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August 13, 2012

Top prospects closer to declaring

The University of Alabama is in full swing with fall practice, and there are new recruiting stories daily of prospects visiting Tuscaloosa, one signee who did not make it on campus with the 2012 signing class, and one commitment who has transferred schools to help improve his academic chances of making it on campus with his class of 2013. There is news on the horizon of a couple possible commitments.

The Crimson Tide coaching staff hosted a couple of elite prospects last weekend, including top commitment O.J. Howard, a tight end from Autauga Academy in Prattville, and Marquez White, cornerback from Northview High School in Dothan.

White committed to Florida State in May and received a scholarship offer from Alabama in June. He has been in Tuscaloosa three times since his announcement. White spent Saturday on campus with several family members.

"Alabama would probably be better for me," White said. "It would benefit me greatly if I went there."

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound athlete added, "It's crazy right now. I can't even explain right now the pressure I have on me. I just don't want to disappoint anyone."

Brandon Hill learned his fate last week when the NCAA Clearinghouse ruled him academically ineligible.

The 6-8, 370-pound offensive lineman signed with the Tide in February from St. George's School in Collierville, Tenn. Hill transferred to St. George's after his sophomore year from Manassas High School in Memphis.

He was forced to sit out his junior season but burst on the recruiting scene during the spring and summer prior to his senior season. He committed to Alabama last November. Hill hopes to trim his weight significantly this semester to 325 pounds.

"I am going to Hargrave," Hill said on Sunday evening of the prep school in Chatham, Va. "The plan is to return to Alabama in January. The issue was a class I took didn't get approved by the NCAA. It forced me to take two online courses. I still didn't qualify.

"The Alabama coaches wish it could have worked out for me. I think everything happens for a reason. I know I did everything I could to get eligible. I am going to prep school now to get better so when I get to Alabama in January I am going to compete for a starting spot."

Darius Paige has transferred from Washington High School in Pensacola, Fla., to Foley High. The 6-3, 297-pound defensive tackle, an Alabama commitment, first considered a move a few months ago after his former head coach resigned.

Paige has some work to do in the classroom and opted for a better opportunity at Foley, where he can earn eight credits per year on the block system instead of six credits at Washington High School. Paige has attended practices at Foley but has yet to participate. He is waiting word from the Alabama High School Athletic Association on whether the transfer is approved.

The Tide coaching staff might receive big news this month from a couple of top prospects from the Sunshine State.

DeMarcus Walker, a four-star defensive end from Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville, remains set on announcing his college decision Aug. 24. The Crimson Tide and Florida Gators are considered the frontrunners to land his signature in February.

Derrick Henry, a four-star running back from Yulee High School, has changed his mind a couple of times as to when he will announce his decision.

It's very possible Henry will make his pick before his senior season. Alabama remains the favorite for the 6-3, 245-pound former Georgia commitment's signature.

Join TideSports.com to keep up with the very latest recruiting news. TideSports.com is providing three online chat sessions per week for subscribers to keep informed of the latest news and notes from the Alabama team and recruiting.

The online chat schedule is as follows: Tuesdays at 7 p.m. with a rotation of Cecil Hurt, Tommy Deas and Aaron Suttles; a recruiting chat with Andrew Bone on Wednesdays at 6 p.m.; a team chat with Chase Goodbread on Thursdays at 8 p.m.

Reach Andrew Bone at andrew@tidesports.com. Follow on twitter at @AndrewJBone


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