Alabama football recruiting: 5 takeaways from yet another No. 1 recruiting class
At this point, it almost isn’t fair.
Day 1 of the 2021 Early Signing Day for college football was a nationwide celebration of high school superstars finally ending their role in the non-stop recruiting hoopla by formally signing with the program they either committed to or decided that morning to flip toward. In both instances, and for yet another year, the Alabama Crimson Tide found itself as a major player on the signing day stage.
Alabama has ranked No. 1 in the 247Sports.com national team rankings 9 separate times during Nick Saban’s 14-year Crimson Tide tenure. Just how good is this year’s Crimson Tide class? Here are 5 takeaways …
5. The flip is real
The recruiting between LSU and Alabama is always intense, with the annual game serving as an extremely early look at the 1st round of a future NFL Draft. The game’s winner often grabs an upper hand in recruiting, and that was the case in 2020 when the Crimson Tide flipped 4-star defensive end Keanu Koht from the Tigers. The Vero Beach (Fla.) HS product was an LSU commitment from the summer, but Koht remained impressed by Alabama’s commitment to training and development of players throughout the process.
The 64th overall player in the 247Sports.com rankings, Koht has room to add mass to his 6-4, 215-pound frame. But he possesses uncanny quickness and speed off the edge, with good instincts on timing snap counts. Koht is 1 of 13 4-star athletes Alabama inked during the Early Signing Period, and is the 3rd defensive end who put pen to paper Wednesday — joining 5-star Dallas Turner (St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and 4-star Monkell Goodwine (Rock Creek Christian Academy, Upper Marlboro, Md.) at the position.
4. No. 1, yet again
With 24 signees onboard, Alabama again ranks atop the 247Sports.com team rankings, fractions ahead of Ohio State. Although Florida pulled in 26 players Wednesday, only 1 future Gator from the No. 8 overall class is a 5-star prospect. The Buckeyes had 5 5-stars and 13 4-stars in their 21-player haul at No. 2, while Georgia checks in at No. 3 with 4 5-stars and 11 4-stars, and defending national champion LSU is No. 4 with 2 5-stars and 14 4-stars.
Alabama raked in a nation-best 6 5-star players. Besides Turner, the Tide pulled in offensive tackles JC Latham (IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.) and Tommy Brockermeyer (All Saints Episcopal, Fort Worth, Texas), defensive tackle Damon Payne (Belleville, Mich., HS), defensive back Ga’Quincy McKinstry (Pinson Valley, Ala., HS) and wide receiver Jacorey Brooks (IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.).
3. Quarterback is no problem
Pundits were uncertain whether 4-star quarterback Jalen Milroe would follow through on his commitment to Alabama or flip to Texas. But Milroe put the doubters in their place with his signature pledge to Alabama on his national letter-of-intent at a ceremony at Tompkins HS in Katy, Texas.
At 6-3, 206, Milroe is a dual-threat superstar of the same ilk as current NFL starters Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa. Milroe possesses the athleticism and talent to become an elite passer and runner. The No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the 247Sports.com rankings, Milroe has long-term NFL Draft potential — and could push Bryce Young for the QB1 spot as early as 2021.
2. “Koolaid Glizxzy” is special
Even when you’re name is Ga’Quincy McKinstry, it doesn’t hurt to have a cool nickname. “Koolaid Glizxzy” certainly fits the bill, as the 5-star defensive back from Pinson Valley (Ala.) HS is the top-ranked DB in the country and the No. 18 player overall. At 6-0, 185, McKinstry is Dre Kirkpatrick 2.0, with a lean build and good length for a defensive back. An above-the-rim hoopster at Pinson Valley, McKinstry figures to be a crown jewel in coach Nick Saban’s prized group of DBs.
McKinstry could easily be a wide receiver at most Power 5 programs if he wanted, but “Koolaid Glizxzy” is a born DB at the next level. Showing the ability to consistently pluck the ball at his highest point and win in contested situations, McKinstry also shows the ability to locate and track the ball downfield and finds multiple ways to affect the game.
1. Did someone say flips?
You almost gotta feel for Ed Orgeron on days like this. Not only did LSU self-disqualify for the 2020 postseason and lose Koht from its class, but EdO and the Tigers also lost 4-star wide receiver JoJo Earle late in the day. The Aledo, Texas, HS product had been committed to the Tigers since April, but Alabama never gave up on him and earned another big-time flip.
The No. 48 overall prospect and No. 5 national prospect at his position, Earle is the fourth future Alabama WR in the 2021 cycle to fall in within the 247Sports.com Top 70. Although Earle is just short of 5-10 and 170 pounds, he has superb athleticism and possesses a nearly limitless route-running ceiling. Great quarterbacks need great receivers, and Earle is the guy who can match with either Young or Milroe for years to come.