Alabama Football: Top Recruits Visiting Tide for Spring Game Weekend
Alabama head coach Nick Saban annually uses the A-Day spring football game to keep his current players competitive and his fanbase frenzied. It also serves as a tool to lure in eventual roster replacements.
The Crimson Tide annually welcome an abundance of impressive high school prospects to Tuscaloosa during this event weekend, showcasing the campus, stadium atmosphere and all those recent championship rings.
In addition, it gives visitors and their families an opportunity to build personal relationships with members of the coaching staff. It's an element to watch closely as first-year offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin acclimates to his new role.
The list of anticipated recruits on campus continues to emerge and could still grow to include more prospects as the weekend approaches. Here's a look at those expected to be en route to Tuscaloosa.
Recruit information and statistics courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
5-Star CB Minkah Fitzpatrick (Jersey City, N.J.)
New Jersey cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick may be the most likely to leave Tuscaloosa as a Crimson Tide commit. The 6'0", 185-pound playmaker previously visited campus for a January junior day.
He is projected to pledge to Alabama by 85 percent of expert predictions in 247Sports' Crystal Ball. Fitzpatrick has been busy on the recruiting trail, with trips to Georgia, Florida State, Florida and Miami in February.
He led St. Peter's Prep to a state title game appearance last season, accounting for 977 yards and 14 touchdowns on offense. Fitzpatrick was an All-State selection at cornerback after collecting 62 tackles and four interceptions.
5-Star RB Damien Harris (Berea, Ky.)
Madison Southern High School standout Damien Harris revealed his intentions to visit Alabama Thursday night. He spent last weekend at Ohio State and is the top in-state recruiting target for Kentucky.
A 5'11", 205-pound running back, Harris is the nation's top-rated player at his position in 247Sports' composite rankings. He rushed for more than 2,600 yards and 42 touchdowns as a junior.
Harris, who decommitted from Michigan during the winter, received an offer from Alabama in February. His recent visits south include Florida State and Florida.
4-Star QB Zach Gentry (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Zach Gentry has quickly emerged as a hot commodity in a 2015 quarterback market that is quickly drying up with a series of commitments. The 6'7", 230-pound passer accounted for 2,200 yards and 25 total touchdowns in 2013.
Earlier this week, he told Rivals.com reporter Rob Cassidy (subscription required) that his focus is on four favorites. Alabama is joined by Texas, Tennessee and Oklahoma State.
Saban is still searching for a quarterback in this class after seeing 5-star California prospect Ricky Town flip his commitment to USC in January. Gentry spent time at Texas Thursday and will now make his first appearance in Tuscaloosa.
4-Star WR Calvin Ridley (Pompano Beach, Fla.)
Monarch High School wide receiver Calvin Ridley is coming off a monster junior season. He caught 41 passes for 1,131 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging more than 27 yards per reception.
Ridley, ranked No. 3 nationally in 247Sports' composite rankings, told Rivals.com (h/t AL.com) last month that Alabama is one of his five favorites.
"It's beautiful there," he said. "They've been on a winning streak for so long. All coaches are famous, but it's amazing to hear from Nick Saban sometimes."
Miami, Florida State, Clemson and Tennessee were also listed as teams in the mix.
4-Star ATH Shawn Burgess-Becker (Pompano Beach, Fla.)
Shawn Burgess-Becker is widely viewed as a package deal with Ridley, his high school teammate, but every recruiting process is unique and unpredictable. Rated the nation's No. 8 athlete, he starred at receiver and defensive back last season.
Burgess-Becker caught 20 passes for 518 yards and five touchdowns. He tallied 72 tackles and five interceptions, picking up offers from the likes of Georgia, Auburn and Notre Dame after the impressive campaign.
He named Alabama his No. 1 option in March during a conversation with 247Sports. If the Tide can land Burgess-Becker and Ridley, it's a pair that could propel Alabama to another top recruiting class.
4-Star TE Will Gragg (Pine Bluff, Ark.)
Arkansas tight end Will Gragg is a primary target of the home-state Razorbacks, but he'll be in Alabama this weekend, according to Rivals.com reporter Andrew Bone. The 6'4", 245-pound Pine Bluff High School standout is the younger brother of Chris Gragg, who was a rookie tight end with the Buffalo Bills last season.
He's seen offers pile up in recent weeks, including Notre Dame, Michigan State and South Carolina. Gragg is rated No. 6 nationally among players at his position in 247Sports' composite rankings.
This is his first visit to Tuscaloosa since a February junior day.
4-Star RB Bradrick Shaw (Birmingham, Ala.)
In-state running back recruit Bradrick Shaw was a late addition to this weekend's guest list, according to Rival.com reporter Andrew Bone. The 6'1", 205-pound prospect helped push national powerhouse Hoover High School to a state title in 2013.
Shaw rushed for nearly 1,300 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior, according to AL.com. He spent time at Ole Miss earlier this month and is now set to take a closer look at the Crimson Tide.
His other offers include Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.
4-Star RB Derrius Guice (Baton Rouge, La.)
Derrius Guice hails from LSU territory, but he hasn't shied away from the Tigers' primary rival. He earned a scholarship offer from Alabama while attending a February junior day.
Rated No. 7 nationally among running backs in 247Sports' composite rankings, Guice gained 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground last season. He's a frequent visitor to LSU, so Saban will view this as a key opportunity to sway him toward the Tide.
Guice is also weighing offers from Texas and Louisiana Tech.
3-Star RB Nick Gibson (Pinson, Ala.)
Alabama is set to host yet another running back recruit, as Nick Gibson will also be on campus. The Pinson Valley High School playmaker picked up an offer from the Tide during a campus visit in February.
The 5'11", 191-pound prospect visited Mississippi State last weekend. He holds offers from Florida State, Tennessee and Arkansas, among others.
2016 CB Chad Clay (Marietta, Ga.)
Georgia sophomore Chad Clay has quickly emerged among elite 2016 prospects. The 6'1", 170-pound Walton High School defensive back doesn't yet hold a reported Alabama offer, but that could change this weekend.
Clemson, Georgia Tech, Texas A&M and Nebraska have already extended offers. Clay rates ninth nationally among cornerback prospects in 247Sports' 2016 composite rankings.
2016 QB Josh White (Marietta, Ga.)
Josh White teams up with Clay at Walton High School and will spend time in Tuscaloosa with his sophomore classmate. The 6'5", 218-pound quarterback has already caught the eye of several collegiate scouts as an underclassman.
White attended recent junior days at Alabama and Texas. He was at Mississippi State last weekend, and the Bulldogs are the only high-level FBS squad to formally extend an offer so far.
His presence on campus gives Lane Kiffin an opportunity to assess White's potential as a top 2016 target.
2017 ATH Dylan Moses (Baton Rouge, La.)
Dylan Moses is the consensus No. 1 freshman football player in America. His September commitment to LSU turned heads, and so will his attendance at Alabama this weekend.
The 6'2", 220-pound linebacker didn't waste any time living up to the hype during his first season at University Lab High School. He compiled 176 tackles and forced six fumbles.
Moses, who has also visited TCU and Texas A&M in recent months, has a long-established rapport with Tigers coach Les Miles. This visit suggests he'd like to learn a little more about Saban and the Tide.