*This list will continue to be updated until National Signing Day on February 1, 2017*
With the 2016 Alabama commitments either on campus or preparing to move this summer, a new recruiting cycle is underway and the Crimson Tide is looking to add to their sixth-ranked recruiting class and climb its way to another top class in 2017.
In 2016, Nick Saban and staff were able to secure four players who were at one point on Touchdown Alabama’s Top Ten when they got the commitment of 5-star linebacker Ben Davis, fellow 5-star linebacker Lyndell Wilson, 4-star wide receiver Trevon Diggs and 4-star cornerback Nigel Knott.
Touchdown Alabama’s team of recruiting analysts have compiled a list of ten high school prospects being recruited heavily by the Alabama Crimson Tide that would best fit in the system and make an immediate impact in Tuscaloosa. National rankings and star ratings are not entirely factored into this list.
10.) Darnay Holmes – CB – Calabasas, CA – (Calabasas)
Darnay Holmes is a wanted man in the 2017 recruiting cycle and for good reason. Holmes may be the best player on the west coast and one of the most exciting players in the country. He has explosive speed, very quick feet and can turn, run and make a play on the ball with the best of them. His physicality is top notch and is great in press coverage.
Although he plays both ways for Calabasas, he is most likely going to be a corner at the next level. At 5’10”, 185 pounds he has the ideal size to play cover corner at the next level and not to mention he has the best all around skill set of any corner in this class. You can count on the 5-star to make a play in run support and make the big hit when you need him to, which makes him so versatile as a true corner. Not only can he be your top corner but he can also return kicks and punts, something he does at an excellent level.
Holmes at one point released a top seven that consisted of Alabama, Arizona, Nebraska, Ohio State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington. As of right now Alabama, Ohio State, Arizona and Nebraska all look like the top options for Holmes. If Alabama can land the top corner and a few more in 2017, they may be deep as ever at the cornerback position.
9.) Labryan Ray – DE – Madison, AL – (James Clemens HS)
Labryan Ray has burst on to the recruiting scene recently after a great camp circuit and junior year, picking up seventeen offers since the beginning of the new year all from power five programs including nine SEC schools.
Although Ray is a defensive end, he has the frame to grow into a defensive tackle at the next level, very similar to Alabama signee Quinnen Williams . He possesses good length and carries his weight well. He is that guy on defense that has the motor and it shows in his game, always being around the ball and seemingly not getting tired. Ray is a coach’s dream, playing disciplined and doing his job at all times.
Right now Alabama, Tennessee and Florida State look to be the front-runners for Ray, but only time will tell with the four-star prospect as his stock continues to rise.
8.) Kendall Randolph – OT – Madison, AL – (Bob Jones HS)
From 2011-2015, the last name Randolph was a familiar name in Crimson Tide athletics as Levi Randolph led the Alabama basketball team as the team’s captain. But now, there could be a new Randolph taking on Tuscaloosa. Kendall Randolph is a 6’5″, 280 pound offensive tackle out of powerhouse Bob Jones High School in Madison.
Randolph is a bruiser at tackle who excels at run blocking. He uses his exceptional footwork to get to the second level and consistently drives through blocks to neutralize defenders. He will likely put some weight on to his frame if he wants to play tackle at the next level. Some schools are starting to recruit him as a guard and Randolph has opened up to that possibility. With some minor tweaks to his game, the ceiling is tall for the all-state tackle. “Randolph has the potential to be a stalwart along an offensive front at the collegiate level.” said Touchdown Alabama recruiting analyst Derek Hooper.
7.) Nate McBride – LB – Vidalia, GA (Vidalia Comprehensive)
After missing the 2015 season to injury, Nate McBride is ranked as the country’s top inside linebacker and is ready to make his return known. At 6’2″, 220 pounds, he is the ideal size for a program’s middle linebacker and plays like it too. He is very fast, running in the 4.5 range in the 40-yard dash and has the “it” factor of being the smartest player on the field. McBride sees things happening on the field quickly and gets to the ball with an aggression that may be unparalleled. His aggressive demeanor on the field is one of his biggest strengths, especially when you combine it with his elite speed and being a disciplined player.
Alabama and Georgia look to be the favorites for the 4-star prospect, but Auburn has gained ground in the last month or so, but expect it to come down to the Bulldogs and Tide for Nate McBride.
6.) Jeffrey Okudah – S – Grand Prairie, TX (South Grand Prairie)
There is a reason that Jeffrey Okudah is ranked as the top safety in the 2017 class and it’s simple, he can do it all. Okudah is about as versatile of a defensive back prospect as they come in this class, playing both corner and safety in high school. He has the prototypical size at 6’1″, and has a 185-pound frame that he will likely build on within the next year and a half.
