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Alabama’s 2015 decommitments: How it helps? How it hurts?

Five days separate us from National Signing Day. Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban looks to lock up a seventh top-ranked recruiting class. Its fortune took a hit Thursday after losing three players, but of Alabama’s 23 commitments, 20 are four-star recruits or better.

Montrell Custis, Isaiah Prince and Rico McGraw all decommitted Thursday.

Custis, a three-star cornerback, is a Georgia native. He’s listed at 6-feet, 175 pounds. Custis is a sound tackler and displays solid coverage skills. He was clocked at a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash at Lovejoy High School. Alabama needs depth in its secondary, but with 5-stars Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kendall Sheffield coming in, losing Custis isn’t detrimental. The Crimson Tide also returns Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey, two five-star cornerbacks from its 2014 recruiting class.

McGraw, a four-star defensive back, is a Tennessee native. He’s listed at 6-feet, 190 pounds. McGraw was clocked at 4.50 in the 40-yard dash at Ensworth High School. He’s developed versatility, playing both cornerback and safety at Ensworth. McGraw’s departure does little damage to Alabama at corner, but it hurts some at safety. The Crimson Tide loses Landon Collins, Nick Perry  and Jarrick Williams.

It returns some talented players, including the Smith duo, Geno and Maurice, but Saban could always use versatile players at safety. 4-stars Deionte Thompson, Shawn Burgess-Becker and Ronnie Harrison are still in the fold for Alabama. The Crimson Tide also returns Laurence “Hootie” Jones to the secondary, a four-star recruit from its 2014 class.

Isaiah Prince’s removal from Alabama is where it hurts. He’s a four-star offensive lineman from Greenbelt, Maryland. Prince is listed at 6-foot-6, 272 pounds. Alabama looked at him as a solid offensive tackle. He was clocked at a 5.0 in the 40-yard dash at Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

Alabama looks to have 4-stars Lester Cotton, Richie Petitbon, Brandon Kennedy and Dallas Warmack all sign next Wednesday. It’s now targeting four-star offensive lineman Drew Richmond. Richmond is an Ole Miss commit. Alabama returns Cam Robinson, Ross Pierschbacher, Dominick Jackson, J.C. Hassenauer and Josh Casher from its 2014 class. Prince would have been an asset to help Alabama return to a dominant run blocking offensive line, but with the players it has returning, the Crimson Tide can still achieve success in 2015.

4-star receivers KJ Hill and Dalyon Charlot are being looked at by Alabama. Hill is strongly leaning toward Ohio State. A sign from Charlot brings more depth to the Crimson Tide at wide receiver. Lastly, Saban wants five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson. He is listed at 6-foot-2, 275 pounds out of Glen Saint Mary, Fla. Jefferson has pass rush specialist written on him.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 15 years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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