Alabama Football: Recruits to watch on the third-to-last weekend

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 17: Fans cheer as coach Nick Saban leads the Alabama Crimson Tide out of the locker room for a game against North Texas on September 17, 2011 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 17: Fans cheer as coach Nick Saban leads the Alabama Crimson Tide out of the locker room for a game against North Texas on September 17, 2011 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images) /

Alabama football has a big weekend, January 19th – 21st. Top talent will be in T-Town as the Tide looks to fill final slots.

Alabama football may not lock up many players this weekend. One commit may be solidified. Another may be gained. More importantly, coaches will decide who remains a top priority and who drops down, or off the Tide’s ‘Big Board.’

A big decision will be made on Friday by a guy named Friday, who Tide coaches want very much in this class. Tyler Friday, 4-Star DT will announce his decision Friday afternoon. A few weeks ago, Alabama football might have been his leader. Other schools have been telling him his Tide position coach, Karl Dunbar will return to the NFL. Dunbar visited Friday a few days ago. Most recruiting experts are predicting he will announce for Ohio State. If he does, Dunbar’s real or rumored future departure may be the reason.

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama football coaches will look to gain a public commitment from defensive lineman, Malik Langham. The Huntsville, AL player has seen his recruiting explode after his offer from the Tide. Tennessee, Florida and others are pushing him hard.

The commit the Tide wants to solidify is Vernon Jackson. Getting Vernon out of the state of Texas has become a hard pull. Alabama coaches want the versatile athlete at inside linebacker and with the likely loss of J.J. Peterson and Quay Walker, signing Jackson is very important.

Peterson will visit this weekend. Walker may as well. Tennessee and Georgia are major threats to the Tide. Most recruiting experts predict Peterson to Tennessee is a done deal. Walker is leaning to Georgia or Tennessee. Without a strong positive signal from the pair, Alabama football may not hold a slot for them until NSD.

Three Top Priorities

Patrick Surtain Jr.

The 5-Star is the No. 1 rated CB in the nation. LSU has been the front-runner for months. The Tide has closed hard and Nick Saban has made up lots of ground. Surtain Jr. is not expected to announce until NSD but this weekend is huge. There is a buzz among connected insiders and a few recruiting experts that Saban can pull Patrick away from LSU. Alabama will hold a spot for him.

Nicholas Petit-Frere

The 5-Star OT is ranked as No. 2 in the nation at his position. Other heavy hitters are in the hunt for the Tampa, FL player. He will not announce until NSD. The Tide will use this weekend to decide whether to hold a spot for him. Petit-Frere will visit Florida and Ohio State on the last two recruiting weekends.

Justyn Ross

It appears to be a two-way battle between the Tide and Clemson for the 4-Star receiver. The departed Derrick Ansley was his lead Tide recruiter. Alabama wants two more receivers and would like a third if there is room. Ross, Jacob Copeland and Jaylen Waddle are the preferred choices. A fourth option is Justin Wadkins who the Alabama football staff has asked to wait. It is not known how long the Tide will hold a spot for Ross. He plans to visit Auburn next weekend.

Four more names for the weekend

Bobby Brown

Tide commit Bobby Brown is a late addition to the weekend list. The 4-Star DT came close to signing in the early period and announced his commitment shortly afterward. Texas, TAMU and Oklahoma have continued to pursue him. He is a major Tide priority who could contribute next season.

James Foster

The 4-Star dual-threat QB from Montgomery may or may not be the top Tide QB option. So far, it is not believed Alabama would accept a commitment from Foster. The latest buzz is the 2018, QB slot will go to Brock Purdy who will visit next weekend.

Tyson Campbell

Campbell is a teammate of Patrick Surtain Jr. Until recently, Alabama was believed to be his leader. Alabama will not give up on a 5-Star CB easily but most recruiting experts see Campbell signing with Georgia.

Julius Irvin

This is an interesting late twist. Irvin is a 4-Star and ranked as the No. 12 Safety in the nation. His Alabama offer came on Wednesday. Suddenly, along with his former NFL-player Dad, Irvin will be in Tuscaloosa this weekend. He was expected to sign with USC, but Anaheim, CA to Tuscaloosa is no casual trip. Does the Tide have room? It appears Julius is very interested in finding out.

Next: Current 2018 Signing Class

After Tyler Friday’s afternoon announcement, the next news will be if Quay Walker arrives in Tuscaloosa. Beyond that, we don’t expect to hear much until Sunday. Although, a Malik Langham commitment could leak out. All the player rankings in this post are taken from the 247Sports Composite.