enjoyed his time at the Capstone.

    "I went to Alabama probably in the second week of summer. I was there for one day and did the camp," he said. "Basically, we got there and did the camp and then took a tour of the campus and facilities, which were really nice. The weight room was huge. Then my father and I got a chance to talk with Coach Saban. At the time, he told me that they were interested in me and that they were going to offer me. They offered me a little later in the summer. It was one of those conversations that isn’t really relevant to what’s going on now, since they offered me later."

    The Peach State underclassman is attracted to Alabama’s facilities and coaching staff.

    “The facilities are really nice and I really do like the coaching staff that Coach Saban’s put together. I think he’s set himself up to win and I just like the coaches there," stated Rochell. "Defensive end is the primary position I’m being recruited as, but with Alabama it really depends on how big I get. My dad is pretty big, so I might end up being a 3-technique. Right now it’s just one of those things where they tell me, ‘We just want you at our school to play D-Line.’

    “Kirby Smart is recruiting me. Most of the time we talk, it’s pretty casual. They just want to get to know me. Coach Smart has been by the school a couple of times and I’ve got a chance to get to know him a little better.”

    Rochell remains open and lists offers from the likes of Alabama, Arkansas, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Tennessee, among others.

    “It’s hard to say I have any favorites, because it varies week to week. They always say the last school you visit is the one you want to go to, so it’s hard to say,” he noted. “I’d say I’m looking at how I fit in the program and the moral gauge of the program, like the type of things they stand on. I do want to play on the defensive line, and that’s not to say that I’d shut out schools that want me on offense, but it’s a pretty big factor at this point.”
     
  5. JTEGGER

    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    Many of the state's top 2013 stars are already beginning to receive early attention from top programs and one of Alabama's top young wide receiver prospects heading into next season is Pinson (AL) Clay-Chalkville star DeAndre Woods. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound playmaker made a big splash on the camp circuit this summer, particularly during his stop in Tuscaloosa.
    Woods likes UA offensive coordinator Jim McElwain.

    "So far, Alabama is the only school I've visited," Woods said. "I was there this summer and I loved it. I've been interested in Alabama for a long time and they have built up a really good relationship with me already. Coach McElwain is a really smart guy."

    Woods said he has paid close attention to the Tide offense in recent years and believes it would be a good fit for his skill set.

    "I really like Alabama's offense and I think it's something I would fit really well into. They build their offense around getting the most out of the players they have instead of trying to make everybody fit some system."

    As for other visits, Woods said he doesn't plan on traveling much this fall and will likely wait until Junior Days begin early next year before exploring other schools.

    "Auburn is talking to me too but I'm not really planning to take any visits there right now. I will have to see if a good opportunity to visit comes up this fall some time. Right now I'm just focused on getting ready for my season.

    "This year I'm trying to improve on my route running and I'm also trying to step up and make bigger plays for my team. Really though I will just be happy if my team has a great season."

    Clay-Chalkville opens its season at home against Minor on August 26th.
     
  6. JTEGGER

    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    Decision on deck for Geno Smith

    Atlanta (GA) St. Pius X cornerback Geno Smith will announce his decision in less than one week. The 5-foot-11.5, 175-pound Smith has narrowed his choices to in-state rivals Alabama and Auburn and is a top target for both programs.
    Smith will announce his decision between Alabama and Auburn on August 17 at his high school.

    “It’s still going to be August 17 after school,” stated Smith. “My coach said he’s going to push practice back a little bit so I can get it out of the way. It will probably be around 3:30 or 3:45. I’m still undecided. I’m still 50-50. I’m going to use these last couple days and keep praying.”

    Smith has been keeping in touch with both coaching staffs as his announcement date nears.

    “All the recruiting pitches have been said and there’s really not much else you can say,” he noted. “I’ve talked to coaches from Alabama and Auburn in the last week. We’ve just been having normal conversations. I had a chance to talk to Coach Trooper Taylor, Coach (Chris) Rumph, Coach (Kirby) Smart, and Coach (Ted) Roof. I also talked with Coach Saban and Coach Chizik.”

    The Atlanta prospect has been helped through the recruiting process by his mother and grandmother and is weighing several factors.

    “My mom has said plenty of times that wherever I go, she’ll be happy. My grandma, she’s been on a couple of visits, but she reads about it a lot on the internet because she lives in Fort Lauderdale. The decision’s going to solely be mine and it will be the decision that I make off of the information I’ve gathered,” said Smith. “I know a lot about both schools from a football standpoint and with my mom and grandma both being teachers, they have everything covered from an academic standpoint. I feel like I have both sides pretty well researched and it’s just going to take some praying and thinking to see which one is best.

    “It’s going to depend on what I want to do and where I’m most comfortable. I plan on majoring in broadcasting and that’s a big thing. The opportunity may be there at the next level, but I have to be prepared for life beyond football. I’ve always been into recruiting and researching the guys. I’ve probably been following recruiting since the ’07 or ’06 class and it’s definitely something I’d like to be involved in after my football career.”

    Smith remains unaffected by the pressure from both fanbases, which oftentimes boils over into social media.

    “It hasn’t been really hectic. Now that school’s started back and football’s been kicked back up, I really haven’t been on Facebook or Twitter,” he said. “I’m just focused on school and football so I haven’t really been paying much attention to the different fanbases.”

    With practice underway, Smith and his teammates are feel optimistic about taking St. Pius X all the way to the Georgia Dome.

