Alabama's Push Toward No. 1 Class Begins with Monster Visit Weekend

Sanjay Kirpalani@@SanjayKirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystJanuary 20, 2017

Alabama has a huge crop of talented visitors on campus for official visits this weekend.
Alabama has a huge crop of talented visitors on campus for official visits this weekend.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With less than two weeks remaining until national signing day, it’s not surprising to see Alabama as the program that holds the inside track to finish with the No. 1 class in the 2017 recruiting haul.

The Crimson Tide sit comfortably atop the team rankings, and they will aim to put the finishing touches on a loaded class this weekend when they host a talented group of visitors on campus. 

According to 247Sports, six commitments from the class are scheduled to be in Tuscaloosa.

This will give head coach Nick Saban and his staff an opportunity to lock up a player such as 4-star linebacker Christopher Allen—who had taken an official visit to home state power LSU last weekend.

However, it’s the crop of uncommitted prospects that is likely to draw the most attention from the Tide’s coaching staff.

Alabama will welcome in five key targets this weekend: 5-star receiver Devonta Smith, 4-star receiver Henry Ruggs, 4-star defensive end LaBryan Ray, 4-star defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis and 4-star safety Todd Harris.

All five players rank among the nation’s Top 100 prospects overall, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility for all five players to select Alabama when they reach conclusions in their respective recruitments.

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According to the 247Sports Crystal Ball, the Tide are heavy favorites to land Smith, Ruggs and Ray.

Florida State, LSU and Miami are among the other schools in the mix with Smith—who is the nation’s No. 3 receiver and the No. 26 player overall in the 2017 class.

Ruggs, who is the nation’s No. 10 receiver and No. 76 player overall, is also considering Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Penn State.

Fellow in-state standout Ray—rated as the No. 6 defensive end and the No. 62 player overall—has Florida, Ole Miss and Tennessee among the programs still in the mix for his services.

This weekend could go a long way toward sealing up their recruitments with Tuscaloosa as the final landing spot for all three.

Harris and Mathis are likely to be battles that ultimately come down to Alabama and LSU—although Harris has taken an official visit to Arizona State and will use another to see TCU next weekend.

The Tigers have been the heavy front-runner for Harris and a slim favorite over the Tide for Mathis, per their 247Sports Crystal Ball pages.

Still, Saban and his staff are armed with plenty of positive momentum to make a run at closing strong with all of their top remaining targets.

With several members of the 2017 class on campus to help Saban accomplish that goal, this weekend is primed to be a pivotal stretch in Alabama’s quest to once again finish with the No. 1 recruiting class when the dust settles on national signing day.

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of