Alabama Football: The tricky and sometimes painful path to a 2021 class

Though December is far away, Alabama football recruiting is approaching crunch time.

With the Alabama football class of 2021 at 19 verbal commits, numbers are not just tight, they are tricky. Credit to Nick Saban and his top recruiters, 2021 is already a great class. It is currently ranked in the 247Sports Composite as the No. 2 class. A day ago it was No. 1, but it dropped to No. 2 when Ohio State matched the Crimson Tide’s 19 verbal commits.

One of the schools, along with maybe Clemson, will finish with the No. 1 class. The end is not close. It is almost four months to the Early Signing Period, followed by another couple of months until Signing Day.

The reason for current speculation on how Alabama football finishes is 2021 spots are at a premium. Most recruiting insiders estimate the class will have 26 spots. A few suggest the number might be 27. Even with the higher number, only eight spots are left. The Alabama football staff is recruiting more than eight top targets it will not turn away. Consider the list below.

  • 5-Star; Korey Foreman; SDE
  • 5-Star; J. T. Tuimoloau; SDE
  • 5-Star; Amarius Mims; OT
  • 5-Star; Camar Wheaton; RB
  • 5-Star; Maason Smith; DT
  • 5-Star; Ga’Quincy McKinstry; CB
  • 5-Star; Tunmise Adeleye; SDE
  • 4-Star; Brian Thomas Jr.; WR
  • 4-Star; Xavian Sorey; OLB

The list is nine names, At least two more names could be considered. Sticking with the nine, the Crimson Tide will not take three more strongside defensive ends. The Tide already has Monkell Goodwine. Recruiting insiders doubt, if Wheaton goes elsewhere, that Nick Saban will sign another running back.

Related Story: Much-needed QB in '21 class

Players from the list of nine will choose other schools. Other than Sorey and maybe ‘Kool Aid,’ other schools are believed to be leaders. Even so, all are in-play to the Crimson Tide.

The list is not close to all the top Crimson Tide priorities. McKinstry leaning elsewhere would likely open the door for 4-Star, DB, Terrion Arnold. 4-Star, SDE, Shemar Turner is frequently mentioned as a future 2021 class member. On Saturday, Aug. 29, it is widely expected in-state, 3-Star, DT, Tim Keenan will announce for the Crimson Tide. Does the 2021 class need two more defensive tackles? It does if Nick Saban thinks so, but Maason Smith is expected to have a slot held for him even if Keenan commits.

A few days later, on Sept. 4, recruiting experts predict 3-Star, OL, William Parker will join the class. With tight numbers, there appears to only be room for one more offensive lineman. Like Masson Smith, Amarius Mims will have a spot held.

Plus there is a clear need for a tight end. So if Shemar Turner, Keenan and Parker join the Crimson Tide, plus a future tight end, 19 commits become 23. That would leave only three or four slots for the high-profile targets listed above.

Next: Looking to the Saturday Scrimmage

Alabama football fans can be interested but there is no need for concern. Nick Saban will make the numbers work.