    “It’s been going good. We have a scrimmage against Gainesville and I’m looking forward to that and getting our season started,” Smith said. “We’re looking very good this year. We just have to stay focused. We definitely have a great team and it’s all up to us. Our team goal is to win it all. I know that’s everyone’s goal, but I feel like we really have a chance this year. We’ve fallen short the last couple years, but this year I feel we definitely have a chance.”

    A position change is in the cards for Smith, who will be making the move from corner to free safety.

    “I’ve been playing tailback and cornerback since 10th grade, but this year I’m actually playing tailback and free safety. We have a young kid who’s going to play corner for us and I’ll be playing free. I think it will work out perfect for us this year and we’ll definitely benefit from it. You have to tackle more at safety and the coaches moved me there because I enjoy coming up and making plays. It will definitely help me in college playing corner because I’m going to have to tackle there, too.”

    Smith is ranked by 247Sports as the 32nd best prospect in the nation and the second best prospect in the state of Georgia.
     
  7. JTEGGER

    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    Start Photo Feature ▶

    GRAYSON, Ga. -- Despite all the recruiting hype surrounding 2013 DL Robert Nkemdiche of Grayson High School, the potential No. 1 player in the entire country for the 2013 class says he is only focused on his junior season right now.

    "I haven’t really thought too much about recruiting to tell you the truth. All I am worried about is my team and trying to win a state championship,” said Nkemdiche.

    Nkemdiche kept it quiet on the recruiting scene the entire summer, though he did get the chance to visit Auburn and Alabama.

    “My last visit was to Alabama, and I spent a couple of days down there and had a good time being around their coaches,” he said. "That was the last time I have talked to any colleges. Other than that, I have been busy with my team getting ready for the season.”

    Right now, Nkemdiche says he has no time frame of when he will make a decision.

    “I am in no hurry," he said, "and I will probably wait to make my decision later on."

    He does have a list of schools that he would like to see games at this fall.

    “Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Florida and Georgia are schools that I will probably be at this fall,” he said.

    Rusty’s Take
    A no-brainer five-star prospect and quite possibly a top 2-3 player in the country next year, Nkemdiche is on a team now running the 3-4 defense. He will play the hybrid 'Jack' OLB position, and that is a scary thought of him rushing off the edge against high school running backs trying to block him. Alabama is the clear team to beat here, but those close to the situation say he is nowhere close to making a decision at this time.
     
  8. JTEGGER

    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    Alabama is looking to secure a number of top corners in the class of 2012 and Travell Dixon of Thatcher (AZ) Eastern Arizona College is a priority for the Tide at the position. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Dixon took a multi-day visit to the Capstone while home in Miami over the summer.
    Dixon visited Alabama during the Crimson Tide's July camp session.

    “I’m back in Arizona and we just started camp last week. It’s pretty hot out here,” Dixon said. “I just visited Alabama and the University of Miami when I was home. The whole visit to Alabama was what I expected and I liked everything there.”

    The Norland High School product keeps in regular contact with members of the Alabama coaching staff, including head coach Nick Saban, who would be his position coach should he choose the Crimson Tide.

    “I’ve talked with Coach Saban and all the coaches from Alabama,” noted Dixon. “They’ve been telling me a lot of the same stuff that they told me when I visited. They mention how they’re losing some cornerbacks after this year. I’ve also been talking to Coach (James) Coley from Florida State a lot.”

    Dixon has several offers from programs across the country and is looking for an opportunity to be an immediate contributor at the school of his choice.

    “Arkansas, Cal, Oregon State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and Miami are other schools that are recruiting me hard. Miami stands out from those because it’s home, but being close to home isn't really something I’m looking for. I just want to go somewhere where I can come in and play.”

    The JUCO defender has yet to solidify his official visit plans for the fall, but already has an idea of when he’d like to return to the Capstone.

    “I’m going to sit down with my coaches after camp and go over my visit plans. I’ve thought about going to Alabama for the LSU game. Florida State is probably the only other one that comes to mind that I’d like to visit right now. I think I’ll probably wait until the junior college signing day in December to make a decision.”

    Charles Power is a recruiting analyst for BamaOnLine
     
  9. JTEGGER

    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    Miami (FL) Northwestern wide receiver Amari Cooper saw his stock rise significantly over the summer camp circuit as he turned in several impressive performances. Alabama's July prospect camp was among the 6-foot-1, 183-pounder's successful stops as he earned an offer from the Crimson Tide and became a priority at wide receiver.
    Cooper could decide as early as his first week of school, which begins on August 22.

    “I went to a lot of college and 7-on-7 camps this summer,” said Cooper. “I just go out there and do what I like to do- run routes and catch the ball. I guess everyone likes the way I run routes and my aggressiveness towards the ball.”

    Cooper named Alabama and Florida State as his top two after receiving an offer from the Tide and little has changed.

    “I still feel the same way,” he said. “I talk to Alabama’s coaches a few times every week. I talk to almost all the coaches it seems like. I’ve talked with Coach (Jeff) Stoutland, Coach (Nick) Saban, and Coach (Mike) Groh. They’re just telling me how much they’d like to have me. They talk about what I can do for the team and what they can do for me. My contact with Florida State is about the same as Alabama.”

    The Miami product could be nearing a decision but has yet to finalize any announcement plans.

    “I’ve thought about it. I was thinking about doing something the first week of school, but I don’t know. We start school on August 22. I want to go to a winning program where I feel like I can play.”

    With Alabama securing the commitment of Chris Black there has been speculation as to how the presence of a five-star wide receiver would affect Cooper’s decision-making process.

