Alabama is the gold standard of recruiting. Over the last five years, the Tide finished with the #1 recruiting class in the nation according to 247Sports. With the success Alabama players have in college and the pros, it’s easy to see why prospects decide to make Tuscaloosa their home.
Although Alabama’s recruiting track record is unmatched, the introduction of the early signing period this year allows other schools to even the playing field. The Tide’s usual spot at the top of the rankings is now occupied by the Georgia Bulldogs.
Ranked #5, with 15 signees, after the conclusion of the early signing period, Alabama has work to do if they want to end with an eighth consecutive #1 recruiting class.
Alabama is one of the most storied programs in college football. They’ve won 16 national championships and 30 SEC conference titles. They’ve also had two Heisman Trophy winners, 69 consensus All-Americans, and eight Pro Football Hall of Famers.
The Tide’s tradition along with Nick Saban’s recruiting prowess turned Alabama into a national recruiting force that attracts top prospects from across the country.
In Alabama’s 2018 recruiting class, 12 states are represented. Leading the way is Florida with four signees followed by California with two. The remaining 10 states have one signee each.
The newest members of the Tide include one five-star, 11 four-stars, and three three-stars.
Among Alabama’s 15 signees, six are enrolling early.
Alabama’s Top Signees
Saivion Smith – DB
The rich get richer.
Smith is the #1 junior college cornerback and #2 overall junior college player in the country according to 247Sports. The former five-star IMG Academy product signed with LSU in 2016 before electing to transfer in May. In his lone season with the Tigers, he recorded four tackles and two pass deflections.
The Florida native played at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College this past season. He finished with 31 tackles, two interceptions, six pass deflections, a forced fumble, and two touchdowns.
Smith chose the Tide over Auburn, Mississippi State, and South Carolina among others.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, Smith is expected to be an immediate contributor as Alabama is projected to lose its entire secondary to the NFL.
With the fall semester finished, Smith began practicing with the Tide on December 16. Coaches and players have already raved about him since his arrival on campus.
“He’s doing good” said redshirt senior cornerback Anthony Averett to BamaOnline. “He’s definitely fit in well. He looks like us. He definitely looks (flexes his muscles) just like us out there. I can tell already he’s ready. He just needs to learn the system, obviously, but he looks like he’s going to be a good player.”
Nick Saban echoed the same sentiment.
“We can see with our own eyes that he’s going to be a good player,” stated Saban.
Eyabi Anoma – DE/OLB
As the top uncommitted prospect announcing during the early signing period, Anoma became Alabama’s first 2018 five-star recruit. He’s the #2 defensive end and #7 overall player in the country according to 247Sports.
Anoma wasn’t on the national radar until after his junior season in 2016 when he had 60 tackles and 24 sacks. His recruitment blew up as a result leading to numerous offers from some of the nation’s top programs.
This past season was his “first year of playing a real season of football.” He finished his senior year with 98 tackles, 22 sacks, and four forced fumbles and was selected as an Under Armour All-American.
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, the Maryland native enters an Alabama front seven that was plagued by injuries this season. His ability to play either defensive end or outside linebacker will help him see the field early in his college career.
The St. Frances Academy product chose the Tide over Maryland and Michigan.
“I mean, it’s the [Nick] Saban era,” expressed Anoma live on the ESPN2 broadcast. “Time in and time out, he just produces top-notch players that compete at a high level. I want to go there and compete at a high level. Nothing is given to me and I like competing against the top people in the country. So that’s where I’m going to get top-notch competition.
Xavier Williams – WR
Williams was “Roll Tide” all the way as one of Alabama’s earliest 2018 commitments. He committed to the Tide back in January and stuck with his pledge even though receivers coach Billy Napier left for Arizona State.
The four-star recruit ranks as the #3 athlete in the country according to ESPN. He ended his senior season with 37 receptions for 608 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
He was selected to The Opening in July and named an Under Armour All-American.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, the Chaminade-Madonna Prep product goes into a group that loses its top three receivers to the pros: seniors Robert Foster and Cam Sims and probably junior Calvin Ridley. With rising sophomores Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, and Devonta Smith ahead of him, Williams will have a tough time getting playing time as a freshman.
The Florida native chose Alabama over Auburn, Clemson, and Miami among others.
“They made me their top priority,” said Williams to Scout.com. “The relationship they have with me and my parents is like no other. They were really the only coaching staff that actually reached out to my parents to talk.”
