Dissecting Alabama’s search for a QB after 5-star prospect Matt Corral’s de-commitment from USC
Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with Alabama’s search for a quarterback and a priority target commits elsewhere.
The latest on Alabama’s search for a 2018 QB
Matt Corral’s de-commitment from Southern California on Saturday was unexpected. The 247Sports 5-star quarterback from Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High School had been actively recruiting for the Trojans.
Now that he’s uncommitted, however, Alabama is in solid position of being the next school he chooses. 247Sports’ Tom Loy reported that Alabama, Florida and Georgia were the three schools that had the edge in Corral’s recruitment.
There is a big domino here that can impact the Tide’s chances with Corral. Justin Fields, the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat prospect from Kennesaw (Ga.) Harrison High School, is a major target for both Florida and Georgia. It’s very likely Fields is the top quarterback target for both schools. Fields told SEC Country on Sunday that those two schools were recruiting him the hardest. If one of those two schools land Fields, it’s likely that Corral will then be the next option for the school that misses on Fields.
SEC Country was told by a source last weekend that Corral will visit Tuscaloosa for the first time next month. A date for that trip isn’t set just yet, but a potential time for the visit could be for the Champions Cookout, which is one of Alabama’s biggest recruiting events of the summer for its elite targets. Another source close to the program said that the team is “really hoping” it can land Corral, the nation’s No. 2 pro-style quarterback.
Out of the three schools that supposedly have an edge for Corral, he has only visited Georgia. So, it’s safe to say the Bulldogs have a slight edge on the Crimson Tide and Gators.
Where USC turns now … and how that could impact the Tide
USC’s class took a major hit with the loss of Corral. Now, the Trojans are expected to put the full court press on 4-star Utah quarterback commit Jack Tuttle, who lives about two hours from the Southern Cal campus.
Tuttle is saying all of the right things right now about his commitment with the Utes. That’s important because Alabama would love to flip Tuttle, as well. He has a committable offer from the Crimson Tide and is one of the team’s top targets.
Like Corral, Tuttle hasn’t visited Tuscaloosa before. But Tuttle also doesn’t have any plans to do so. If he doesn’t make a trip to Alabama, it will be almost impossible for the Crimson Tide to flip him.
What about Justin Fields?
Fields is being targeted by almost every single top college football team in the country.
It doesn’t seem likely that Justin Fields will be Alabama’s 2018 quarterback after his comments on Sunday. (Chris Kirschner/SEC Country)
But it doesn’t appear likely that he’ll choose Alabama. He told SEC Country on Sunday that while Alabama is in the mix, it shouldn’t be considered as strong of a contender as other schools.
“I just don’t talk to the coaches as much as I do with the other guys,” Fields said.
The “other guys” are Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Georgia.
Fields is expected to make a commitment before his senior season begins. And again, if either Florida or Georgia lands him, that’s one less school in the race for Corral.
So, who is the likeliest candidate to join the class?
This is a tough question to answer right now because no major quarterback prospect is clearly favoring Alabama. Compare that to last year and the situations with Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones before he flipped from Kentucky.
The Crimson Tide remain in the race for 4-star prospect Tanner McKee. But he’s in no rush to make a decision. As we have noted before, McKee will do a two-year Mormon mission trip after graduating high school. That effectively makes him a 2020 prospect. Because of that, it makes sense if he did commit to the Tide because the team’s current depth chart wouldn’t matter to him. Jalen Hurts will be gone by then and Tagovailoa and Jones would be either seniors or redshirt juniors.
Could in-state QB James Foster be the Tide’s 2018 QB? (Hale McGranahan/SEC Country)
James Foster, an in-state 3-star prospect from Montgomery, is committed to Missouri but continues to show up on visit lists to Alabama. He was expected to meet with Nick Saban during the weekend. What’s unclear is if Foster has a committable offer. If he does, things could get interesting. He grew up a major Alabama fan and has said that he dreamed of playing for the Crimson Tide. Foster makes sense for Alabama if he did flip his commitment because, in my opinion, he will need time to hone his skills in a program before being successful on the field.
As you can see, things are very murky with Alabama and quarterback recruiting this cycle. It’s understandable — the Tide have three young and talented prospects currently on their roster. Early playing time for any 2018 QB prospect in Tuscaloosa doesn’t look obtainable for a few years.
Emmit Gooden commits to Arkansas
Emmit Gooden was one of Alabama’s top defensive line targets in the Class of 2018. But after an official visit to Arkansas during the weekend, the junior college tackle committed to the Razorbacks.
This one surprised me because I had just talked to Gooden last week and he pretty much said that Alabama was his top school, and it was the team that was coming after him the hardest.
Clearly, Arkansas did a fantastic job locking up one of the most talented junior college prospects in the country before he left campus.
“It was just a good fit,” Gooden said. “But it’s a long ways until signing day. Don’t count ‘Bama out yet.”
Gooden said he’s locked in with Arkansas but may consider visiting Alabama in the future. He said that was the only school that could host him on a visit.
The 6-foot-4, 315-pound prospect would have been in SEC Country’s Alabama first mock signing class for this cycle that will come out later this week. He will no longer be included.
The team is in good shape with several defensive tackles in 2018 such as 4-star prospects Bobby Brown and Coynis Miller and 3-star prospect Jalen Cunningham. However, Cunningham still needs to have a good camp performance before he can commit. There are questions about his weight and if he’s actually a defensive lineman instead of an offensive guard. Junior college DL Caleb Tremblay received an offer from Alabama shortly after Gooden’s commitment to Arkansas. He balled out at the OL/DL camp during the weekend and is now a top target.
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