Some top recruits have wavered
By MICHAEL CASAGRANDE
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Less than two weeks before signing day, the final push begins in the cut-throat world of college football recruiting.
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If the current list of commitments stick to their word, Alabama is primed to ink another top five class when paperwork is signed Feb. 3.
Rivals.com and ESPN’s Scouts Inc., ranks the Crimson Tide’s 2010 haul third nationally while scout.com has the class fourth as of Saturday afternoon. Florida is the consensus No. 1, followed by Texas. Auburn is in the top five of all three as well by landing at No. 5 in two and No. 4 according to Rivals.
The Tide was ranked first in each of the past two recruiting seasons by rivals.com while scout.com had the 2008 class on top and the ’09 version second behind Ohio State.
Several top prospects, however, are riding the fence this January and could make a big difference by the time the race ends.
One of the biggest mysteries for Alabama is Greensboro, N.C., product Keenan Allen — the nation’s top-ranked safety. He committed to the Tide in November, but reportedly took an official visit to Clemson on Friday and has expressed interest in Tennessee, North Carolina, Maryland and California.
Allen is one of the 24 reported commitments of the 28 Alabama is allowed to sign per SEC rules. There is plenty of star power behind him, too.
Stanhope Elmore’s DeMarcus Milliner is a top-20 prospect overall and one of the top two defensive backs nationally, according to Scouts and Rivals. He was among a group of eight who enrolled early in Tuscaloosa so they could participate in spring practice.
Milliner and Allen could make an immediate impact or at least provide competition this fall in the depleted Tide defensive backfield. Only safety Mark Barron returns among 2009 starters.
Quarterback Phillip Sims, ranked second nationally at his position by both recruiting services, also enrolled this semester so he could participate in quarterback-heavy spring practices. Returning starter Greg McElroy and presumed heir AJ McCarron will be back, along with former top recruit Star Jackson.
Athlete Blake Sims also made things interesting for the Tide in recent weeks. He made waves by decommitting the day after Alabama won the national championship.
A little more than a week later, however, he reaffirmed his pledge to the Tide, but nobody’s ticket is officially punched until the national letter of intent is signed.