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Alabama football close to taking over the top spot in recruiting rankings

The Alabama Crimson Tide landed two commitments on Saturday, pushing its commitment total to 18. Rivals100 defensive end Monkell Goodwine out of Maryland committed along with the top junior college cover corner in the nation Khyree Jackson out of East Mississippi. With the two new additions to the Tide’s now considered elite class of 2021, combined with Ohio State recently losing a commitment from Five-star defensive end Tunmise Adeleye, the Crimson Tide are closing in on the top spot in the national recruiting rankings.

Today, on BamaInsider.com we provide you with three things we’ve learned about this recruiting class, ask two questions and make one prediction.

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Three Things We've Learned 

1. Alabama now trails only Ohio State in the recruiting rankings

After Jackson committed on Saturday evening, Alabama moved to No. 2 behind Ohio State in the Rivals.com recruiting rankings jumping Florida who was previously ahead of the Tide. Star ranking wise, Ohio State also tops in the country with a prospect ranking average of 3.89, Alabama, and Georgia are tied in that category with an average prospect ranking average of 3.83.

LSU and Clemson are next in line when it comes to star ranking average, with LSU having an average of 3.81 and Clemson having a prospect ranking of 3.80. It’s important to look at the overall ranking, but also to look at the star ranking average because that factor indicates the quality of the committed prospect as opposed to the quantity. For example, Florida is no. 3 in the Rivals.com recruiting rankings with 25 committed prospects, but their star ranking average is just 3.56, Tennessee is currently ranked No. 4 in the Rivals.com recruiting rankings with 24 committed prospects, but their star ranking average is just 3.38.

How important is star ranking average? Well, to give you an idea, Alabama’s class of 2017 which finished first in the Rivals.com team rankings had a star ranking average of 4.1. That class included NFL 1st round draft picks: Tua Tagovailoa, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, Jedrick Wills Jr. along with projected NFL 1st round draft picks: Najee Harris, Alex Leatherwood, and Dylan Moses.

Also, keep in mind that Rivals.com has not updated their player rankings because of Covid-19, meaning that there are a few prospects from Alabama as well as other schools that could move up as well as move down in the rankings. So stay tuned…

2. The Tide is loading up on defense

11 of the 18 committed prospects are on the defensive side of the football. Alabama has been able to land some of the top players in the country, don’t let new addition Khyree Jackson’s rating of a three-star fool you, he can be a day one starter in 2021. Damon Payne, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle and the no.1 overall player out of Michigan is the Tide’s highest-rated player on defense followed by new addition Monkell Goodwine. The two defensive prospects are each members of the Rivals Top 100 list.

3. Tommy Brockermeyer is currently the highest-rated commitment

Texas offensive tackle Tommy Brockermeyer who committed in mid-July to Alabama is the overall highest-ranked player in this class for now. Remember, the new Rivals.com rankings should drop by the end of this month. Brockermeyer is ranked as No. 10 overall player in the nation in the no. 3 overall player in the Lone Star State. Jacorey Brooks a 6-foot-3, 180-pound receiver out of Miami, Florida is Alabama’s next highest-ranked committed prospect and is currently ranked as the no. 18 overall player in the nation and the no. 4 overall player from Florida.

Two Questions 

1. What are the remaining needs in the class?

Alabama is still looking to add a receiver to the class and with Malcolm Johnson recently committing to Auburn, the Tide will continue to heavily pursue Brian Thomas a 6-foot-4, 190-pound four-star out of Louisiana and also continue to stay in contact with Xavier Worthy, a three-star receiver out of Fresno, California that recently committed to Michigan. The Crimson Tide will also need to add a tight end and the main targets include Robbie Outz out of Rock Hill, South Carolina, and Jalen Shead a 6-foot-4, 235-pound prospect out of Mississippi. Currently, Alabama has four dynamic offensive line commitments, but a perfect class might include one more lineman. Five-star Amarius Mims pushed his commitment back to October 14 and Alabama is still in the mix despite being a heavy Georgia lean.

On the defensive side of the ball, Alabama is still likely to add another edge rusher or two and there is plenty of highly coveted prospects that are still on the board. The No. 1 player in the nation Korey Foreman who decommitted from Clemson is still undecided as is the No. 4 player in the Rivals 100 J.T. Tuimoloau out of Washington. Tunmise Adeleye a Five-star prospect just decommitted from Ohio State and Alabama is also still actively recruiting Tyreak Sapp, who is a Florida commitment. At the linebacker position, Alabama has four commitments and is still recruiting Xavian Sorey, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound priority target that recently transferred to the IMG Academy.

In the secondary, the Crimson Tide has four commitments and could take as many as six total defensive backs in this class. The no. 1 player in the state of Alabama Ga’Quincy McKinstry is still on the board as is Four-star defensive back Terrion Arnold. Landing both of these key targets down the stretch would be a slam dunk for Nick Saban. Alabama is also high on Four-star Sage Ryan out of Louisiana, but Ryan looks to be a strong LSU lean.

2. Will Alabama take a quarterback or a running back?

According to our recruiting analyst Andrew Bone, Alabama is going to take a quarterback in this year’s class. Alabama did have a commitment from Four-star pro-style quarterback Drake Maye, but Maye decommitted from Alabama and chose North Carolina back in March. Alabama is still in the mix for Four-star Jalen Milroe who is committed to Texas and also still actively recruiting Four-star Luke Atlmyer out of Starkville, Mississippi that is currently committed to Florida State.

The sleeper prospect at quarterback is Ty Keyes who is also from Mississippi. At 6-foot-1, 182 pounds, Keyes is committed to Tulane, but still very much hearing from the Crimson Tide. At the running back position, Alabama is pretty roster heavy, however, Alabama is still recruiting Five-star Camar Wheaton out of Texas, Alton McCaskill a three-star also out of Texas, and Alabama is still recruiting Armoni Goodwin, a 5-foot-8, 196-pound all-purpose four-star out of Trussville, Alabama that is committed to Auburn.

One Prediction

1. Alabama finishes with the No. 1 ranked class in the nation

Alabama is very close to jumping Ohio State already and if you read between the lines, the Crimson Tide is very close to landing additional marquee prospects, combined that with the fact that Rivals.com is soon to update their player rankings, you could see Alabama jump Ohio State sooner than later which is quite simply amazing considering that Ohio State had 14 commitments by the end of March 2020 and Alabama had zero during that same time frame.

Add to the fact that there is a good chance that both the Big Ten along with the PAC 12 conferences do not have college football this fall, you have to think that a few commitments who are planning to enroll early at Ohio State or any other Big Ten school or PAC 12 school for the 2021 season reconsiders their current verbal commitment.

Nick Saban and his staff have done a fabulous job building the class of 2021 during the most difficult recruiting season ever as the Covid-19 pandemic has prohibited prospects from taking official visits and from coaches visiting key targets in their home states, but if there was ever a year where the brand of Alabama football speaks for itself, that time is now and you’re really seeing the Bama Factor come into play.

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Kyle Henderson is the managing editor of BamaInsider.com. E-mail him at Kyle@Bamainsider.com

ICYMI: Khyree Jackson commits to Alabama 

Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide has the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation going into mid-August | Getty Images
Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide has the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation going into mid-August | Getty Images