    “It doesn’t affect me at all,” Cooper stated. “I don’t know him. I’ve seen him at the Florida State camp. There are good players recruited everywhere, so that’s not something that affects me.”

    Cooper is primed for a big senior season after missing time as a junior due to an injury.

    “We’ve been practicing and it’s going great. I’m just trying to stay healthy, play my best every game and do what I have to do. Our team goal is to win state and I think we have a good chance. We have a lot of great players on the team. I’m going to try to break a few records and just be remembered at my school.

    “I think I’m a complete receiver. It’s not that I do one thing great, but I feel like I’m good at a lot of different things. My route-running is good, I’m pretty quick and have good size, I can attack the ball at its highest point, I’m ball hungry, and I’m pretty good after the catch.”

    Cooper has a grade of 91 from 247Sports, making him a four-star prospect.
     
  10. JTEGGER

    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    The University of Alabama has landed one of its top targets in Geno Smith of Atlanta (GA) St. Pius X. The 5'11.5, 175 pound cornerback announced his commitment to the Crimson Tide at a press conference held at his high school. Smith selected Alabama over Auburn.

    Smith is a critical pickup at a position of need for Crimson Tide and selected Alabama over offers from forty other programs.
     
  11. BamaInHoustonRTR

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    Beniquez Brown is high on the Tide.

     
  12. JTEGGER

    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    The summer of 2011 has closed with a bang for the Alabama Crimson Tide when it comes to recruiting, with the Tide landing commitments from two of the nation's top prospects. Five star wide receiver Chris Black picked the Tide on August 5th and was joined this week by four-star cornerback Geno Smith out of Atlanta. The Tide's recruiting success has earned plenty of attention from analysts and pundits but it has also earned praise from some of Alabama's current commitments in their 2012 recruiting class.
    Chris Black is one of seven Alabama commits to be ranked in the top 100 by 247Sports.

    "It's a really big deal to get big time skill position players with that kind of talent," said Tide running back commit Kenyan Drake. "Chris Black is a guy that I've heard talked about all summer and Geno Smith has a reputation in this state (Georgia) as one of the toughest defensive backs out there."

    Smith joins Drake as one of seven Alabama commitments from the state of Georgia in the class of 2012.

    "I'm really proud to be in this group," Drake said. "Some of the best guys in the state this year are all heading to Alabama together and that makes it feel less like we're going out of state. Usually you are kind of an outside when you play out of state but we'll always all have that bond together."

    Another of Smith's fellow Georgians said he helped recruit the 5-foot-11, 175-pound star to Tuscaloosa.

    "I've been talking to Geno a lot over the summer," said Justin Taylor, another Tide running back commit from the Peach State. "I've played against him every year of high school and he's always impressed me. He's an incredible competitor and he has a knack for making big plays. I will definitely be glad to have him playing for my team and not the other team, I can tell you that."

    Smith's reputation has even made it's way to Alabama, as has Black's as both prospects have long been pursued by the Crimson Tide.

    "I've seen both guys on film and they are really excellent players," said Madison (AL) Bob Jones linebacker Reggie Ragland, who has been committed to the Tide since January. "Chris Black is an explosive playmaker, the kind of guy who can make anything happen on any given play. Geno is a lockdown corner who will square up and hit you in the mouth. Both guys are the kind of player you have come to expect to see at Alabama since Coach Saban has been there."

    The current Tide commitments all feel confident about the direction their class is heading and believe they could be a part of a special group in Tuscaloosa.

    "Our staff is putting together the best class in the country," Ragland said. "There are guys at basically every position on the field who are among the best players at their position in the country. I think our group is going to really make an impact when we get to Alabama."
     
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    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    The doctor that delivered the baby now known as five-star defensive tackle Eddie Goldman two weeks after his due date, quickly hit the nail on the head.
    Goldman's top seven consists of Alabama, Auburn, Cal, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, and Miami.

    “The first thing the doctor said was we have us a football player,” Sharon Davis, Goldman’s mother laughed. Her first child was nine pounds, four ounces at birth. “I wish I could find that doctor today so I could reintroduce him to Eddie.”

    Now standing in at 6-foot-5, and 295-pounds later, Goldman is the 247Sports top-ranked defensive player in the country, and No. 3 ranked recruit overall. On Thursday, the Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate Academy senior narrowed his list of well over 30 scholarship offers down to Alabama, Auburn, California, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland and Miami.

    Although the good doctor was eventually right in his prediction, it took Goldman awhile to find his way to the gridiron.

    Goldman’s first taste of organized football came at 10-years old because he was too big to play in the Pop Warner leagues prior to that. It was a moment he waited his whole life for, and following the first three practices he refused to take his jersey off until he absolutely had to.

    “Wherever we went, Safeway or my mom’s house, he didn’t want to take his uniform off, and he was so excited to play football,” Davis said.

    “I remember having my shoulder pads on at the grocery store,” Goldman said. “I wanted to let everyone know I played.”

    Unfortunately, he wasn’t playing for long. Goldman’s cousin quit the team after those three practices, and for whatever reason, he had to quit the team too.

    Goldman’s next opportunity to play came in eighth grade. Funny thing is, the now menacing defensive tackle was so far down the depth chart, he didn’t even get a team jersey.
    The elite DT is eyeing a National Signing Day announcement.

    “I had a t-shirt on over my pads with the number 22 on the back,” Goldman said. “My technique wasn’t the best.”

    It quickly got a lot better.

