Alabama Crimson Tide: Key 2021 in-state targets
The University of Alabama signed eight of the top 11 players in the state in 2020 which included three members of the Rivals100- Demouy Kennedy, Roydell Williams and Quandarrius Robinson. The Crimson Tide also signed Mr. Football, Kristian Story. He broke the AHSAA career record for total offense (13, 219 yards) and touchdowns (175).
Alabama also added Jah-Marien Latham, the Class 1A Lineman of the Year (2018), Jackson Bratton, the Class 6A Lineman of the Year (2019), along with first team All-State selections Malachi Moore and Javion Cohen.
Can Alabama carry the momentum into 2021? The early top targets for the Crimson Tide are identified below. More targets will likely emerge, but these are the key players to know at this time.
Top of the line
'Kool-Aid' as most know him is the top player in Alabama. McKinstry can pretty much go anywhere in the country. He also also collected several scholarship offers in basketball including the most recent one from Nate Oats in Tuscaloosa.
He can play on either side of the ball. He hauled in 47 receptions for 700 yards and 12 touchdowns on offense last season. Kool-Aid hasn't named a list of favorites, but he is a frequent visitor in Tuscaloosa. Alabama is a hard team to beat.
Brooks jumped on the recruiting scene early and has seen his stock continue to rise. He is now close to 230-pounds. Alabama has turned up the heat in recent months after a very strong junior season. He has also been to Tuscaloosa several times in the last year.
Brooks has a top four of Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Tennessee. He is not in any rush to make a decision. He finished his junior season with 64 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.
Lawson made a surprise early commitment two days after Christmas when he announced for Alabama. Lawson was high on other programs such as Auburn and LSU when he decided to commit to Alabama. Sal Sunseri, recently named a top 25 recruiter in the country by Rivals.com, led the early charge for Lawson.
Lawson was named the Class 3A Lineman of the Year in 2019 after finishing with 134 tackles (101 solo), a sack and four tackles for loss. He also had 10 rushing touchdowns on offense.
Some may already consider Keenan a Tide commitment as many times as he has been to Tuscaloosa the last two years. Keenan has been the Tide's top in-state defensive tackle target since he was offered prior to the start of his junior season. Karl Scott, also considered one of the best recruiters in the country, has been relentless in his pursuit of Keenan.
Keenan can also almost choose any school in the country, but Alabama looks firmly in the driver's seat for his signature at this time. He often talks regularly to former Alabama star and first rounder Quinnen Williams who has become a mentor.
The next wave
Williams has quickly seen his offer list explode with the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, Stanford and Virginia Tech. Williams collected an offer from Alabama prior to Junior Day two weekends ago.
Williams recorded 35 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and four sacks in 2019. Alabama will likely have a small outside linebacker class after its impressive haul in 2020. Alabama will continue watching Williams this spring/summer as he is now on the Tide's radar.
Alabama took a little while longer than most in extending an offer to the state's top ranked defensive lineman according to Rivals. Hunter recorded 77 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and eight sacks during his junior season.
Hunter received an offer from Alabama in October. He then committed to Auburn in December. Alabama will continue to keep an eye on Hunter throughout the spring and summer as his development is key in the Tide's pursuit.
There is definitely a lot of interest in Ian Jackson who recently attended the Tide's Junior Day. Alabama extended an offer, but will likely want to see him in camp to determine exactly which position he will play on the next level before a major push.
Jackson had a fantastic junior season with 91 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, six sacks and an interception. His offer list also includes Iowa, Louisville, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas A&M and West Virginia.
Lassiter earned an offer from Alabama at the Tide's camp last June. He has remained on the Tide's radar after an impressive junior campaign which included 41 receptions for 939 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also had four interceptions, six pass break-ups and a punt return for a touchdown.
His offer list includes Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. He is expected to play on the defensive side of the ball. Alabama will likely continue evaluating to determine which position is best for his future. The local star has been to the Tide's campus many times throughout the last year.
Other players high in regard without an Alabama offer
Lewis was invited to Alabama's Junior Day two weekends ago. He did not walk away with an offer, but there is high interest. Lewis has early offers from schools like Duke, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisville, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas A&M and West Virginia.
Lewis jumped on the recruiting scene after a sensational junior season with 68 receptions for 1,308 yards and 20 touchdowns for the Class 5A state runner-up. He also had two touchdown receptions in the state championship game.
Bennett is another outstanding in-state receiver to know. His uncle, Earl Bennett, is a former SEC star receiver for Vanderbilt and former Chicago Bear. Malachi had a breakout junior season with 45 receptions for 821 yards and nine touchdowns.
Bennett has the athletic ability to play on either side of the ball. Alabama will try to determine which position it will pursue Bennett this spring, but most likely on offense. Bennett was in Tuscaloosa for Junior Day. He has several offers including Georgia Tech, Illinois, Louisville, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
Bell is a monster athlete who stars on both sides of the ball. He had 26 receptions for 415 yards and six touchdowns on offense in 2019. He also had 28 tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks, seven quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery in which he scored a touchdown.
Bell has taken quite a few trips to Tuscaloosa, but has yet to receive an offer. His offer list includes Auburn, Florida, Illinois, Nebraska, Purdue, and Tennessee.
Burkhalter is a big athlete who has played on both sides of the ball. He moved to the defensive side in 2019. He recorded 55 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. His offer list includes Arkansas, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Missouri, Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Other players to keep a watchful eye
Goodwin suffered a torn ACL and MCL early in his junior season. He gave an early commitment to Auburn last spring. The injury, and the fact Alabama signed three running backs in 2020, is tough to receive a major push from the Tide once he is back to 100-percent. He is very talented prospect who will still receive attention.
Mosely is a very explosive athlete for the Yellow Jackets who committed to Tennessee during the summer. He had five receiving touchdowns and also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns.
Jeffery is another local talent at ACA who has been a little overshadowed by teammate, Kamari Lassiter. He put up impressive numbers during his junior season with 82 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles. He also had 600 yards receiving and six touchdowns. His offers include Georgia Tech, Mississippi State and Tennessee.
Taylor was a major receiving option for the Yellow Jackets state title run in 2019 with 56 receptions for 1,090 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has pulled in several offers including Arkansas, Memphis and South Carolina.