Alabama Football: Meet The Tide’s 2016 Recruiting Class

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Take a few minutes to meet the 2016 Alabama football recruiting class that became official on National Signing Day.

Feb 3, 2016; Gordo, AL, USA; Gordo High School linebacker Ben Davis fields questions after committing to the Alabama Crimson Tide at the University of Alabama during national signing day at Gordo High School. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 3, 2016; Gordo, AL, USA; Gordo High School linebacker Ben Davis fields questions after committing to the Alabama Crimson Tide at the University of Alabama during national signing day at Gordo High School. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

How does Alabama football head coach Nick Saban and the rest of his Crimson Tide staff follow up another National Championship on the football field? By winning the Recruiting National Championship for the sixth straight year, of course. Let’s take a look at yet another strong recruiting class.

We’ll start off with the players already enrolled in school, who will be available for spring practices come April.

-Jonah Williams – OT – Folsom, CA (*****)

6’5”, 296 lbs.

The second-ranked offensive tackle in the class, this California kid brings a scary athleticism for a guy his size and his versatility could be key to his future. Nick Saban praised his versatility on Signing Day by saying that he believed Williams could play any position on the line, which is high praise to say the least. Getting an early start on practices in January along with spring practice should give him a big chance to potentially play early in his Alabama career. The USA Today High School All-American chose Alabama over USC, Auburn, Florida, and Georgia.

-Charles Baldwin – OT – Brooklyn, NY (****)

6’5”, 315 lbs.

The second-ranked JUCO player in the country and the top JUCO offensive lineman, Baldwin will fill an immediate need on the Alabama offensive line with the departure of Dominick Jackson. The behemoth offensive lineman will be a beast in run blocking and played both left and right tackle in Junior College. He is also much more advanced in pass protection than Jackson was coming out of JUCO displaying excellent mobility in pass protection. Alabama typically doesn’t bring in junior college transfers unless Saban feels they have the potential to play right away. It took Dominick Jackson until his senior year, after playing in JUCO, to get to the starting spot but others like Jesse Williams, DJ Pettway, and James Carpenter became contributors right away out of the JUCO ranks.

-Jalen Hurts – QB – Channelview, TX (****)

6’2”, 208 lbs.

More and more it seems as though Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin are attempting to take the QB position into the more athletic, dual-threat style of football that Blake Sims brought to the team in 2014. Last year Alabama signed dual threat Blake Barnett and in 2016 the Alabama has hauled in the top ranked dual threat QB in the class. As a senior, Hurts threw for more than 2,3000 yards and 26 touchdowns while also rushing for nearly 1,400 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground. Hurts has scary speed and elusiveness but also possesses a rocket for an arm with touch that other players that he might draw comparisons to, like Michael Vick, don’t typically have. He also has a decent frame that could potentially pack on more weight to take the punishment SEC defenses dish out while also keeping his speed and athleticism. Hurts is excellent with the zone read and has a huge arm for the deep ball, but his biggest fault is that he struggles with his footwork and technique at times. He is very accurate when he sets his feet but if he starts to get flustered and get off balance it affects his accuracy. With that said, he is unbelievably electric when the play breaks down and he can make things happen with his feet. He is also very smart which is a huge plus for the position. It will surely be fun to see he and Barnett battle it out in the spring and fall this season along with fellow dual-threat Cooper Bateman.

-Chris Owens – OG – Arlington, TX (****)

6’2”, 312 lbs.

Owens is the tenth ranked offensive guard in the recruiting class and adding depth to a thin position on the offensive line. Owens was a high school tackle but possesses the athleticism and range to be a solid guard pulling and trapping along the line. He’s also extremely strong and a big mean streak which will lend itself nicely for Owens in the SEC. He still has a lot of work to be done with his technique which will give him something to work on and grow with as he adds depth to the Tide offensive line.

-Miller Forristall – TE – Cartersville, GA (***)

6’5”, 210 bs.

Forristall is one of the top receiving tight ends in the class but at barely over 200 pounds he doesn’t possess the size ideal for the position and what Saban usually looks for in a tight end. He showed plenty of willingness to block in high school but still has a lot to learn technique-wise and it will be very hard for him to become a good blocker in the SEC at the tight end position with the massive defensive ends and outside linebackers he will see. If he can put on some weight and continue to improve as a blocker he could become a true weapon for the offense.

-TJ Simmons – WR – Pinson, AL (***)

6’2”, 180 lbs.

The only receiver in the class that is an early enrollee Simmons is a tall, lanky receiver that is a terrific route runner and possesses excellent hands, but not the top end speed to be a consistent deep threat. He is the frame to put on more weight and will need to do that in his first couple of years in Tuscaloosa, but eventually can become a Kevin Norwood type of player.

-Shawn Jennings – ATH – Dadeville, AL (***)

6’2”, 218 lbs.

The brother of current Alabama defensive end Anfernee Jennings, Shawn is one of the top “athletes” in the state of Alabama in 2016. He looks to likely be moving to the safety position at Alabama where his size is reminiscent of Landon Collins. He is solid in pass coverage and terrific in run support. With added improvement in his hip movement and shedding blocks Jennings could end up being a solid safety at either free or strong safety. Starting early in the spring is going to be very beneficial for Jennings.

Next: Summer Enrollees