    A star blossoms

    Friendship Collegiate Academy coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim remembers vividly the first time he laid eyes on Goldman.

    “Going into his ninth grade year, I just felt like he was physically imposing,” Abdul-Rahim said. “I just remember his physique was real impressive for a 14-year old.

    Soon he had the game to match.

    “The competition was better and so was the coaching and the leadership,” Goldman said. “There was also a senior defensive tackle in front of me and he helped me a lot.”
    Goldman’s athleticism took over, and he eventually found himself in the varsity defensive line rotation.

    “The game started slowing down for him and he started making plays in the backfield,” Abdul-Rahim said. “Projecting him three years down the road, I figured he’d be pretty special.”

    A little bit of an understatement.

    Maryland was the first to offer Goldman before his 10th-grade season. It wasn’t long before almost every major school in the country was on board. Besides his top seven, scholarship offers came in from Florida, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and many more.

    “He’s been a destructive force,” Abdul-Rahim stated. “A consistent destructive force. There’s just certain plays he makes where he manhandles a center or guard and you almost feel sorry for the other player on the other team.”

    And with Goldman having only played basically three years of football, and having gone both ways the past two season, Abdul-Rahim says this is just the tip of the iceberg regarding Goldman’s talents.

    “I think his best football is ahead of him because when he can just play one way and be part of a defensive line rotation, that’s when he will be the most effective.”

    Goldman reflects on his top seven

    Goldman has had a chance to visit every one of his finalists, and is already eyeing a few games this fall. His first trip could come to Maryland for the home opener against Miami on Sept. 5.

    “It’s close to home,” Goldman said. “They haven’t had a first round draft pick on defense recently. If I went there and was a number one draft pick, they wouldn’t compare me to anyone else, they’d compare the next person to me. The coaches are a tight group. (The new staff) made a good impression on me when I met them.”

    Goldman’s first official visit could be for the Florida State-Oklahoma game in Tallahassee the weekend of Sept. 17.

    “I like just the environment and the coaching style,” Goldman said. “They’re sticking with a 4-3 and they’ll have a lot of good players surrounding you. They’re on the rise.”

    The following weekend, Goldman is looking at the Alabama-Arkansas game in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 24.

    “They have an NFL type system and they get you NFL ready,” Goldman said. “You get top of the line coaching and their defense is setup to make plays.”

    Goldman isn’t sure of what other visits he’ll take.

    “Auburn, they’re coming off a National Championship, so they’re going to get a lot of good recruits,” Goldman began. “(Detroit Lions first round draft pick) Nick Fairley had a good season last year and I figure if they put me in that same position, the same thing can happen.

    “Clemson, they’re strictly a 4-3 defense. I always liked Clemson. I met the D-line coach and he made a good impression on me, and also when I met the head coach. They also said they’re going to have me doing what (Tampa Buccaneers rookie defensive lineman) Da’Quan Bowers was doing and move me along the defensive line.”

    Goldman has a great relationship with California defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi.

    “He said he was going to move me around the defensive line, and he said his playing style is very aggressive,” Goldman recapped. “They also probably have the top institution in the country.”

    Goldman grew up a Miami fan, and says he doesn’t know how the recent allegations against the Hurricanes program will affect his interest.

    “I like the tradition, and it’s a good school environment and they have a lot of good players,” Goldman said. “It’s like my favorite school as a child and they put a lot of players in the league. They get a lot of recognition from the NFL.”

    Goldman, who spends his free time playing chess against friends and on the computer, plans to methodically go about making his college decision. He says an announcement will come on National Signing Day.

    “Good academics and good people,” he said of what will be the deciding factors.

    His mom plans to be very involved as well.

    “We’ve talked about it and the things that are important to us are making sure he’s secure with the education in case anything happens on or off the field that could prevent him from playing college football,” Davis explained. “That he feels secure and knows he can still get something out of it.”

    GETTING TO KNOW EDDIE GOLDMAN
    Age: 17
    Hours of homework you do a week: Five
    Hours of football film you watch a week: “During the season, probably an hour or two.”
    Favorite NFL team: Washington Redskins
    Favorite NFL player: “I have two, Randy Moss and Jay Ratliff.
    Favorite college football team before the recruiting process started: Miami.
    BCS system or playoffs:Playoffs.
    The one other recruit you’d like to play college football with: Friendship teammate Quincy Dickens.
    Song on your iPod you’d be embarrassed to share:” I don’t have any songs that are embarrassing.”
    Favorite meal: “Steak, mashed potatoes and macaroni.”
    First job: I worked at a skating rink spraying the skates to keep them fresh and I used to sweep.”
     
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    BamaInHoustonRTR Member

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    Hopefully we get him.

     
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    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    Things have yet to slow down for Alabama as the September 3 opener vs. Kent State quickly approaches. The same can be said for recruiting, as several Crimson Tide targets are looking to make decisions in the coming weeks.
    Coulld Amari Cooper be Alabama's next commitment?

    **** Miami (FL) Northwestern WR Amari Cooper is one of Alabama’s top remaining targets and could be the Crimson Tide’s next commitment. The 6-foot-1, 183-pound Cooper has been thinking about making an announcement as early this week, with Friday being the most probable date. In what now seems to be a weekly occurrence, Cooper’s recruitment has come down to an Alabama-Florida State battle. Despite being a somewhat late offer, Alabama is in the driver’s seat for Cooper, who is one of the more underrated receivers in the South. Cooper and Northwestern play a big preseason game on Friday against Booker T. Washington, another one of the Sunshine State’s top talent-producing programs.

