Alabama Football Recruiting: Tracking 2012 National Signing Day Targets

Sanjay Kirpalani@@SanjayKirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystJanuary 29, 2012

Alabama Football Recruiting: Tracking 2012 National Signing Day Targets

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    With National Signing Day just days away, Alabama head coach Nick Saban is preparing to put the finishing touches on his 2012 recruiting class. 

    Currently, the Crimson Tide are sitting at 27 commitments, with eight players already enrolled for the spring semester and eligible to participate in spring drills. 

    Saban and his staff have brought in a class that most recruiting analysts feel will end up as the best class in the country. 

    Given that a majority of the spots are filled, there should be very little drama for Tide fans to follow on Feb. 1. 

    However, nothing is guaranteed until the ink is dry on a prospect’s letter of intent. 

    Here is a comprehensive breakdown of every Alabama target and commitment, with the latest information and analysis on each heading into National Signing Day.  

Dorial Green-Beckham, Wide Receiver, Hillcrest HS, Springfield, MO

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    The top receiving prospect in the nation, the man known in recruiting circles as DGB has Alabama in his list of final five schools, but the Tide remain a long shot. 

    Green-Beckham, as U.S. Army All-American, is a 6’6”, 221-pound freak of an athlete that is capable of having an impact similar to what former Tide star Julio Jones had in his first season. 

    He compiled an astonishing 68 receiving touchdowns during his high school career. 

    Green-Beckham is rated as the 3rd best player in the country on the ESPNU 150. 

     

    Committed to Missouri on 2/1

Eddie Goldman, Defensive Tackle, Friendship Collegiate Academy, Washington, DC

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    The nation’s top defensive tackle will let the world know what school he will attend at 10:30 EST on ESPNU.

    Getting the Under-Armour All-American to pledge to the Tide would be a coup for Saban, and fill a huge void in the middle of Alabama’s 3-4 defense. 

    Goldman recorded 40 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 2010.

    Goldman is rated as the top defensive tackle in the country, and is rated as the nation's 10th best player in the ESPNU 150.

    Committed to Florida State on 2/1

Korren Kirven, Defensive Tackle, Brookville HS, Lynchburg, VA.

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    Goldman is not the only run-stuffer in the mid-atlantic region coveted by the Crimson Tide.

    Kirven visited Alabama on Jan. 20, and has paired his list to four schools with a pair each in the SEC and ACC being in the mix.

    The 6’4" , 272-pounder recorded 15 sacks this past season. 

    Rivals rates Kirven as the 16th best defensive tackle prospect in the 2012 class.

    Committed to Alabama on 2/1

Dalvin Tomlinson, Defensive Tackle, Henry County HS, McDonough, GA.

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    Tomlinson is another defensive tackle in the mix to get one of the Tide’s coveted last scholarships.

    The Crimson Tide will have to battle the home-state Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets for Tomlinson’s signature.

    The 6’2”, 270-pound Tomlinson recorded 103 tackles and seven sacks in his junior season. 

    Tomlinson is the 11th best defensive tackle recruit in the nation according to Rivals.

    Committed to Alabama to 2/1

Kwon Alexander, Linebacker, Oxford HS, Oxford, AL.

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    Alexander is one of the top linebackers in the state of Alabama, and still remains one of the nation’s top uncommitted prospects despite tearing his ACL late in the season. 

    However, Alabama is an unlikely landing spot for him since the Tide has already loaded up at the linebacker spot in this class, with the likes of Reggie Ragland, Dillon Lee and Tyler Hayes already committed.

    Alexander recorded 144 tackles during his junior season. 

    Alexander is the nation's 3rd best linebacker recruit, and ranks 29th on the ESPNU 150. 

     

    Committed to LSU on 2/1

Jameis Winston, Quarterback, Hueytown HS, Hueytown, AL.

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    If there is one hole in Alabama’s stellar class to this point, it would be at quarterback where they failed to land their top targets in Winston and Gunner Kiel.

    Winston, a FSU commit, has visited Alabama numerous times since his commitment and is friends with several Alabama commitments.

    However, after his official visit to FSU last weekend and barring a late change of heart, the nation’s top dual-threat passer appears set on signing with the Seminoles. 

    Winston passed for 2,424 yards and ran for 1,063 yards and accounted for 43 total touchdowns during his senior season.

    Winston is the top quarterback in the country, and ranked as the 14th best player in the nation according to ESPN.

    Verbally Committed to FSU

Landon Collins, Safety, Dutchtown HS, Geismar, LA.

