What you need to know about Alabama's 2020 recruiting class
What do you need to know about Alabama’s 2020 recruiting class?
For starters, and as usual, the Crimson Tide is stacked. Currently ranked No. 2 in the nation by 247Sports, Alabama has 23 commitments ready to sign as part of the Dec. 18-20 Early Signing Period.
Coach Nick Saban and his staff have hardly been sulking in the corner after losing to Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Instead, the Tide’s recruiting army (yes, it practically is a small army of workers that run perhaps the most comprehensive player identification system in the sport) had coaches across the country all week long reaffirming the committed and wooing the uncommitted.
Alabama still trails Clemson in the overall rankings, as the Tigers have 6 5-star athletes among their 21 total commitments. And LSU is No. 3 only by an Ed Orgeron whisker, too. For the Tide to repeat as national recruiting champions (yes, that is a thing …), adding a stud or two in the final couple weeks will be a must.
As for now, though, here is what you need to know about Alabama’s recruiting class:
- National rank: 2
- SEC rank: 1
- 5-stars: 3
- 4-stars: 16
- 3-stars: 4
Best player: 5-star QB Bryce Young
A dual-threat force from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., Young was also being recruited by Southern Cal, Arizona State, Auburn and Baylor. At 5-11 and 183 pounds, Young compares to Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.
He is the 4th-ranked player in the nation according to 247Sports, and the No. 1 dual-threat QB. In 4 seasons as a starter for Mater Dei, Young has thrown for an astounding 12,845 yards and 146 touchdowns. He has also rushed 262 times for 1,122 yards and 26 TDs. Young committed to Alabama in September.
247 breaks down Young by saying he almost looks more comfortable when the play breaks down — as can improvise and make a play with his instincts. Young plays with a poise and savvy beyond his years, never looks flustered or nervous in the pocket, and has improved his touch and accuracy on the deep ball.
Assessing the QBs
Young is the lone incoming quarterback so far on the Tide’s big board (not counting Kristian Story, who projects as a safety), and he joins a crowded list of contenders for the QB1 throne. Assuming Tua Tagovailoa goes to the NFL, Mac Jones would be the incumbent — as he has started 2 games in Tagovailoa’s stead in 2019 and has passed for 1,176 yards and 11 touchdowns (81-of-116, with 3 interceptions).
But Jones will feel the preseason heat from Tua’s younger brother, Taulia. The Tide’s baby Hawaiian prince was forced to burn his redshirt season, appearing in 5 games and going 9-of-12 for 100 yards and 1 TD.
Young will enroll at Alabama in January and be a full participant in spring practice, giving him ample opportunity to get acclimated to the Crimson Tide’s system and the Tuscaloosa campus. Should the elder Tagovailoa go pro, figure A-Day to be as open a quarterback competition as it gets.
Biggest need filled
In order, the 3 biggest needs Alabama has are …
Among the 5-star commitments Alabama has, 1 is a linebacker — OLB Drew Sanders from Ryan High School in Denton, Texas. At 6-5, 232., Sanders is the nation’s 12th-ranked player and the 2nd overall outside linebacker in the country. Sanders is fast (4.65 seconds in the 40) and has a nose for the football (163 tackles, 14 TFL, 10 sacks in just 2 seasons).
The other linebackers coming to Alabama include ILB Demouy Kennedy (6-3, 205, Theodore, Ala.), OLB Quandarrius Robinson (6-5, 217, Jackson-Olin HS, Birmingham, Ala.) and Jackson Bratton (6-3, 233, Muscle Shoals, Ala.).
Biggest needs that need to be filled
Alabama will be stocking what seems like the entire National Football League with receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft, as Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith and Henry Ruggs will all likely go in the 1st round.
The Tide has more in the pipeline, of course, including electrifying sophomore Jaylen Waddle and Swiss Army knife Slade Bolden. But Alabama needs to stock up on WRs in a hurry, and they have some ready to roll.
Chief among them are Thaiu Jones-Bell, a 5-11, 187-pound 4-star from Miami Carol City HS and Javon Baker, a 6-1, 190-pound 4-star from McEachern HS in Powder Springs, Ga. Traeshon Holden (6-3, 195, Narbonne HS, Harbor City, Calif.) and tight end Caden Clark (6-4, 245, Archbishop Hoban HS, Akron, Ohio) are also tantalizing prospects.
Best position group
Alabama always needs pass rushers, and it has 2 big ones coming — including 5-star defensive end Chris Braswell (6-3, 220, St. Frances Academy, Baltimore) and 4-star bookend Will Anderson (6-3, 233, Dutchtown HS, Hampton, Ga.). When you combine Braswell and Anderson with defensive tackles Timothy Smith (6-4, 320, Sebastian River HS, Sebastian, Fla.), Jah-Marien Latham (6-3, 280, Pickens County HS, Reform, Ala.), Jayson Jones (6-7, 340, Calera HS, Calera, Ala.) and Jamil Burroughs (6-2, 323, McEachern HS, Powder Springs, Ga.) … good luck running on the Crimson Tide in years to come.
Best player still chasing
Tough to decide here between uncommitted 4-star wide receivers Xzavier Henderson (6-3, 180, Columbus HS, Miami) and Arian Smith (6-1, 170, Lakeland HS, Lakeland, Fla.), but we will go with 4-star offensive tackle Marcus Dumervil (6-5, 305, St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). Dumervil is an LSU commitment, but could be flipped if he wavers down the stretch. The Tide would also love to keep OT Brady Ward (6-7, 310, St. Paul’s Episcopal, Mobile, Ala.) in state and away from Arkansas.