Each recruiting cycle brings forth its own set of challenges, which leads teams to develop different priorities from cycle to cycle.
In the 2020 cycle, Alabama has shown they want to add on wide receivers, linebackers and defensive linemen. The Tide reloaded on linemen, defensive backs and quarterbacks in their 2019 recruiting class. The 2021 cycle is sure to provide its own set of challenges as Nick Saban and his staff will continue to put a major focus on some key positions.
Alabama’s 2021 recruiting class has two 2021 commits and one plays a position, which could be a priority for the Tide.
The quarterback position will undoubtedly be a position of interest for Alabama in 2021 if their 2020 class keeps heading in the direction it is predicted to go in. No 2020 quarterback has given the Tide a verbal commitment and it is not out of the realm to think Alabama does not land a quarterback in their 2020 class. Their biggest target is USC commit, Bryce Young, but flipping him is far from a sure thing at this point.
Alabama offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian, may have to settle with signing a preferred walk-on, similar to what Alabama did in the 2018 cycle when they added on Braxton Barker out of Spain Park High School. If this route comes to fruition, Alabama is going to push hard to land one or two highly rated 2021 quarterbacks. They have already made moves on that goal by grabbing a commitment from 4-Star quarterback, Drake Maye.
The next group Alabama could take a deep look at is the offensive line. The Tide’s 2020 offensive line class looks to be wrapped up with commitments from Seth McLaughlin, Damieon George and Xavier Hill. After a huge haul in 2019, it made sense the Tide settled with a smaller number of offensive lineman in 2020, but with the number of offensive linemen Alabama could lose after the 2020-2021 season, the Tide would benefit from adding on four or five 2021 offensive linemen.
The linebacker group is also expected to be a priority for Alabama in 2021 due to depth and the importance of the linebacker position on Alabama’s defense. Saban has produced some great linebackers in Tuscaloosa and the Tide’s defense has been very good when they were anchored by good linebackers. It is no secret Saban wants to continue this tradition and get back to the place, where Alabama is simply reloading at the linebacker position with the next man up approach.
At the moment, Maye is joined by Alabama’s 4-Star defensive back commit, Latrell McCutchin, as the Tide’s only 2021 commits. One can expect the Tide’s 2021 class to add on some more recruits soon as it is no secret, Saban wants to stay ahead of the recruiting curve with the way the early signing period has affected college football recruiting.
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Justin Smith is a Scouting/Recruiting analyst for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via @Jdsmith31Smith