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    Collins has been one of 2012’s biggest stories of the recruiting season, with LSU and Alabama dueling for the right to secure the services of the top safety in the country. 

    Collins chose Alabama in an announcement at the Under-Armour All-American game, but BamaOnline reported that Collins visited LSU last week, which leaves the door slightly open for the Tigers. 

    This will be one story to watch on Signing Day, but expect the 5-star safety to honor his initial commitment. 

    Collins recorded four interceptions during his senior season, returning two of them for touchdowns.

    Collins is the nation's 2nd best safety prospect according to Rivals. 

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Eddie Williams, Athlete/safety, Arnold HS, Panama City, FL.

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    Williams, another 5-star safety, was Alabama’s first pledge in the 2012 class after committing to the Tide before his junior year in high school, and has never wavered since despite being one of the most sought after prospects in the country. 

    The 6’4”, 215-pounder is the top defender from the state of Florida, and should give the Tide a physically imposing figure at safety next season.

    Williams recorded five interceptions during his junior season.

    Williams is rated as the country's top athlete by Rivals.

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

T.J. Yeldon, Running Back, Daphne HS, Daphne, AL

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    Yeldon ended another wild recruitment by enrolling at Alabama earlier this month, despite being an Auburn commitment for most of his senior season.

    The 5-star running back was a major pull for the Crimson Tide, and the satisfaction of stealing him from their most hated rival made the switch even sweeter.

    Yeldon rushed for 2,193 yards and 31 touchdowns during his senior season, and won the coveted Mr. Football award for the state of Alabama.

    The former Daphne Trojan is rated as the nation's number 2 running back prospect by Rivals.

    Enrolled at Alabama

Ryan Anderson, Defensive End, Daphne HS, Daphne, AL

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    Alabama has an All-Star coaching staff full of ace recruiters, but perhaps no one assisted in getting Yeldon to switch than his high school teammate Anderson. 

    However, Anderson is a big-time get himself, with the Tide planning to use his 6’3”, 250-pound frame as a potential replacement for departing Jack-linebacker Courtney Upshaw. 

    Anderson, ranked as the 98th best player in the nation according to Rivals, recorded 104 tackles and 12.5 sacks during his senior season. 

    Enrolled at Alabama

Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver, Northwestern HS, Miami, FL

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    Cooper burst onto the scene with a standout performance in the Under-Armour All-American game, after a 75-yard touchdown reception and a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown. 

    The 6’1”, 180-pounder spurned in-state powers FSU and Miami, and he has a great chance to make an early impact at receiver, considering Alabama loses its top four receivers from 2011. 

    Cooper is a 4-star prospect, and rated as the seventh best receiver prospect by ESPN. 

    Enrolled at Alabama

Chris Black, Wide Receiver, First Coast HS, Jacksonville, FL

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    Black is another talented pass catcher from the Sunshine State that Saban and his staff were able to pluck away from FSU and Florida.

    ESPN rates Black as the second best wideout in the country, only behind Green-Beckham, and like Cooper, he is a candidate for early playing time.

    Black had a strong senior season, amassing 58 catches for 939 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

    Enrolled at Alabama

Dillon Lee, Linebacker, Buford HS, Buford, GA.

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    Despite his older brother Dallas already on the roster at Georgia, Lee spurned the home-state Bulldogs for the chance to play his college ball in Tuscaloosa.

    The U.S. Army All-American is one of the top linebackers in the Peach State, and comes from a decorated high school program with a rich tradition of winning class AA state titles. 

    Lee racked up 84 tackles, nine sacks, and five interceptions during his junior season.

    ESPN rates Lee as the nation's sixth best linebacker in the nation.

    Enrolled at Alabama

Travell Dixon, Cornerback, Eastern Arizona College, Thatcher, AZ.

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    Dixon will likely fill the void left with the graduation of DeQuan Menzie, another former JUCO corner who starred for the Tide.

    Dixon gives the Tide another big corner at 6’2, 200 pounds, and the 4-star product will be in the thick of the battle to lock down one of the two open spots at corner.

    Dixon has two seasons of eligibility, and recorded seven interceptions in two seasons on the JUCO level.

    Rivals rates Dixon as the 2nd best JUCO cornerback prospect in the nation.

    Enrolled at Alabama

Deion Belue, Cornerback, Northeast Mississippi CC, Boonesville, MS.

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    Belue was originally a part of Alabama’s 2009 recruiting class, but failed to qualify and headed to the JUCO ranks. 

