Alabama Recruiting: 5 Elite DEs Tide Should Focus on After Nkemdiche Snub
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The fallout from the commitment of 2013’s top-rated prospect—Grayson (GA) defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, who pledged to Clemson two weeks ago—continues with Alabama still actively pursuing Nkemdiche, but keeping a watchful eye on other talented pass-rushers (h/t Matt Scalici, al.com).
Although the Crimson Tide were believed to be favorites to land the elite defensive end, Nick Saban and his staff must move forward in their quest to land a difference maker that can wreak havoc on the edges in their 3-4 defense.
Even though the 6’4”, 275-pound Nkemdiche is a rare talent, there are several recruits that Alabama has offered that are capable of filling their need for a strong-side defensive end to complement the Tide’s other stud pass-rushing commit Jonathan Allen (h/t 247sports.com).
Which players are on the radar that could possibly fill that role?
Here are five elite defensive ends that the Crimson Tide should focus on after being snubbed by Nkemdiche.
5. Antonio Riles
Riles is a prospect that flew under the radar until he visited Tuscaloosa to participate in Saban’s prospect camp earlier this month.
The 6’4”, 265-pounder from Lawrenceville (GA) made enough of an impression to earn an offer from the Crimson Tide.
Considering his versatility in being able to play multiple positions up front, Riles—currently rated as a 3-star prospect by 247 Sports—is a name to keep an eye on in terms of prospects on the rise.
Riles also sports offers from Florida, Georgia, Clemson and South Carolina amongst others—with the Gators and the Bulldogs believed to be the main players for him at this point.
4. Joey Bosa
Even though Bosa committed to Ohio State two months ago, that hasn’t stopped several programs—including Alabama—from pursuing the talented 4-star prospect.
The Fort Lauderdale (FL) product is an elite talent—in fact, he’s the No. 2 strong-side defensive end (trailing only Nkemdiche) according to 247 Sports.
While he remains a long shot, it does Saban and his staff no harm to keep the lines of communication open with a talent like Bosa.
The Crimson Tide were in his final group before he committed, which could help them jump in the mix should Bosa have a change of heart later in the recruiting process.
3. De'Asian Richardson
Richardson is another pass-rusher from the Sunshine State on the Crimson Tide’s radar.
The 6’3”, 280-pounder—who holds an Alabama offer—visited Tuscaloosa for Alabama’s spring game in April and gave the trip rave reviews.
The Orange Park (FL) native is another versatile defensive lineman who could be a defensive tackle in some schemes, but he’s a 4-star talent that could fit in nicely as a 3-4 defensive end.
Richardson holds offers (h/t 247 Sports) from Florida State, Auburn, South Carolina and Michigan State amongst others—with the Seminoles and the Tigers believed to be the top contenders in his recruitment.
2. Alquadin Muhammad
Muhammad segment from 2:06-2:30
The Crimson Tide already have a commitment from one of New Jersey’s best 2013 prospects in safety Anthony Averett—and Saban would love to add to that by plucking the Garden State’s top prospect.
The 6’4”, 230-pound Muhammad is one of the nation’s top defensive end recruits, and his offer list (h/t 247 Sports)—which consists of Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Oklahoma amongst several others—reflects his status as a national recruit.
Although the Crimson Tide have not been a major factor in his recruitment thus far, it would not hurt to turn up the heat on a prospect of Muhammad’s caliber.
JC Shurburtt of 247 Sports tweeted that the Irish may be Muhammad’s current leader, but if Alabama can get him down to Tuscaloosa for a visit, that could help them get their foot in the door.
1. DeMarcus Walker
The Crimson Tide have been hot on Walker’s trail for several months, and the 6’3”, 276-pounder visited Tuscaloosa last week for their offensive and defensive linemen camp.
The trip was his second visit to the Capstone (he visited for the A-Day game in April), and according to Charles Power of 247 Sports, the nation’s fourth-best strong-side defensive end will make his choice on Aug. 3.
The home-state Gators are believed to be neck-and-neck with the Crimson Tide for Walker—who also holds offers from Florida State, Auburn and Clemson amongst several others.
Should he select Alabama in early August, his commitment would be an effective answer to offset the blow of losing Nkemdiche.