Alabama Football: 5 Recruits Nick Saban Can Flip
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Alabama’s season opener against Michigan on Sept. 1 is just weeks away, but do not expect Nick Saban to slow down his efforts on the recruiting trail.
The Crimson Tide’s 2013 class is holding steady with 18 verbal pledges, and with a precious few spots left for the current cycle, Saban and his staff will be selective in trying to find players that fit their remaining needs.
With national signing day still six months away, things are sure to get crazier—with the Tide already witnessing three decommitments from their own class thus far.
Considering their misses thus far and where they have been hurt by players that backed out on their pledges to Alabama, the biggest remaining spots that Saban hopes to add quality depth to appear to be defensive end, corner and offensive tackle.
Some of the biggest targets left on the board have committed to other schools, but as has been proven time and again over the years, nothing in recruiting is final until a prospect signs on the dotted line.
Which prep stars that are committed elsewhere should Tide fans keep an eye on as potential candidates to switch their choice to Alabama?
Here are five recruits that Saban can flip.
5. Holland Fisher
B/R Full Ride Spotlight on Holland Fisher
Fisher is an intriguing player from Virginia that is committed to in-state power Virginia Tech, but has remained open to the possibility of visiting the Capstone this fall.
After standout performances at Nike’s The Opening camp and at Gridiron Kings, there may not be a defensive back whose stock is rising more than Fisher’s. (h/t Gerry Hamilton, 247 Sports)
Fisher has been offered by Alabama and the 6’1”, 197-pounder has the ability to lineup as ball-hawking safety or a linebacker at the next level—which makes him appealing to a noted defensive backs guru like Saban.
It will be tough for the Crimson Tide to steal Fisher away from the Hokies, but considering he has interest in visiting Tuscaloosa, Fisher could join current Tide pledge defensive end Jonathan Allen as a Virginia product headed to Alabama to play his college football.
4. Austin Golson
OL Austin Golson highlights
With the loss of former commit Andy Dodd to LSU, Alabama has a need at tackle on the offensive line.
Golson—who has been committed to Florida State for more than a year—hails from Prattville (Ala.), which is just 90 minutes away from Alabama’s campus.
The 6’6”, 285-pound in-state product would give the Crimson Tide a versatile lineman capable of playing guard or tackle at the next level.
Although Golson has maintained his commitment to the Seminoles throughout his process, it would not be shocking for Saban to pluck an in-state FSU commitment late, like he was able to do in the last cycle with current true freshman offensive lineman Alphonse Taylor.
3. Marquez White
CB Marquez White highlights
Another home-grown product that has pledged his intention to play for Jimbo Fisher at Florida State is Dothan (Ala.) Northview corner Marquez White.
With the Crimson Tide offering the 6’1”, 175-pound two-sport standout, things are likely to remain interesting until next February considering his family’s connections to the Crimson Tide. (h/t Greg Ostendorf, ESPN).
Tallahassee is actually closer to his hometown than Tuscaloosa is, and White is comfortable with the Seminoles staff and their willingness to let him play basketball as well.
Alabama is likely to be in the market for a second corner to pair with Maurice Smith in the wake of Travell Dixon’s unexpected departure, and White will be a name to watch throughout the remainder of the process. (h/t Andrew Gribble, al.com).
2. Jeryl Brazil
ATH Jeryl Brazil highlights
One of the nation’s fastest prospects, Brazil was offered by Alabama when he made the trek to Tuscaloosa two weeks ago.
The Loranger (La.) native—who is committed to home-state power LSU—turned heads at Nike’s The Opening camp where he ran the fastest 40-yard dash time (4.32) at the event.
The 5’10”, 180-pounder is close to current Tide freshmen and fellow Louisiana natives Landon Collins and Bradley Sylve—and he spent some time learning about Alabama’s program from them on his visit. (h/t Matt Scalici, al.com)
With Brazil taking visits and leaving the door slightly open, expect Saban and the Tide to continue battling for the elite athlete’s services.
1. Robert Nkemdiche
B/R Full Ride video spotlight on Robert Nkemdiche and whether or not he should flip his commitment.
The nation’s consensus No. 1 prospect shocked recruiting fanatics by committing to Clemson in June over the likes of Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Ole Miss.
The Crimson Tide were presumed to be one of the favorites for the Grayson (Ga.) defensive end, but Saban has not given up his pursuit of Nkemdiche by any stretch. (h/t Greg Ostendorf, ESPN)
Nkemdiche has a healthy appreciation for the Crimson Tide program, and an outside possibility exists that he will end up visiting Tuscaloosa again in the fall.
Saban has proven to be a relentless recruiter time and again over the years, and taking into account his history of come-from-behind victories on the recruiting trail for former 5-star prospects like Cyrus Kouandijo and T.J. Yeldon amongst others, that type of determination may help him pull off another last-minute coup come next February.