Okudah is a head-hunter and you can see it in his film, he has great power to his hits but also never tackles out of form, something that a lot of today’s players forget to do at times. But you can also line him up in the box and send him after the quarterback or a run play, which is what makes him so versatile. Okudah also possesses great ball skills being able to match up on anyone he covers and using his athleticism to go up with them for the ball. This is something Alabama has seen in its past safeties from the likes of Landon Collins and HaHa Clinton-Dix, guys who can hit, who can get down on the line and make plays in coverage too.
Ohio State currently leads for the 5-star prospect with Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Stanford and Texas A&M are also in the mix for this versatile defensive back.
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5.) Nico Collins – WR – Pinson, AL (Clay-Chalkville)
Collins, the newly ranked top player in the state of Alabama is about as intriguing of a wide receiver prospect as there has been in recent memory. At 6’5″, 195 pounds, he has freak of nature like size that can impact any program’s passing game on the outside and adds a skill set that stands out among a really deep wide receiver class.
The 4-star wide receiver has natural hands, never using his body to cushion the ball, which is big for a prospect who will inevitably play on the outside. Better than most, Collins’ ability to come back to the ball and make a play could benefit any program, very similar to the impact that Mike Evans had for Texas A&M in 2013. Very similar to his former teammate and current Alabama early enrollee wide receiver T.J. Simmons, he has a knack for blocking, which was necessary in Clay-Chalkville’s spread offense. Overall, he is a very athletic possession receiver who will only gain attention as he becomes the focal point of his high school team’s offense.
Collins recently released a top five in no order of Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, and Michigan. At the moment Alabama and Georgia look to be the favorites but Michigan is coming on very strong.
4.) Markail Benton – LB – Phenix City, AL (Central)
Benton, the number two player in the state of Alabama is about as prototypical as they come for a linebacker. At 6’2, 230 pounds he has the frame and also has the physical skill set to go along with it. He is used as a pass-rusher as well as a coverage linebacker for the Red Devils.
The 4-star linebacker may have a future at inside linebacker due to his ability to move downhill, his natural nose for the ball and his thick frame, very similar to a Reggie Ragland build. He has also shown his running ability, especially at the Under Armour Future 50 camp in Orlando in January. He has good speed getting to the ballcarrier and uses it to shed defenders. Although he has been caught over-pursuing at times, he still makes the plays. One underrated factor of Benton’s game is his ability to drop back in coverage. He showed that many times in Orlando, adding a few pass breakups to his overall impressive showing. That ability can translate very well for any program at the next level.
In-state rivals, Alabama and Auburn look to be the leader for the Phenix City prospect’s services, but schools like Mississippi State and LSU are trying to gain ground on the Iron Bowl recruiting rivalry.
3.) Marvin Wilson – DT – Bellaire, TX (Episcopal)
After landing three elite defensive tackles in the 2016 class, following sending A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed to the NFL, the Tide look to be in good position to land the No. 1 tackle in the 2017 class and top player in the state of Texas.
Wilson plays like with a force that has yet to be stopped on the camp circuits and at the high school level. He has great timing with his hands off the attack and add his athleticism at 320 pounds on top of that. He has the frame and athleticism to be pass-rushing defensive tackle on a four-man line.
Alabama, LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State and Baylor look to be the top schools in this chase. Wilson has also committed to play in the U.S. Army All American Bowl.
2.) Jerry Jeudy – WR – Pompano Beach, FL (Deerfield Beach)
Deerfield Beach High School has put out an elite receiver the last two recruiting cycles with current Alabama star wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who was the top receiver in the 2015 class and his younger brother Cavin “Riley” Ridley, who was a top-ten ranked receiver in 2016 and is now an early enrollee at Georgia.
Now in 2017, it’s Jerry Jeudy’s time. Jeudy, the number eight-ranked wide receiver might be the fastest player in this class, using his elite speed to get upfield and using his quick footwork to avoid being jammed at the line. At 6’1″, 180 pounds, the 4-star prospect has ideal size to play in the slot and outside, not to mention his leaping ability and solid route tree can also attribute to that versatility.
Alabama is currently the leader for Jeudy’s services, followed by Miami, Georgia, Florida State and Florida. Jeudy’s speed could put him in position to make an impact right from the jump in Tuscaloosa, whether that be of special teams or from the wide receiver spot.
1.) Dylan Moses – LB – Baton Rouge, LA (IMG Academy- Bradenton, FL)
Dylan Moses has been one the country’s most sought after prospects since he was in the eighth grade. Standing at 6’2″, 220 pounds, Moses possesses the size to make an immediate impact at the outside linebacker spot wherever he lands. He also has off-the-charts athleticism that sets him apart from almost any prospect in this class. He can get sideline to sideline and seems to have a nose for the ball and an even better nose for dropping back into coverage.
After decomitting from LSU earlier this year Moses gave out his top five lead by Alabama, followed by Michigan, Texas, Georgia and USC. The home town Tigers are making their way back into the race for the nation’s second-ranked prospect, but Alabama looks like the team to beat. His main recruiters Burton Burns and Tosh Lupoi will look to lure Moses to Tuscaloosa come National Signing Day. [/ihc-hide-content]