    Like Dixon, Belue will compete for the spots vacated by Menzie and Dre Kirkpatrick in the secondary, and could potentially be a candidate to return kicks and punts.

    Belue recorded one interception in 2011, and returned a kickoff and a punt back for touchdowns.

    Belue was ranked as the 40th best corner in the class of 2010 by ESPN.  

    Enrolled at Alabama

Alphonse Taylor, Defensive Tackle, Davidson HS, Mobile, AL.

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    Taylor was a long-time commit to FSU as an offensive tackle, but switched up schools and his future position on the collegiate level.

    Nick Saban plans to use the 6’5”, 330-pound Taylor as a run-stuffing defensive tackle in the Tide’s 3-4 scheme. 

    Taylor played at defensive tackle in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic held last month in Montgomery, and Rivals listed him as the 39th rated defensive tackle for the class of 2012.

    Enrolled at Alabama

Reggie Ragland, Linebacker, Bob Jones HS, Madison, AL.

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    Ragland is ranked as the top inside linebacker in the country by Rivals, and was selected to play in the Under-Armour All-American game.

    Ragland committed last January and has been busy ever since helping the Tide assemble a star-studded class. 

    During his junior season, Ragland recorded 91 tackles, including a staggering 21 tackles for loss.

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Geno Smith, Cornerback, St. Pius X HS, Atlanta, GA

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    Smith is a consensus top 100 prospect nationally, and is rated among the top corners in the country. 

    The U.S. Army All-American committed in August before his senior season, and will challenge Dixon and Belue for playing time in the secondary. 

    Smith racked up eight interceptions in his junior season, and is rated as the 2nd best corner in the country by ESPN. 

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Cyrus Jones, Athlete, Gilman HS, Baltimore, MD.

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    Jones is a talented athlete capable of playing wide receiver or in the secondary on defense.

    Look for the Under-Armour All-American to start out at receiver, after choosing the Tide over Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Auburn. 

    Jones had over 1500 rushing and receiving yards combined, and 19 total touchdowns during his senior season. 

    Rivals rates Jones as the nation's 6th best athlete.

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Denzel Devall, Linebacker, Bastrop HS, Bastrop, LA.

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    Devall is another talented defender that Saban and his staff plucked out of the state of Louisiana, and has remained solid since his pledge last month. 

    The 6’2, 240-pounder is a part of a decorated group of linebackers headed to Tuscaloosa, with Devall likely to start out at one of the two middle spots in the Tide’s 3-4 alignment. 

    Devall registered 88 tackles in his junior season and is the 5th best inside linebacker in the country according to Rivals. 

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Kenyan Drake, Running Back, Hillgrove HS, Powder Springs, GA

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    Drake is one of Georgia’s top running back prospects, and selected the Tide last February over offers from in-state powers Georgia and Georgia Tech.

    While Yeldon may garner the headlines on Signing Day, the 6’1”, 195-pound Drake will enter the fight for playing time in the Tide backfield next season.

    Drake accounted for over 1900 rushing and receiving yards combined, and scored 25 total touchdowns during his senior season.

    Rivals rates Drake as the nation's 13th best running back for the class of 2012.

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Brandon Greene, Offensive Tackle, Cedar Grove HS, Ellenwood, GA.

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    Greene was another Peach State product that committed to Alabama early in the process.

    Although he committed to the Tide last March, the Under-Armour All-American has been a target for Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs. 

    The 4-star standout visited Georgia in December, but remained an Alabama verbal. 

    He may be one of the few prospects worth keeping an eye on when Wednesday rolls around.

    ESPN rates Greene as the nation's 6th best offensive tackle available in this class.  

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Tyler Hayes, Linebacker, Thomasville HS, Thomasville, AL

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    Hayes rounds out a linebacker class that will likely be lauded as the nation’s best.

    The 6’2, 220-pounder is a candidate to line up as one of the Tide’s two outside linebackers.

    Hayes committed to the Tide last February and has remained solid. 

    After a standout senior year, Hayes was named Class 4A lineman of the year.

    Rivals rates Hayes as the 12th best outside linebacker in the nation.  

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Dakota Ball, Defensive Tackle, Pepperell HS, Lindale, GA

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    Ball committed to Alabama in October of 2010, and despite offers from Clemson, Georgia and Georgia Tech among others, he has remained solid to the Tide.

    The Under-Armour All-American played tight end in addition to lining up on the front four on defense.

    Ball is a 3-star prospect according to Rivals, 247 Sports, and ESPN.

