- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
TideNation recruiting writer Greg Ostendorf brings you another edition of The O-zone, a confidential look inside Alabama recruiting. Get the latest updates from the gridiron and the hardwood as it pertains to the Crimson Tide.
Alabama’s only confirmed official visitor to this point might be the Crimson Tide’s most important visitor of the weekend. ESPN 150 wide receiver Robert Foster (Monaca, Pa./Central Valley) announced via Twitter that he is taking his official visit to UA this weekend for the Mississippi State game. Foster is the Tide’s top remaining target at wide receiver. He’s narrowed his list to Alabama, Ohio State and Pittsburgh and will take official visits to the other two schools later this year. The key for Alabama this weekend is to make the Pennsylvania native feel comfortable on his trip and make him feel like he’s at home. Foster has visited Tuscaloosa twice since April.
ESPN Watch List defensive end Rashaan Evans will also visit Alabama this weekend for the Mississippi State game. It will be the first time in two years that Evans has been to Tuscaloosa, and the trip may cause some conflict among his family. The junior hails from Auburn, Ala., plays football for Auburn High School, and his father, who will also be making the trip, played running back for Auburn University back in the day. Evans is interested to see how his father reacts to the atmosphere and the game day environment at Alabama as a former AU player, but for Evans he’s excited about the trip. He already has over 10 scholarship offers after he recently picked up offers from Indiana and Nebraska.
On the visit: “I’m excited just to meet some of the coaches, to be around the atmosphere. I want to see how it is, walking into the stadium and things like that.”
Evans might not be the only prospect from Auburn High School who will be in Tuscaloosa this weekend. He revealed to TideNation that there is a possibility that his teammate and five-star linebacker Reuben Foster (no relation) might attend the Tide’s game this weekend as well. Foster originally committed to Alabama the summer before his junior season, but the ESPN 150 star flipped to Auburn in July. However, the UA coaching staff hasn’t stopped recruiting the former commitment, and based on his recent visit to LSU, Foster might not be 100 percent solid with AU. There are sources who say he will not make the trip, but don’t be surprised if Foster shows up at UA this weekend.
Tide commitment O.J. Howard visited Florida this past weekend for the South Carolina game. Howard said he enjoyed the trip, and sources say the UF coaching staff feels like they made an impression on the ESPN 150 tight end. The Gators might now be more of a threat than Auburn, who many thought might land the in-state star after Foster flipped during the summer, but it’s unlikely that Howard is going anywhere. He’s expected to graduate early and enroll in January regardless of where he goes. That will make it difficult for him to take any official visits once his season wraps up. Howard will visit Alabama this weekend.
Ready to decide
The date is set. ESPN 100 shooting guard JaJuan Johnson (Memphis, Tenn./Southwind) will decide between Alabama, Marquette and Miami on Nov. 2 at his high school. Johnson spoke with UA head coach Anthony Grant this week, and the people close to the program feel good about the Tide’s chances of landing the scoring guard. Marquette looks to be the biggest threat, but Alabama’s close proximity might be the deciding factor. If Johnson chooses Alabama, he’s now expected to sign early, giving the Tide three signees with Shannon Hale and Jimmie Taylor already on board. The staff may still go after another big man or possibly a point guard before the late signing period.