Alabama Football: 2018 Recruiting, a close look at 8 slots and 22 prospects

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 29: Alabama fans cheer after the Alabama Crimson Tide defeat the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 29, 2008 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama defeated Auburn 36-0. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 29: Alabama fans cheer after the Alabama Crimson Tide defeat the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 29, 2008 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama defeated Auburn 36-0. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images) /

Alabama football has 17, 2018 signees, leaving room for eight more recruits. Check out the 22 main prospects vying for the last slots.

There are three recruiting weekends before National Signing Day on February 7th. Alabama football has unmet needs in the 2018 class at cornerback, defensive line, wide receiver and quarterback. The Tide also wants to finish with an inside linebacker and at least one more offensive lineman.

The Alabama football ‘big board’ is guarded with necessary secrecy. Perhaps, even more so after Kirby Smart clicked a photo of if on his way out the door. The 22 prospects to which we refer is not the complete ‘big board’ list. Recruiting surprises may still occur, including a name or two unknown outside the coaching staff.

Most of the players in our group of 22 prospects will not make a public decision until NSD. Let’s review them by position groups.


Alabama football has two, maybe three in the 2018 class, depending on Josh Jobe playing cornerback or safety. The Tide coaches want two more. Here are the top prospects.

  • Patrick Surtan Jr.; 5-Star, No. 1 ranked CB. The battle for Surtain Jr. looks to be between his leader, LSU and the Tide. He will visit January 19th and Nick Saban is doing an in-home this week. Will not announce until NSD.
  • Tyson Campbell; 5-Star, No. 3 ranked CB. Until recently it was believed Alabama football led for Campbell. It is now a Georgia and Alabama battle. Like his high school teammate, Surtain Jr., he is visiting the 19th and Saban has an in-home this week.
  • Isaac Taylor-Stuart; 5-Star, No. 2 ranked CB. USC may lead but the Tide has regained early momentum it had with Taylor-Stuart. It is a USC, TAMU, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee battle. The Vols will get his last visit on February 2nd. New Tide coach, Jeff Banks is now helping Tosh Lupoi with the California cornerback. With Banks leaving TAMU and Tennessee offering late, The Trojans, Tide and Bulldogs have the best shot. Taylor-Stuart is scheduled to visit Tuscaloosa January 26th.
  • Eddie Smith; 3-Star, No. 66 ranked CB. There will not be room for Smith if two of the three higher rated players choose the Tide. TCU, Tennessee and Mississippi State are also interesting in the Slidell, LA player. Smith is scheduled to visit Tuscaloosa January 26th.


  • Quay Walker; 4-Star, No. 3 ranked OLB. The Tide commit is just as likely to flip to Georgia as he is to stick with the Tide. He may or may not visit on January 19th, depending on whether he chooses to travel to Tuscaloosa or Athens.
  • Vernon Jackson; 3-Star. The rating services list Jackson as an Athlete but the Tide sees him as an inside linebacker. At the end, the Tide commit may stay in-state with a Texas school. He is scheduled to visit Tuscaloosa on January 19th.
  • J.J. Peterson; 4-Star, No. 2 ranked OLB. The Tide led for Peterson going back to the spring. With Jeremy Pruitt’s departure, he became a Tennessee commit. Alabama has not given up. He may visit Tuscaloosa on January 19th.

Wide Receiver

  • Justyn Ross; 4-Star, No. 10 ranked WR. A tight battle between Alabama and Clemson for this in-state player. He is scheduled to visit January 19th.
  • Jacob Copeland; 4-Star, No. 9 ranked WR. The previous Florida Gator commit has an abundance of top college choices. Some recruiting insiders believe the Tide leads. He will visit Tuscaloosa on January 26th.
  • Jaylen Waddle; 4-Star, No. 8 ranked WR. It appears to be a TAMU and Tide battle for the Texas wide receiver. Texas, TCU, FSU and still battling for his signature.

The Tide wants to sign two more wide receivers. If only one of the above three, picks the Tide, there may be one more option.

  • Justin Watkins; 4-Star, No. 21 ranked WR. Watkins would have already committed to the Tide if possible. For now, he is waiting to see if a slot comes available. Florida is pushing him hard and he may not wait until the end of the recruiting cycle.


Nick Saban wants to sign a quarterback in every recruiting cycle. If either Jalen or Tua was to decide to transfer before next fall, only two scholarship QB’s on the roster would be scary.

  • James Foster; 4-Star, No. 13 ranked dual-threat QB. The top pursuers for Foster are Alabama, LSU and FSU. Alabama football has not been willing to accept a commitment but that may change this week. He is scheduled to visit January 19th.
  • Brock Purdy; 3-Star, No. 57 pro-style QB. At this point, Purdy only has a preferred walk-on option. New assistant Jeff Banks visited Purdy Monday night. He is scheduled to visit Tuscaloosa on January 26th. UPDATED – Purdy tweeted Tuesday evening he now has a full scholarship offer.
  • Jamarye Joiner; 3-Star, No. 18 ranked dual-threat QB. Joiner is an Arizona commit. He is scheduled to visit Tuscaloosa on February 2nd if the Tide still has an available slot.

Defensive Line

Alabama football has plenty of defensive ends in the 2018 class. One or two more interior defensive linemen are needed.

  • Bobby Brown; 4-Star, No. 16 rated DT. Brown is a Tide commit, making his decision too late to sign in the early period. Oklahoma appears to be the only threat to losing Brown and he is expected to sign with the Tide.
  • Tyler Friday; 4-Star, No. 3 ranked DT. Friday will announce on January 19th. Alabama, Ohio State and Michigan are the top three contenders. Some recruiting experts are picking the Buckeyes. It is rumored the possibility of Karl Dunbar returning to the NFL is affecting Friday’s decision. Dundar visited Tyler Friday on January 12th.
  • Malik Langham; 3-Star, No. 31 ranked SDE. Already 269 pounds, it is expected Langham will grow into being an interior player. The Huntsville, AL player is a cousin to Tide great Antonio Langham. He is expected to choose the Tide and may announce on his visit January 19th. Tennessee and Florida are working hard to win him over.

Offensive Line

Tide coaches want to sign another offensive lineman and might find room for two.

  • Nicholas Petit-Frere; 5-Star, No. 3 ranked  OT. It appears to be a five-way battle for Petit-Frere between Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan. He is scheduled to visit Tuscaloosa on January 19th. He is not expected to announce until NSD.
  • Penei Sewell; 4-Star, No. 3 ranked OG. Sewell is likely headed to Oregon. The Tide and USC are still in it. Sewell recently talked about his friendship with Tua Tagovailoa.

Other Possibilities (if slots are available)

  • Michael Parker; 3-Star TE. Parker is a Tide commit but it is expected he is willing to accept a grayshirt.
  • Kevontae Ruggs; 3-Star LB-S. The younger brother of Henry Ruggs III will sign with the Tide if offered. He might even accept a grayshirt.
  • Kelvin Joseph; 4-Star and No. 4 ranked safety. Joseph has committed to LSU twice. He is still taking visits and is scheduled to be in Tuscaloosa on January 26th.

All player rankings in this post are from the 247Sports Composite.

Next: 30 3-Star recruits who became Crimson Tide stars

As always, the recruiting situation is fluid enough to change often. Check back for future recruiting posts and this post will also be updated over the next several days.