If national signing day ends for the Alabama Crimson Tide like it started early this morning with the commitment of 4-star defensive tackle Korren Kirven (Lynchburg, VA), then there will be only one word to describe the day: surprising.
The Crimson Tide have finished with the No. 1 overall recruiting class on Rivals.com four out of the past five years and took a step toward maintaining the top spot they hold right now in the 2012 rankings with Kirven's early-morning commitment.
The nation's No. 16-ranked defensive tackle and No. 206 overall prospect has signed his letter of intent and chose Alabama over Maryland, Virginia Tech and Tennessee.
Kirven's decision to sign with the Crimson Tide now gives them 27 total commitments, which leaves one spot open for Alabama if all of their commits fax their national letters of intent to Tuscaloosa.
There are five big-name prospects left on the board for Alabama, including the nation's No. 1 overall prospect, 5-star wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (Springfield, MO), who will announce his decision at 10:15 a.m. eastern time.
Do not expect the 6'6", 220-pound wideout to wind up with the Crimson Tide, though. Rivals analysts believe Missouri is the team to beat for Green-Beckham's services. Southeastern Conference foe Arkansas also appears to be firmly in the mix.
Crimson Tide fans should also not expect to land 5-star defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (Washington, District of Columbia), who appears to be bound for Florida State. Alabama also appears to be lagging behind Florida for 5-star cornerback Tracy Howard (Miramar, FL) and SEC rivals Auburn and Louisiana State for the services of 4-star outside linebacker Kwon Alexander (Oxford, AL).
The most likely candidate for the final spot in Alabama's 2012 class is 4-star defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (McDonough, GA), which would give the Crimson Tide two 4-star players at that position and five overall coming to Tuscaloosa next season.
"Alabama swung the momentum in its direction over the past month," Suttles wrote. "The Tide expect Tomlinson to sign for it on Wednesday."
Overall, there will be several commits with Alabama in their final tier of schools, but with only one spot available, there will not be much drama unless any of the Crimson Tide commits flip to another school.
Expect Alabama to once again reign supreme on the recruiting trail and be crowned as the top class on Rivals once they have secured a commitment from Tomlinson and received the letters of intent from their other committed prospects.
Zach Dirlam is the Lead Editor of College Basketball and Big Ten Columnist for the Fox Sports, MSN and YardBarker affiliate website Sports at Work. He is also undergoing a trial period as a Michigan Football Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Check out his blog, Dirlam’s Dirty Dugout Sports Blog, which features this story along with other articles and video reports on the major sports. Follow him on Twitter @ZachDirlam_SPAW!