    **** Buford (GA) tight end Kurt Freitag is another target who plans on announcing in the next few weeks. The 6-foot-2, 222-pound Freitag is eyeing a September 9 announcement and has narrowed his choices to Alabama, Florida, Florida State, and Miami. Alabama is in good shape here with Florida being the primary competition. The Gators waiting on Land O Lakes (FL) TE Kent Taylor only increases UA’s chances of landing Freitag in the next few weeks.

    Freitag fits in nicely as an H-Back in offensive coordinator Jim McElwain’s scheme and along with his friend and teammate Dillon Lee would give Alabama two prospects from one of Georgia’s top high school programs.

    **** I was able to attend Alabama wide receiver commitment Casey Gladney’s game over the weekend and came away impressed with his performance. Gladney helped his Columbia (SC) High squad to a 31-14 victory and was a major contributor in all facets of the game. The 6-foot-1, 181-pounder caught double-digit passes with two going for touchdowns, saw time at safety, returned kicks, and even punted for the Captials.

    In all, Gladney had more than 200 total yards and was easily the standout of the game. One sequence that typified Gladney’s night came early in the fourth quarter. After a Columbia drive stalled, Gladney had a 55-yard punt that pinned the opponent inside their ten yard line. Lower Richland fumbled a few plays later and Gladney put the nail in the coffin with a 14 yard touchdown catch on a fade route in the corner of the end zone.

    Gladney’s energy level stood out and despite catching a cramp in the third quarter, his level of play never wavered. It’s not uncommon to see a committed prospect coast or take things easy in their senior season. This was not the case for Gladney, as he displayed some leadership abilities in his play and behavior on the field. No one wanted Columbia to win more than he did, and it was evident. Gladney made a point to run down everything from his free safety spot and didn't view defense as a time to rest despite rarely coming off the field.

    I left the game with a better feeling on Gladney’s future prospects and can see why Alabama’s staff was intrigued after he turned in a standout performance at their July camp. He gives the Crimson Tide a confident, reliable receiver and is a bouncy athlete with some playmaking ability. If he keeps up this pace, he’s primed for a huge senior season and could very well lead the state of South Carolina in receptions and maybe a few other receiving categories, which is even more notable considering that he plays for a program that isn’t known for its passing game.

    Much is made about Gladney’s academic situation and how it relates to his chances of signing with Alabama. Little has changed on that front as school just started last week. Like most prospects, he’ll need a strong senior year in the classroom to make it in, but he is in regular contact with the UA staff about his progress which speaks volumes of their level of interest in his academic status.
     
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    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    Columbia (SC) High wide receiver Casey Gladney became Alabama’s thirteenth commitment in the class of 2012 shortly after receiving an offer at the Crimson Tide’s June prospect camp. The 6-foot-1, 181-pounder began his senior season with a bang as he totaled over 200 total yards and two touchdowns in his team’s 31-14 victory over Hopkins (SC) Lower Richland.
    Gladney plans to visit Alabama for the Kent State game.

    Gladney began his big night by setting up the Capitals for their first two scores, making two receptions inside the five yard line.

    “At first, I was just falling in and trying to let the game come to me,” he said. “I was getting a little frustrated and got stopped at the two and the five (yard lines). Everything’s all good though as long as I contribute to the team.”

    The South Carolina receiver hit paydirt on a 44 yard catch and run just a few plays after leaving the game with a cramp.

    “On the first touchdown, I read the defender and ran my stop outside instead of inside because he bit on the slant from the outside receiver. I was wide open and I caught it and just got up the field for a touchdown. I was trying not to think about the cramp,” laughed Gladney.

    Gladney’s second touchdown came in the fourth quarter on a 14 yard fade route where he beat man coverage.

    “The second touchdown was on a jump ball. Our quarterback tried to run out of it on a bootleg a few times before. You could see I was wide open on the fade all game, so I told Coach to tell him to just throw up and I’ll get it.”

    Gladney is much more than just a receiver for Columbia. In addition to his double-digit receptions and two touchdowns, the jack of all trades returned kicks, punted, and saw significant time at safety. Gladney made a mark on the game in all phases as he had a few long returns, a 55 yard punt that pinned Lower Richland inside their 10 yard line, and a big hit on defense.

    “Basically, I just want to do what I can to contribute to the team and help us get this win,” said Gladney of his multiple positions. “As long as we get the win, I’m happy. Our goal for the season is to try to get W’s across the board.”

    The Alabama commitment has been keeping regular contact with Crimson Tide staff members including his recruiter, defensive line coach Chris Rumph as well as wide receivers coach Mike Groh.

    “I’ve been talking with Coach (Chris) Rumph and Coach (Mike) Groh. They told me to call them and check in after the game to see how everything went. They’ve been checking in on me and my school, now that school has just started back Monday. I have a great relationship with them and they’re like family now. I’m trying to get to the first home game. I’m not sure when I’m going to take my official.”
     
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    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove quarterback Jonathan McCrary is one of the hottest names in the class of 2013. The 6-foot-4, 200 pound prospect has more than a dozen scholarship offers from Florida State, Alabama, Georgia and Texas among others.

    The Crimson Tide have made a big impression on the talented signal-caller in the early stages.

    "I'm liking Alabama right now, they are on top for me," McCrary said. "I've visited there a couple of times and they always treat me good. They told me they aren't bringing in a quarterback in the 2012 class so that is good to hear. I like coach (Nick) Saban and he's a no nonsense type of coach like my high school coach is now. They are bringing in top players like Geno Smith and Dillon Lee. My best friend Brandon Greene is also committed there too."

