TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — University of Alabama football head coach Nick Saban returned to the Mal Moore facility for his presser on last week, after having a multitude of recruiting sessions.
Following his discussion on postseason awards, players graduating and his early thoughts on Clemson going into the College Football Playoff semifinal, Saban updated the media on two recruits that were cleared to practice with the team as it gears up for the Tigers on Jan. 1.
Defensive end Jarez Parks and cornerback Saivion Smith will be responsible for providing the Crimson Tide’s first-team offense with a good look into how Clemson’s defense may attack.
Parks was committed to Alabama’s 2017 class, but was forced to grayshirt and did not enroll with the rest of his teammates. A talented four-star from Sebastian (Fla.) High School, he was ranked the No. 7 weakside defensive end and 17th player in the state of Florida via 247Sports.
The 6-foot-2, 253-pounder does possess a lot quickness, and should be able to emulate Clemson’s dynamic duo Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell.
As for Smith, the former Louisiana State University cornerback becomes the third commitment for Alabama’s secondary.
He was a five-star prospect upon arriving at LSU, and in his lone season with the Tigers (2016) he totaled four tackles and two pass breakups in 10 games.
Smith spent all of last year at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College – accounting for 31 tackles, six pass breakups, two interceptions, one forced fumble and a touchdown. He also chimed in on special teams with 26 kick returns for 716 yards and one score in the return game.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, the product of IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) was listed as the top-ranked junior college defensive back in the 2018 recruiting cycle. With Alabama losing six defensive backs to the NFL Draft – Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ronnie Harrison, Levi Wallace, Hootie Jones, Tony Brown and Anthony Averett – getting Smith was a marquee priority.
The last time a recruit was able to practice early with the Tide and it paid off in success was sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts. He arrived in January of 2016 to help simulate Deshaun Watson in Alabama’s first meeting with Clemson.
His efforts in preparing A’Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams, Reggie Ragland and Reuben Foster among others assisted the team in capturing its first national championship of the playoff era in a 45-40 win.
Alabama is hoping for the same outcome with Parks and Smith.