Williams hopes to be the Tide’s next outstanding South Florida receiver following in the footsteps of Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, and Jerry Jeudy.
Christian Barmore – DT
Originally planning to sign in February and visit other schools prior to that, Barmore decided to sign with Alabama on the first day of the early signing period.
The four-star recruit started out as an offensive tackle before switching to defensive tackle. His stock rose with the move to defense and he finished his senior season ranked as the #4 defensive tackle in the country by ESPN.
Barmore earned All-Catholic and All-State honors for his play this year at Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia.
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, the Pennsylvania native addresses a major need for the Tide as they lose senior defensive tackle Joshua Frazier and most likely junior defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne to the NFL. He’ll have a chance to earn significant playing time in 2018 due to the lack of depth Alabama has at his position.
Barmore, a one-time Temple commit, chose Alabama over Baylor and Maryland among others.
“I like everything about Alabama,” said Barmore to 247Sports. “When I went down there, I felt at home and I liked the way they did things. They have a really good plan for me not only on the field, but off the field.”
Emil Ekiyor – OC
Alabama has always been known for its strong offensive line play. Ekiyor will no doubt add to that.
The four-star recruit ranks as the #3 center in the nation according to 247Sports. He played guard for most of his high school career before moving to center this past season.
He was selected to The Opening in July and named a U.S. Army All-American.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 322 pounds, the Indiana native was Alabama’s top offensive line target. With the Tide set to lose starting center Bradley Bozeman and backup center J.C. Hassenauer, Ekiyor has the opportunity to crack the starting lineup as a freshman.
The Cathedral High School product was a long-time Michigan commit before flipping to Alabama in late October.
“It just came down to my connection with the coaching staff at Alabama,” said Ekiyor to SEC Country. “On my last couple of visits there, I just got really comfortable with them. Also, the reputation of greatness that they have and playing for arguably one of the greatest coaches of all-time.”
With the conclusion of the early signing period, Alabama has many targets left on its board for February. The Tide have 15 signees so far, but only have room for 23 in its 2018 recruiting class.
Defensive back and defensive line are Alabama’s top priorities. Quarterback, wide receiver, offensive line, and linebacker are other positions the Tide hope to fill before next season.
At defensive back, five-star cornerback Tyson Campbell is Alabama’s main target. The American Heritage product ranks as the #3 cornerback in the country according to 247Sports. He’s expected to visit the Tide in January, but Miami is currently projected to get his signature.
At defensive line, Alabama received a commitment from former Texas A&M pledge Bobby Brown on Friday. The Texas native is a four-star recruit ranked as the #13 defensive tackle in the nation by 247Sports. He’ll sign in February on national signing day.
At quarterback, four-star dual-threat James Foster is Alabama’s only target. After losing out on Emory Jones, who committed to Florida, Foster is the next man up. The Alabama native grew up a Crimson Tide fan, but offers from Florida State, LSU, and Texas A&M make it a tough decision.
At receiver, four-star Justyn Ross is the Tide’s primary objective at the position. The Central High School product ranks as the #1 player in the state of Alabama and #11 receiver in the country according to ESPN. He’s down to Alabama, Auburn, and Clemson and will make his decision on national signing day in February.
At offensive line, five-star tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere is Alabama’s main priority up front. The Florida native ranks as the #1 offensive tackle and #5 overall player in the nation according to 247Sports. He’s considering Florida, Michigan, and Notre Dame along with the Tide.
Four-star guard Penei Sewell is another prospect the Tide are looking at, but Oregon presently leads in his recruitment.
At linebacker, four-star J.J. Peterson is Alabama’s top target at the position. The Colquitt County High School product ranks as the #1 outside linebacker in the country according to ESPN. Although Alabama was considered his leader, Tennessee’s hire of former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has put the Volunteers in front.
2018 Alabama Recruiting Class
Year in and year out, Alabama is at the top of the recruiting rankings. With their historic run of #1 classes, it wasn’t long before other programs eventually caught up. Although the Tide’s 2018 recruiting class doesn’t rank #1 right now, that doesn’t mean the class isn’t good.
Several players from this class will likely make an immediate impact next season on offense, defense, and special teams. With some of their top targets still available, it’s probable that Nick Saban and his staff will end the 2018 recruiting cycle on a high note.