September was super slow for college football recruiting. With recruits largely focusing on high school games and more teams playing neutral-site games that are difficult to travel to, not many visits happened. Without visits, not many commitments happened.
But October is off to a great start.
Dylan Moses, the No. 1 linebacker in the country and a player from Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, shocked the recruiting scene by committing to Alabama.
Normally, this would not be a shock. Alabama is the No. 1 recruiting team in the nation over the last seven years by a wide margin.
But both the school and the timing are surprising. Most, including me, thought that Moses would be heading to LSU, since he is from Baton Rouge. And he was expected to take all five of his official visits before deciding.
The firing of Les Miles at LSU appears to have shaken things up, though. After a visit to Alabama, Moses pulled the trigger.
What’s more, he’s shutting down his recruitment and not visiting other places, he says.
Ready to work #TheProcess pic.twitter.com/zCoH9GlL0y— King Ⓜ️oses (@Dylan1Moses_) October 2, 2016
Moses is one of the most hyped recruits in the class of 2017. While he may no longer be the 2017 class’ No. 1 prospect, as others have developed in recent years, Moses is still an elite player. He should continue to improve, as he is now focused solely on linebacker, instead of trying to also play running back as well.
I’ve previously argued that I would take Texas linebacker recruit Baron Browning over Moses, but both are elite players, and the run of linebacker recruiting by the Tide of late has been amazing.
Can Alabama’s class catch Ohio State’s?
Ohio State still has the No. 1 class on 247Sports, but Alabama is hard charging. The battle between the two will be intense all the way until National Signing Day. Ohio State has a deeper class right now, but the Tide have three of the top players committed nationally, with Moses, five-star running back Najee Harris, and five-star offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood.
The Tide are also heavily involved with Texas five-star defensive tackle Marvin WIlson and the ratings do not change Alabama could sign four of the top five recruits nationally.
Ohio State is still in strong position for five-star running back Cam Akers, of Mississippi, and five-star defensive back Jeffrey Okudah, of Texas. If it closes with them, the Buckeyes could very well hold on to the No. 1 spot.
One variable that is hard to know with certainty is class size. Alabama is likely to take a bigger class than Ohio State, but how much bigger? Quantity also factors into the rankings, as does quality.
LSU, Texas, Miami and a few others were all recruiting Moses.
For the Tigers, it’s a big loss because LSU badly needs linebackers in its class if Moses is indeed going to stick with his plan of shutting down his recruitment.
... this is a pretty huge loss for LSU. Moses has lost some shine (more on this in a moment) as a recruit, but he’s still an athletic freak with unreal upside. What really hurts is that LSU needs to continue to add bodies to an already thin LB core. Next season they will lose Kendell Beckwith and Duke Riley and be looking for more players. Where does Aranda turn if Moses isn’t one of the options?
Texas now must shift its focus more to top in-state targets, who might still be tough pulls if the Longhorns don’t start winning some games.
Now the focus for Strong and linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary will turn more firmly to in-state prospects, especially consensus five-star Kennedale linebacker Baron Browning, as well as Plano East linebacker Anthony Hines and perhaps even Dallas Kimball linebacker Devodrick Johnson.
The Longhorns head coach will have to achieve success in those recruitments by achieving success on the field — the win over the Fighting Irish to start the season helped with Browning and Hines, but with Strong’s job now on the line following two losses, Texas will miss out on those top linebackers and perhaps fire its head coach without getting some more victories in the near future.