For all the technological advances made in the realm of communication, the final acts of the recruiting process are blatantly old-fashioned.
Finally, national signing day for college football prospects, the high school seniors will put down their cell phones and laptops long enough today to put ink to paper. It’s not official until the paper work is faxed — not Tweeted or texted — to their school of choice.
After Alabama stocks up on ink and toner, there shouldn’t be many surprises coming over its phone line, although the past few days have been eventful.
Most notably missing from the stack of received letters should be five-star prospect Keenan Allen. Once committed to Nick Saban and the Tide, the safety reportedly backed out of his pledge earlier in the week and will choose between Cal, Clemson or Penn State today.
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Without Allen, Alabama dropped to fourth in the team rankings on Scout.com and Rivals.com that assess the value of each class based on commitments. That would break the streak of No. 1 classes at two years when using Rivals’ evaluation.
The Allen defection still leaves the Tide with six defensive backs planning to sign today to help fill the gaps left when four of the top five secondary players depart from the 2009 season.
Not all is lost. Bama got a boost on the eve of the big day when four-star offensive lineman Arie Koutndjio told the Washington Post he chose Alabama over USC and New Mexico.
Former Auburn commitment and Mississippi’s top prospect Shon Coleman recently visited Tuscaloosa. By today, he’ll choose between the Tide, Tigers, Ole Miss and Miami, another school he recently visited according to the recruiting services.
One other offensive linemen, James Stone, has Alabama on their short list. Both Coleman and Stone perceivably have spots open even if all remaining committed players sign. Entering today, the Tide have 26 players pledging their services and new Southeastern Conference rules limit signing classes to 28 members.
Other offensive linemen Arie Kouandjio and James Stone have Alabama on their short list, and all threebut perceivably have spots open evenonly two of the three could make it official if all the remaining committed players sign. Entering today, the Tide have 256 players pledging their services and new Southeastern Conference rules limit signing classes to 28 members.
Graduating nine of 11 starters from one of the nation’s best defenses didn’t mean the Tide overstocked on players from that side of the ball. Of the 26 25 known commitments, 12 play offense, 12 are defenders and12 play defense, 11 offense and two are specialists.
Several big names remain locked into their commitments to Alabama including one of the nation’s top quarterbacks. Phillip Sims, ranked second among quarterbacks by Scout and Rivals, was among a small group that took all intrigue out of signing day. He’s among the seven players who enrolled at Alabama in January and is already taking classes so to participate in spring practices.
The defensive gem of the class joined Sims in Tuscaloosa early. Defensive back DeMarcus Milliner of Millbrook is the No. 1 cornerback in the nation according to Scout and second by Rivals’ evaluation and could make an immediate impact after losing All-American Javier Arenas, Kareem Jackson, Marquis Johnson and Justin Woodall from the defensive backfield.
Milliner will have some familiarity with his fellow incoming freshmen in the secondary. He was joined by fellow-committed players Jarrick Williams and Nick Perry in the backfield for Alabama in the annual all-star game with Mississippi in December.