Recently, I took a look at how Alabama recruiting isn't rebuilding, but rather reloading. This Alabama football recruiting National Signing Day preview focuses on needs and is provided by SB Nation's fine Alabama site, Roll Bama Roll. Looking for National Signing Day coverage of other teams or recruits? Head to SB Nation College Football Recruiting.
With one week left until National Signing Day, the 2012 Alabama recruiting class currently includes 27 commitments and at this point the class is nearly finished. However, there is at least one greyshirt candidate in the mix, two potential academic casualties, and some room available for backcounters to the 2011 class given the early enrollments of several players, and combined that gives the Tide a small amount of room to operate as the 2012 recruiting season enters its final week. Space is exceedingly limited at this point, of course, and admittedly it is guesswork to a degree, but realistically Alabama can probably add two or three more signees. Let's take a closer look at the remaining targets:
Justin Taylor, the tailback out of Atlanta who is recovering from a major knee injury, remains a soft commitment with a greyshirt offer. As was well publicized weeks ago, Taylor was upset when he received news of the greyshirt and made it publicly known that he was going to open his recruitment back up. One problem: Apparently no programs remotely comparable to Alabama have extended him an offer to enroll this August, and as of now his back-up options to 'Bama are seemingly offers to play at Purdue and Wake Forest. It's possible that the UA staff finds a way to bring Taylor in this summer, but doing so would all but certainly require several key, unanticipated misses on the recruiting trails, and accordingly that is not a likely scenario. Taylor remains miffed, but for the time being the odds look favorable that he sticks with his Alabama commitment, greyshirt and all.
Jameis Winston, the much-ballyhooed Hueytown quarterback, continues to the center of a highly publicized recruiting battle. The longtime FSU commitment visited Tallahassee this past weekend and publicly re-affirmed his commitment, but he has taken other official visits, is having in-home visits with opposing coaches, met again with Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier before he signs, and, most importantly, has made it publicly known that he will not sign with anyone until after National Signing Day. No one seems to have any real idea of exactly where Winston is headed, whether it's Alabama or Florida State, but it certainly seems that he is a Seminole commitment in name only at this point. A potential MLB career only further complicates the issue. Your guess is as good as mine as to where Winston ends up, but in any event it's reasonable to expect that he fully basks in his moment in the sun before signing with anyone.
Eddie Goldman, the defensive tackle out of Washington D.C., was long considered to be an Alabama v. Florida State battle with many thinking that he was a 'Bama lean. In recent days, however, there have been some rumblings that Alabama has backed off Goldman, and its seemingly intensified recruitment of other defensive line prospects tends to lend support to that theory. Auburn has also emerged as a candidate in recent days, though his high school coach still maintains that 'Bama is a strong contender here. It wouldn't be a major shock if 'Bama landed the D.C. product, but for the time being FSU may be the smart money choice. Goldman will announce on National Signing Day.
Dalvin Tomlinson, the defensive tackle out of McDonough, Georgia, could be the favorite for the Tide to make an addition to the defensive line. This one is a three-team race between Alabama, Georgia, and Georgia Tech, and UGA remains a contender despite Tomlinson having not taken an official visit to Athens. If things aren't expected to work out with Goldman, Tomlinson -- who moonlights as a two-time and defending state champion wrestler -- is believed by many on the Alabama side to hold a firm 'Bama offer and to be bound for Tuscaloosa, with some Georgia Tech followers believing the Yellow Jackets are more of a fall-back option. Tomlinson has strong academics to further boost his standing, specifically a 3.7 core GPA, and he will announce on National Signing Day.
Korren Kirven, the defensive end out of Virginia, is down to Alabama, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech with one week until Signing Day. He is recovering from a broken leg and will need to bulk up to play end in the 3-4 scheme, but Kirvin has been recruited by Alabama for some time now, though signing him could be somewhat tricky. He is taking another mid-week visit to Knoxville, this time with parents in tow, and he will take an official visit to home state Virginia Tech this weekend. Early playing time could be an issue here. Even so, Kirven also has another in-home visit scheduled with the 'Bama coaching staff, and had nothing but praise after leaving his official visit in Tuscaloosa this past weekend. This one could be the most true toss-up left on the board at this point. Kirven will announce on National Signing Day.
Casey Gladney, the wide receiver commitment out of South Carolina, was known to be a potential academic casualty when he committed several months ago, and unfortunately it seems that the improvement he has seen in his academic standing has not been enough to pass muster with the NCAA Clearinghouse. Consider this a big loss for 'Bama because Gladney is undeniably talented, but this one comes as no surprise, and with recent rule changes placing greater limits on the sizes of recruiting classes, 'Bama is unlikely to waste a spot on someone who will not qualify academically. In all likelihood Gladney will not sign a letter of intent with Alabama come National Signing Day and will most likely enroll in either a junior college or a prep school in the months ahead.
Brandon Hill, the massive offensive line commitment out of Tennessee, is another academically uncertain prospect, and as of several weeks ago it looked like he could end up at Ole Miss or Mississippi State. Roughly ten days ago, though, he re-affirmed his commitment to Alabama and stated he would not be taking any other official visits, which for now largely squelched such innuendo. For the time being it looks like Hill will stick with 'Bama, but it wouldn't be a major shock if in the final week he went the way of Gladney. Keep your eye on this one come Signing Day.
Kwon Alexander, the linebacker prospect out of Oxford, Alabama, is thought to hold a greyshirt offer from Alabama and appears to be heavily considering it. 'Bama was once considered the strong leader for Alexander, but due to his lack of size he was never as highly coveted by the UA coaching staff as he was by several self-proclaimed recruiting experts, and a major knee injury only further lowered his standing. Nevertheless, Alexander has some talent, is widely considered a hard worker and a good kid off the field, and the staff has seemingly tried to find a way to fit him in. Having said that, though, he also has offers from both LSU and Auburn -- both of which are thought to allow him to enroll this summer -- and he would likely be a better fit in their respective defensive schemes than in Nick Saban's 3-4 defense. In the final analysis this one is a very close call, but it's somewhat hard to bet against 'Bama here if the Tide can make room. Alexander will announce on National Signing Day.
Finally, some quick hitters to close: Avery Young could be one to keep an eye on at offensive tackle if Hill fails to qualify. Georgia continues to go hard after Brandon Greene, but he claims he is still firmly committed to 'Bama. There were some message board rumors last weekend that Chris Casher wanted to commit to Alabama but was told there was no room; for the record, Casher has expressly denied such rumors and contends he remains fully committed to Florida State. Channing Ward has been mentioned as a possibility at Jack, but given his family ties to Ole Miss don't look for him to renege on his commitment. Deion Belue was officially announced as one of the early enrollments last week, but only time will tell if he can actually pass through UA Admissions. Landon Collins continues to be recruited heavily by LSU and Les Miles, but for the time being there is nothing to suggest he has softened on his commitment to Alabama. Kyron Samuels, a center prospect out of Fairhope and nephew of former 'Bama Outland Trophy winner Chris Samuels, could be a potential greyshirt candidate.