    ESPN ranks him as the 27th best defensive tackle prospect available in the class of 2012.

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Brandon Hill, Offensive Tackle, St. George’s HS, Collierville, TN

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    Hill is a mammoth offensive line prospect that chose Alabama over offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia and Kentucky among others.

    However, Hill has continued to take his official visits, with both Magnolia State schools receiving visits over the final two weekends before Signing Day.

    Because of that, Hill remains one of the prospects to watch on Feb. 1.

    Rivals ranks Hill as the 57th best offensive tackle prospect in the class of 2012.   

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Alec Morris, Quarterback, Allen HS, Allen, TX

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    Morris is a 3-star pro-style signal caller who decommitted from Wake Forest and pledged to the Crimson Tide.

    He may not be a 5-star prospect like Kiel or Winston, but Alabama’s last 3-star quarterback from the Lone Star State won a national championship in Tuscaloosa.

    The 6’4”, 236-pounder threw for over 3,000 yards and 35 touchdowns during his senior year.

    ESPN ranks Morris as the 46th best quarterback in the 2012 class.

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Darius Philon, Defensive Tackle, Vigor HS, Mobile, AL

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    Philon committed to Alabama in September 2011 over offers from Auburn, Kentucky and Mississippi State among others. 

    The 6’2”, 260-pounder displayed his versatility by playing tight end, defensive end and defensive tackle during his senior season.

    Philon is recovering from a meniscus tear in his knee suffered at the end of the season, but should be fine in time for the beginning of his college career.

    Philon is rated as the 20th best defensive end in the nation by Rivals.

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Caleb Gulledge, Offensive Tackle/defensive End, Prattville HS, Prattville, AL

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    Despite a late push from FSU, Gulledge remains firm to Alabama after committing back in October of 2010. 

    Gulledge is an athlete capable of lining up in the trenches on either side of the ball. 

    The 3-star prospect’s versatility is an asset in a class loaded with talent across the board.

    Rivals rates Gulledge as the 32nd best offensive guard available in this class.

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Darren Lake, Defensive Tackle, Sumter County HS, York, AL

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    Lake is a mammoth defensive lineman that the Tide can plug in the middle of their 3-man front. 

    The 6’4”, 320-pounder committed last June over an offer from SEC rival Tennessee.

    ESPN ranks Lake as the 54th best defensive tackle in the nation.   

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Adam Griffith, Kicker, Calhoun HS, Calhoun, GA

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    Griffith is the top kicker in the country according to 247 Sports , and given Alabama’s struggles in the kicking game earlier in the 2011 season, nabbing a talented placekicker is certainly more than an afterthought in this class.

    Griffith is a 3-star prospect who chose the Tide over offers from Georgia, LSU and Vanderbilt. 

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Kurt Freitag, Tight End, Buford HS, Buford, GA

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    Freitag was a coveted pass-catching tight end that chose the Tide over offers from Florida, FSU, Auburn and Arkansas among others.

    The 6’4”, 240-pounder has similar dimensions to departing Tide tight end Brad Smelley. 

    Freitag will enter a crowded depth chart, but given the Tide’s penchant to utilize two tight ends at the same time, the opportunity remains for Freitag to throw his hat into the ring as a freshman.

    ESPN rates Freitag as the 13th best tight end available in this class.

    Verbally Committed to Alabama

Casey Gladney, Wide Receiver, Columbia HS, Columbia, SC

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    The Crimson Tide went into South Carolina’s backyard to reel in the 6’1, 185-pound Gladney.

    Gladney chose Alabama last June over offers from Tennessee, Kentucky and Cincinnati.

    In his last season at the prep level, Gladney hauled in 55 receptions for 1,186 yards and 19 touchdowns.

    ESPN rates Gladney as the 37th best wide receiver prospect in the nation.

     

    Verbally Committed to Texas Tech on 2/1

Justin Taylor, Running Back, Booker T. Washington HS, Atlanta, GA

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    Taylor has garnered national headlines after news leaked out that Saban proposed the idea of grayshirting him due to his knee injury.

    Taylor has not officially decommitted from Alabama, but is exploring his options to enroll and be eligible to play this fall, with Ole Miss being the latest school to offer him that opportunity. 

    If he does not accept an offer from another school, expect Taylor to enroll at Alabama next January.

    He will be another player worth keeping an eye on this Wednesday.

    ESPN rates Taylor as the 36th best running back in the nation.   

    Verbally Committed to Alabama