Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with the nation’s top prospect and more.
Does Alabama have much of a chance with Justin Fields?
Word got out on Friday that Justin Fields, the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in the 2018 class, was taking an official visit to Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Friday. Fields and his father, Ivant, were in attendance for Alabama’s blowout, 66-3 win over Ole Miss on Saturday where they sat in the first row in the recruits’ seating section.
Like the majority of recruiting visits, the Fields camp enjoyed themselves in what was an electric environment on Saturday for the Tide’s second straight dominant performance over an SEC opponent.
But, the main question coming out of the visit was just how interested Fields was in Alabama. He had taken one visit to Tuscaloosa over the summer, but that was it.
According to two sources close to the Alabama program, both believe that while Fields did enjoy himself this weekend, they do not think he is interested in competing with Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa for the starting quarterback job next year in Tuscaloosa. With the way Hurts and Tagovailoa have played this season, it’s highly unlikely a true freshman — although Fields is incredibly gifted — could unseat both on the depth chart.
Both sources believe that Alabama is a long shot, at best, for the 5-star prospect from Harrison High School (Kennesaw, Ga.), even though he used one of his five official visits at the school.
While Fields has told SEC Country in the past that he likes how much Alabama wins and how Nick Saban plays the best player regardless of class, Crimson Tide fans need to be realistic here. Jalen Hurts won the SEC offensive player of the year award as a freshman and is in strong contention to win the award again this year. It doesn’t matter how talented a recruit is coming out of high school, it’s nearly impossible to believe that that person will take over for a quarterback who has led Alabama to a 19-1 record thus far.
Oh, by the way, Hurts is fifth all-time in Alabama school history with 46 touchdowns. He isn’t halfway through his sophomore season and hasn’t played for all 60 minutes in four of the team’s five games this season.
Florida State and Georgia still appear to be the favorites to land Fields. With the Seminoles, the path to early playing time is there with freshman James Blackman being a much inferior passer to Fields and Deondre Francois missing this season after tearing his patella tendon in the Alabama game earlier this season. At Georgia, the Bulldogs are selling him on being the team’s only dual-threat quarterback on the roster where he would have specific packages. His sister is also committed to play softball for Georgia, and his mother has posted at least one pro-Georgia message on Facebook about wanting her son to attend that school.
Two other quarterbacks in town
Fields wasn’t the only elite quarterback in Tuscaloosa over the weekend as Ohio State commit Emory Jones and Kentucky commit Jarren Williams were also in town.
Both prospects are likelier options at quarterback than Fields. Both Jones and Williams took unofficial visits to Tuscaloosa, so it’s very possible they return later this fall for an official visit. Jones has visited Tuscaloosa three times this year, while Williams made his first trip to Alabama since re-committing to Kentucky after de-committing from the Wildcats for a few weeks.
Williams has said that he’s locked in with Kentucky, but he has maintained communication with Alabama. Jones is still the team’s likeliest addition at quarterback with the amount of trips he’s made to Alabama with one more likely still coming. Jones has said that he’s going to continue to take recruiting trips despite Ohio State’s wishes that he doesn’t. Jones continues to say he’s 100 percent locked in with the Buckeyes, but the interest in Alabama is very real, otherwise he wouldn’t make numerous trips to Tuscaloosa on his own dime.
I thought it was interesting that Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne had an extended conversation with both Williams and Jones before the game. Byrne was shaking hands with all of the recruits and then talking to major targets for a few minutes.
James Foster, a 3-star quarterback committed to Missouri, was expected to visit last weekend, but he didn’t visit.
Other big-time recruits in Tuscaloosa
There was a lot of star power roaming the sideline before kickoff. Here’s who I saw:
- Alabama cornerback commit Jalyn Armour-Davis
- Alabama linebacker commit Jordan Davis
- Alabama 2019 offensive tackle commit Pierce Quick
- Michigan 4-star offensive guard commit Emil Ekiyor — staying through Monday for his official visit
- 4-star running back Harold Joiner
- 4-star wide receiver Jaylen Waddle
- JUCO CB Saivion Smith
- Florida wide receiver commit Jacob Copeland
- 4-star linebacker Adam Anderson
- 4-star defensive tackle Coynis Miller
- 4-star wide receiver Seth Williams
- 2019 4-star wide receiver Devonta Lee
- 2019 4-star quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa
- 2019 4-star linebacker King Mwikuta
- 2019 4-star offensive tackle Amari Kight
- 2019 Florida State offensive tackle commit Wanya Morris
- 2019 4-star safety Jaylen McCollough
- 2019 4-star running back Ronald Thompkins
- 5-star Jack linebacker Brenton Cox, 4-star cornerback Nadab Joseph, 4-star safety Kelvin Joseph and 4-star defensive tackle Bobby Brown didn’t make it to Tuscaloosa last weekend. All four major targets were expected to visit. LSU commits Tyrion Davis and Kardell Thomas also didn’t make the trip.
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