Alabama Football: Why Crimson Tide Are Just Fine Without 5-Star Robert Nkemdiche
The nation's No. 1 recruit was a defensive end prospect from SEC country. He was dominant at the high school level, and Alabama was thought to be his inevitable school of choice.
Yet, Jadeveon Clowney chose to sign with South Carolina, where he had a Freshman All-American season.
During that same season, Alabama won the BCS National Championship.
Today, the nation's No. 1 recruit, also a defensive end prospect from within the SEC territory who dominated in high school, made his commitment to a school in the Palmetto State.
A 6'5", 270-pound beast on the edges, Nkemdiche is a powerful specimen with a big-time surge at the snap, point of attack strength, speed and warrior-like competitiveness.
Alabama's defense, the national spotlight that comes along with it and the talent around him would have likely made Nkemdiche a superstar in Tuscaloosa.
Clemson landed a big-time recruit who should go on to be an amazing player. However, if you're Alabama or a fan of the program, tip your cap to Dabo Swinney's staff and simply move on.
As great as Nkemdiche is (and I mean great), from Alabama's point of view, you can just move on and be fine.
Well, look at how well you've recruited over the past six recruiting cycles; you have numerous No. 1 and top five classes, so talent isn't lacking in Tuscaloosa.
Yes, Nkemdiche's commitment to Clemson will sting and is a bit surprising to you, but in this class you still have a player that you can build your future defense around and still be dominant.
His name is Reuben Foster, and he's a linebacker that could be the next Patrick Willis.
You also hold commitments from defensive standouts such as CB Maurice Smith and DE Jonathan Allen. Also, don't rule out asking O.J. Howard to play OLB/DE, as opposed to a TE, either.
Plus, look at how many other elite and highly-ranked prospects you realistically have a shot at.
Prospects like DT Montravius Adams, OT Laremy Tunsil, WR Robert Foster, OLB Matthew Thomas, RB Derrick Henry, DE Tim Williams, DB Vonn Bell, OG Tyrone Crowder, TE Hunter Henry, DE Demarcus Walker and RB Alvin Kamara, among many more.
Those are all top-100 level players that have serious interest in playing at Alabama.
Listen, Nick Saban is still your head coach and you still have top-notch recruiters like Kirby Smart, Jeremy Pruitt and Chris Rumph recruiting for you.
After the shock wears off, look for Alabama's staff to move on and be just fine.
Plus, look on the bright side, at least Nkemdiche won't be in the SEC, right?
Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects & writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.
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