Alabama Football: What is left in 2020 class recruiting push

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama football is close to locking down its 2020 class but a couple of holes remain. The top targets to fill the few open slots keep changing.

Many Alabama football fans are turning their recruiting attention to 2021 and beyond. There is still work left for the Crimson Tide football staff in finishing the 2020 class. To review, the 2020 class has 22 signees, with 12 already enrolled and going through Scott Cochran’s fourth quarter program.

The Alabama Crimson Tide has four other commits and as long as academic hurdles are resolved it is expected to sign 4-Star wide receiver, Javon Baker; 4-Star defensive tackle, Jamil Burroughs and 3-Star, offensive lineman, Damieon George. George is the only one believed to be a flip risk. It has been widely discussed by Alabama football insiders that 4-Star, defensive lineman, Jayson Jones has a blue-shirt offer as an offensive lineman. Jones is considering other schools.

Whatever happens with Jones, the number of open slots in the 2020 class is no more than four and could be as few as two or three. The priorities for the Alabama football staff have been another defensive lineman, a tight end, a wide receiver and maybe an offensive lineman. Recent offers indicate those priorities may have shifted somewhat.

The top priority has not changed. It is McKinnley Jackson. The 4-Star, defensive lineman is highly valued by every SEC school that has a chance. Jackson visited Alabama last fall and Auburn a few weeks ago. He has January visits scheduled with LSU, Texas A&M and Ole Miss.

After missing on Darnell Washington, the need for another tight end appeared urgent. 3-Star, Brandon Frazier was a hot name, but no longer. When FSU tight end, Tre McKitty hit the transfer portal, he seemed to be a perfect fit with the Tide’s position needs. Recent Twitter rumors claim McKitty is going to the Georgia Bulldogs. It might be another tight end is not necessary.

The Alabama football staff is very high on Jahleel Billingsley. Miller Forristall and Major Tennison return for the Tide. Also returning is former linebacker, Cameron Latu. Latu is very athletic with good size. Last spring he was said to be looking good in practices. All four returning players would benefit from adding weight. The coaching staff does not use them in jumbo sets, instead, bringing in Ale Kaho and offensive lineman, including Kendall Randolph. The bottom line is the Tide needs to add more than Caden Clark at tight end. Clark tore two knee ligaments last fall and could miss the entire 2020 season.

All the talk about Najee Harris returning may or may not be real. Whether he returns or not, Chadarius Townsend can be moved back to wide receiver, where he started as a Tide player. He can contribute at the position and as long as Javon Baker qualifies, the Tide will be fine without signing another wide receiver.

The announced exit of Xavier Mckinney may have prompted a new look at defensive back needs. A recent offer went to Ennis Rakestraw. The Texas high school player is ranked a 3-Star as a cornerback. He would have to bulk up to be a future option at safety. He will visit Alabama on Jan. 24 and the young man is a longtime, Alabama football fan.

Another January official visitor for the Crimson Tide is 4-Star, offensive lineman, Marcus Henderson. Henderson is not the only offensive lineman being considered, but it is not clear the Tide will add any of them. It is possible a slot or even two (at multiple positions) might be left open for later transfer portal options.

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As always in our recruiting posts, our star rankings come from 247Sports. Signing Day on Feb. 5 is supposed to wrap up the 2020 class, but the free agency Nick Saban predicted with portal means recruiting is never over.