    McCrary has also visited FSU and Georgia so far this summer. He plans on visiting Notre Dame, Ohio State, North Carolina, Tennessee and LSU this season.

    "I'm interested in a lot of schools right now and keeping my options open," he said. "I want to visit those schools and I'm looking at who they bring in for quarterback in my class and the current class. I visited FSU but they just brought in a second quarterback (Jameis Winston) so I'm not really looking at them anymore. Georgia has a commit from my class already, but I'm still considering them definitely."

    His former teammate, Vincent Dallas signed with Tennessee as part of the 2011 class and continues to recruit him when they talk.

    The dual-threat quarterback doesn't consider himself a dual threat. His coaches love his ability to stay in the pocket and make the throws, but keep plays alive with his feet.

    He said he is looking for a program with good people and an offense that suits his ability. McCrary also plans to make his college decision following his senior season.
     
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    JTEGGER T-Bird

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    *** BOL has noted that recent Tide commit Geno Smith would be active on the recruiting trail with some of Alabama's top targets, and he's taken the role head on. Jordan Jenkins, Landon Collins, and Cyrus Jones are three top targets that Smith has zeroed in on, and the returns are positive with all three thus far. Smith could be a huge asset to UA's efforts here as he did very thorough research throughout the process and selected Alabama over schools that are vying for Jenkins, Collins, and Jones.
    Jenkins is one of the Tide's top overall targets

    Unlike the last two recruiting cycles, it appears with Smith, linebacker Reggie Ragland and athlete Kenyan Drake, the Tide finally has some strong personalities doing some heavy duty informal recruiting for them. This tactic helped Georgia put together last year's "Dream Team" and Florida State is relying on their current commits heavily to get in the ear of some of their remaining targets.

    *** Alabama has obviously had notable success in the junior college ranks under Nick Saban, and nearly every target pulled from those ranks has not only contributed but starred for the Tide. Georgia Military nose tackle Daniel McCullers is the latest candidate to perhaps continue UA's JUCO success. McCullers will draw comparisons to former Alabama star Terrance Cody as he came to the two-year school standing 6-foot-6 and weighing well over 400 pounds. Since then, he's slimmed down to under 370 and has proven to be extremely athletic for his size, making him an optimal nose tackle in a three-man front. McCullers has offers from Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina. As of now, look for him to take official visits after the season and decide shortly thereafter. At this point, Alabama and Tennessee are well out in front with the Tide holding the edge.

    *** Although Internet rumor had Vigor defensive lineman and former Auburn commit Darius Philon committing very soon, sources close to the Mobile star believe that the 6-foot-2, 260-pound Philon will likely wait until deeper into the season - perhaps as late as October or November - before pulling the trigger. Alabama has a huge lead here. Philon can play inside or at end depending on any future growth spurts. He has already grown an inch since last season.

    *** Harris County linebacker/defensive end Jordan Jenkins is the consensus top prospect in the state of Georgia for 2012, and all indications are that Alabama is in outstanding shape to land a commit from the high-end pass rusher. Sources close to Jenkins feel a commitment could be coming at virtually any time, and while Florida is still in it, the Tide is the clear team to beat. Georgia will continue to recruit Jenkins hard, but it looks like Alabama or Florida stand to land one of the premier front-seven athletes in the country very soon.

    *** Miami-Northwestern wide receiver Amari Cooper is watching his stock explode like no other prospect in the southeast thanks to a dominating camp circuit this summer. In fact, one source who has attended multiple UA summer camps thought Cooper performed as well as any prospect has since Julio Jones showed up to dominate a few years ago. Cooper is a physically advanced kid with all of the tools to be a big-time college star.

    Cooper has been nonchalant about his college decision plans but is very much attuned to which schools appeal to him the most. At this point, Alabama is the clear team to beat although FSU is trying to slow Cooper down. Cooper could possibly commit as soon as today with his high school set to play in a big jamboree game. If Cooper goes through with a Friday commitment, expect the Tide to receive good news.

    *** If Cooper comes on board, look for UA to shut it down at wide receiver for the 2012 class unless an uber talent falls in their lap.

    *** Sources in Mobile tell BOL that Alabama continues to recruit Auburn commit T.J. Yeldon and FSU commit Alphonse Taylor, and both prospects have reciprocated the interest although neither are slamdunks to flip to Alabama. Auburn suddenly has a crowded running back stable while sources close to Taylor indicate the giant offensive tackle prospect feels like he possibly rushed his decision. It will take a lot of work to turn either prospect, but expect Alabama to stay on both throughout this recruiting cycle. As for Faith Academy defensive end Chris Casher, it appears that ship has sailed.

    ***Look for Alabama to continue their emphasis on the state of Georgia for the 2013 cycle. It's a very strong year in the Peach state and there's a lot of talent after the obvious big names like Robert Nkemdiche and Reuben Foster. McDonough (GA) Isaac Rochell is top five candidate in the state for 2013 and UA and DC Kirby Smart did a great job of identifying him early in the process. On top of that, Cedar Grove quarterback Jonathan McCrary, a big, strong-armed signal-caller with a lot of upside, has the Tide out in front. Alabama could theoretically land the top two prospects in the state of Georgia two years in a row (Jenkins/Smith, Nkemdiche/Foster).

