2016 pre-National Signing Day superlatives
Editor’s note: Raekwon Davis seemed to end the speculation on Wednesday night, re-affirming his decision to play for Alabama. The Tide, of course, will hold its breath until Davis makes it official next week.
We’re officially one week from National Signing Day. Time to hand out some awards for what’s been another memorable recruiting cycle:
BEST SORTA-KINDA MAYBE FLIP FLOPPER: RAEKWON DAVIS
Davis, a four-star defensive tackle from Meridian, Miss., was a long-time Alabama commit.
Then he took an official visit to Mississippi State on Jan. 15 and reportedly flipped to the Bulldogs. However, when he was asked about the switch by some recruiting writers that cover Alabama, he said he never flipped. A different report surfaced from mostly Mississippi-based reporters that confirmed the switch.
Davis canceled his official visit to Florida State on Jan. 22 and took an unofficial visits to Alabama. He either re-committed to the Crimson Tide this past weekend or solidified his commitment to the Tide depending what you read.
This week Davis is taking his official visit to Alabama. Back-to-back weeks at the same destination would lend me to believe that Alabama is firmly in the driver’s seat. But who knows?
BEST SEC RECRUITING BATTLE: Georgia vs. Alabama
This battle started back in December when Georgia hired Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart to be their head coach. Alabama responded by hiring Georgia’s defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt, replace Smart in Alabama (Pruitt was Alabama’s defensive backs coach under Smart in the early part of the decade).
Not surprisingly Smart used many of the relationships he gained while recruiting for Alabama, most notably putting the Bulldogs in a strong three-way battle with Alabama and Florida for the nation’s top outside linebacker Lyndell “Mack” Wilson.
Other Alabama-Georgia battles include five-star athlete Mecole Hardman Jr.; five-star athlete Demetris Robertson (although Notre Dame has come on strong recently) and five-star defensive tackle Derrick Brown.
LEAST SUSPENSE FROM A TOP UNCOMMITTED RECRUIT: Ben Davis
The five-star linebacker from Gordo, Ala., is an Alabama legacy and will commit to the Crimson Tide on National Signing Day if not sooner. Davis has tried to stay open in his recruitment. He visited Georgia on Jan. 15 and will visit Auburn on Jan. 29 but after his official visit to Tuscaloosa on Jan. 22 it seemed like Davis’ true colors came shining through and he named Alabama his leader.
The GOAT 🐐💯🏈 pic.twitter.com/JB5H9UItpO
— Mr. UNO™〽️ (@bendavis_1) January 26, 2016
BEST SHOW OF IN-STATE DOMINANCE: LSU
The Tigers pretty much swept through Louisiana like they owned it and for the most part they do. According to the 247Sports composite rankings, eight of the top 10 players in Louisiana are committed to LSU with one of the two remaining uncommitted prospects, five-star cornerback Kristian Fulton, heavily favored to be a Tiger. The other uncommitted in-state prospect, four-star cornerback Shyheim Carter, has a crystal ball prediction of 59 percent to Alabama.
BEST CHANCE FOR A SIGNING DAY SHOCKER: Kristian Fulton
Call it a hunch but I think Fulton is a lot more open than some are prediction (100 percent LSU crystal ball prediction). Arkansas and Florida are will battle LSU for Fulton until pen hits the paper. Both Arkansas and Florida are in great need of defensive backs and can promise early playing time as well. There’s no reason to think Fulton won’t end up at LSU but I’m just not completely sold that he’s 100 percent with his decision yet.
BEST CLASS NO ONE WILL TALK ABOUT: Tennessee
The Volunteers don’t necessarily have a blow-away recruiting class but UT is going to finish in the top 15. If players like four-star quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, four-star linebacker Daniel Bituli and four-star running back Carlin Fils-Amie reach their potential this could be the class that finally gets the Volunteers back into contention to compete for East Division, the conference and possibly a playoff spot. They will have to close strong but with four-star safety Nigel Warrior and five-star defensive end Jonathan Kongbo both considered good leans, there could be good times in Knoxville.