    *** Another 2013 prospect who Alabama is in good position with early is Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas DE Joey Bosa. Bosa earned offers from UA and FSU at camps this summer and his trip to Tuscaloosa left a big impression. Bosa is playing defensive tackle for STA this year who opens in a huge game v. Prattville at Hoover this weekend. Bosa is looking forward to returning to the state and will face off against UA commits Justin Thomas and Caleb Gulledge and FSU commits Justin Shanks and 2013 OT Austin Golson. There's also a connection at St. Thomas Aquinas as Cris Carter and UA assistant Bobby Williams have long histories at the school. Bosa's father, John, was former 1st rd pick of Dolphins.

    *** UA will watch numerous 2013 prospects' seasons and one that could jump in the boat early is Huntsville (AL) LB Cameron Toney. Like many 2013 prospects, it's still up in the air as to what type of recruit Toney will develop into, but he grew up a huge Crimson Tide fan and would likely commit on the spot if offered. At this point, Toney isn't as physically advanced as some of the more recent big-time linebackers the state has produced such as Nico Johnson and CJ Mosely, but Toney is very athletic and physical.

    The issue for the in-state crop for 2013 is a dearth of slamdunk elite kids. There are a lot of interesting possibilities - especially among athletes - but no Jameis Winston's, Brent Calloway's or Demarcus Milliner's.

    *** While there are several 2013 prospects from the state of Alabama that are looking to emerge with a strong season, the 2014 cycle could boast an above-average crop of talent. An abnormal number of rising sophomores are beginning to emerge including Ashville QB E.J. Moss, Northridge RB/ATH Bo Scarborough, Foley WR DeMarcus Bingham, St. Paul's LB Trey Williams, and Oxford RB Racean Thomas. There's obviously still a lot of football left to be played, but this group looks to be quite strong, especially considering that all the prospects mentioned have very good size this early in the process.

    Scarborough had a tremendous game in his squad's opener against Walker, delivering several crushing blocks and turning on the jets for a 63-yard touchdown. He will likely be one of the top two or three prospects in the state for 2014, and at this point - while extremely early - it looks like Alabama holds an early lead for his services.
     
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    Following the Future: Week One

    Ryan Anderson, LB, Daphne (AL)- Anderson had 10 tackles, 3 sacks, and a forced fumble from his linebacker spot in Daphne’s 41-14 win over Bryant. Daphne moves to 1-0 and will host Baldwin County next week.
    Kenyan Drake had a huge game despite only having seven carries.

    Dakota Ball, DL, Lindale (GA) Pepperell- Ball had one and a half sacks, another two tackles for a loss, a batted pass, and recovered a botched snap on a punt in a 12-0 win over Cartersville. Pepperell travels to Summerville (GA) Chattooga on Friday.

    Chris Black, WR, Jacksonville (FL) First Coast- The five-star receiver had approximately 80 total yards in one half of play in a preseason scrimmage against 2A stalwart Bolles. Black faced triple coverage for much of the first half. First Coast opens their season this week against Jacksonville (FL) Parker.

    Bradley Bozeman, OL, Roanoke (AL) Handley- Bozeman had 7 pancakes and helped pave the way for 407 rushing yards. Handley defeated Franklin (GA) Heard County 48-13 and will travel to Comer on Friday.

    Kenyan Drake, RB, Powder Springs (GA) Hillgrove- Drake had 7 carries for 166 yards and 2 touchdowns in Hillgrove’s 41-21 win over Sprayberry. Hillgrove takes on Austell (GA) South Cobb on Friday.

    Casey Gladney, WR, Columbia (SC)- Gladney put up big-time numbers for the second week, with 12 receptions for 200 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball twice for 73 yards in 36-26 win over A.C. Flora. Columbia is 2-0 and will play cross-town Dreher next Friday.

    Brandon Greene, OT, Ellenwood (GA) Cedar Grove- Greene and Cedar Grove defeated Kathleen (GA) Veterans by a score of 40-19. Cedar Grove faces a big test next week when talent-laden Stone Mountain (GA) Stephenson comes to town.

    Adam Griffith, K, Calhoun (GA)- Griffith was 1-2 on field goals and 2-2 on extra points in a 24-14 win over Dalton. Griffith’s first attempt from 42 yards was blocked and while his second from 24 yards out was good.

    Caleb Gulledge, DL, Prattville (AL)- Gulledge played offensive line and held his own against a talented defensive front in Prattville’s 34-31 loss to Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas.
    2013 commitment Reuben Foster led his team to a big win on Friday.

    Reuben Foster, LB, LaGrange (GA) Troup County- Foster recorded 6 solo tackles, 6 assists, and 3 sacks in the 17-10 overtime win against cross-town rival Callaway.

    Tyler Hayes, LB, Thomasville (AL)- Hayes ran for 75 yards on 7 carries and recorded 9 tackles with 2 for a loss in a battle of defending state champions as Thomasville defeated Sweet Water 28-7. Thomasville hosts Monroe County this week.

    O.J. Howard, TE, Prattville (AL) Autauga Academy- Howard plays all over the field for Autauga Academy and through two games has 4 catches for 129 yards and a touchdown, 5 carries for 28 yards, is 2-4 passing for 49 yards and a touchdown, while posting 13 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 pass breakups, 3 QB knockdowns, and one sack. Autauga Academy is 1-1 and hosts Columbiana (AL) Cornerstone Christian on Saturday.

    Darren Lake, DT, York (AL) Sumter Central-Lake had 5 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, and a forced fumble while also seeing time as a blocking back on offense in Sumter Central’s 56-6 win over Choctaw County.

    Dillon Lee, LB, Buford (GA)- Lee led Buford’s defense with 4.5 tackles and tipped a ball that was intercepted in Buford’s 49-0 dismantling of Gainesville (GA). Buford moves to 2-0 on the season and has a big game against Columbus (GA) Carver this week.

    Alec Morris, QB, Allen (TX)- Morris was 18-29 for 248 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 28-13 win over Cedar Hill at SMU’s Gerald Ford Stadium. Allen, who many consider to be Texas’ top team, hosts Justin (TX) Northwest next Friday.

    Reggie Ragland, LB, Madison (AL) Bob Jones- Ragland played for a little more than one quarter in Bob Jones’ 66-13 win over Clarksville (TN) West Creek. In addition to playing linebacker for the Patriots, Ragland recorded two catches on offense. Bob Jones is 1-0 and will face Hazel Green next Friday.

    Geno Smith, CB, Atlanta (GA) St. Pius X- Alabama’s most recent commitment got off to a hot start with 11 carries for 140 yards, and two touchdowns along with six tackles and a pass break up on defense. St. Pius X defeated Westminster 28-21 and travel to Savannah (GA) Benedictine this week.

    Justin Taylor , RB, Atlanta (GA) North Atlanta- Taylor ran for 148 yards and recorded three tackles in North Atlanta’s 3-0 victory over South Atlanta.

    Justin Thomas , ATH, Prattville (AL)- Thomas rushed for 139 yards on 16 carries in the nationally televised game against Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas.

    Eddie Williams, ATH, Panama City Beach (FL) Arnold- The five-star Williams and Arnold begin their season on Thursday against Pace (FL).
     
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    Recruiting Needs

    With Alabama coach Nick Saban standing at 17 current commitments for the class of 2012, it is time to review the biggest recruiting needs going into this recruiting cycle and check off those that have been filled and analyze those that remain open.

    Restocking at Cornerback

    It is likely that the Tide's defensive secondary will take a huge hit at cornerback after this fall with the graduations of DeQuan Menzie, Phelon Jones and likely NFL exit of Dre Kirkpatrick.

    Alabama returns promising talent in the form of current sophomores John Fulton and Dee Milliner and freshman Jabriel Washington, but depth will be a big concern. Alabama has taken a huge step towards solidifying their future at the position with the recent commitment of four-star athlete Geno Smith. There is still remaining work here, however, as a JUCO talent will likely be needed to provide immediate help and another high school star should also be a priority.

    Status: Ongoing. Travell Dixon of Eastern Arizona College is the likely JUCO target, and Alabama will have to battle FSU - again - for his signature. At the high school level, Cyrus Jones is an option or perhaps another prospect could emerge.

    QB and RB of the Future

    With Trent Richardson the safest bet in Vegas to head for the NFL draft after this season and only three quarterbacks on scholarship, the Tide needed work in the backfield in this recruiting cycle. Although neither position would make or break Alabama this year, it would lessen the need from "Critical" to "Important" for 2013.

    Status: Ongoing and Possibly Filled. Alabama took a bit of a gamble at the quarterback position and lost out on Hueytown five-star Jameis Winston and Indiana signal-caller Gunner Kiel. Allen (Texas) quarterback Alec Morris has hardly shown signs of being just a consolation prize, and it appears Alabama has averted disaster with a quality pick-up. At running back, the situation appears unsettled. Barry Sanders Jr. appears to be at this point a tough pull at best. Current commit Kenyan Drake could certainly stick to his high school position at the next level, and Peach state banger Justin Taylor provides the physical presence at the position that Saban loves. Alabama would still add a big-time prospect here in the late stages, and several prospects committed to other schools could be a possibility.

    For 2013, landing a national talent at both positions could be the top priorities for the Tide.

    Beef at DL

    Alabama is not lacking in bodies along the defensive front, but there is no truly dominant player at end or nose tackle at this point. There are multiple possibilities to change this, however, including JUCO exports Jesse Williams and Quinton Dial and redshirt freshman Brandon Ivory, and early reports regarding true freshmen Jeoffrey Pagan, D.J. Pettway and Lamichael Fanning have been very positive.

    The Tide would like to snag a nose tackle that can command a double team in the middle and will always be in the market for athletic big men at end. This is more of an ongoing need for sure rather than a critical call to action.

    Status: Partially filled. The Tide believes it landed a gem in Darren Lake, a mammoth nose tackle who dominated at UA's summer camp. Dakota Ball could easily end up on the offensive line while Ryan Anderson is likely a Jack or stand-up linebacker at the next level.

    Five-star Eddie Goldman is on everyone's wishlist, but FSU appears to have some recent momentum there. Lot of other options here including Dalvin Tomlinson, Darius Philon and Quay Evans. It would not be surprising to see Alabama go the JUCO route here and Georgia Military College nose tackle Daniel McCullers and East Mississippi C.C. end Denico Autry are two options.

    A Dominant Wide Receiver

    Life after Julio Jones officially begins in a few days, and while Alabama has a load of talent at receiver, there is no one true superstar on the roster that has emerged as a go-to threat. As is the case with defensive line, there is no shortage of young, talented bodies such as Marvin Shinn, Danny Woodson and Michael Bowman.

    Status: Filled. Five-star wide receiver Chris Black is the Tide's highest profile commit at the position since Jones. Black is an intelligent, athletic ball player with dominant competitiveness and intangibles. The Tide is on the verge of landing Miami-Northwestern star Amari Cooper which would also take care of another minor need - an additional "big" receiver.