- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
Editor's note: From now until signing day, TideNation will examine the remaining uncommitted prospects still considering the University of Alabama. Today, we look at ESPN 150 defensive tackle Dee Liner.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Dee Liner might have flirted with other schools like Georgia and LSU towards the end of his recruitment, but it’s always been an in-state battle for the Alabama native.
Liner committed to Auburn when he was just a sophomore. At the time, schools didn’t realize how good could he was going to be yet. The 6-foot-3, 275-pound prospect debuted at No. 12 in the initial ESPN 150 rankings and has been a mainstay ever since.
For the longest time, Liner’s commitment to Auburn didn’t waver either.
However, this fall he started showing interest in the Crimson Tide and even visited Tuscaloosa for a couple of games. When former AU head coach Gene Chizik was let go along with his staff, it was the last straw for the Tigers. Liner decided to re-open his recruitment.
Through it all he’s remained quiet to the media, not doing interviews, not tipping his hand, but as the four-star recruit prepares to sign his letter of intent on Wednesday, it’s no secret where he will play his college ball.
What his commitment would mean ...
If Liner signs with Alabama as expected, it’s a key pickup for the Tide, but it’s an even bigger blow to Auburn.
The Tigers had commitments from the top two players in the state -- Liner and Reuben Foster -- but as it looks now, both players will end up playing for Alabama. Auburn could still finish strong and put together a solid class, but it will always be what could have been.
On the field, Liner gives Alabama a versatile defensive lineman who is strong enough to play inside against the run but also quick enough to rush the passer on the outside.
Fellow Tide offensive line commitment Grant Hill faced Liner at the Under Armour All-America Game last month and said he was the quickest lineman off the ball that he’s ever faced. Hill also went up against the likes of Robert Nkemdiche and Carl Lawson down in Florida.
Despite winning a national championship, Alabama struggled with getting to the quarterback this season, especially from the defensive line. Damion Square, Ed Stinson and Quinton Dial were solid on the edges, but they weren’t game-changers.
Liner has the talent and the athleticism to be a game-changer one day for the Tide.
Last we heard ...
The only suspense surrounding Liner’s announcement on Wednesday would have been if he took his official visit to Georgia over the weekend. When he cancelled that trip at the request of the Alabama coaches, he all but confirmed where he was going.
The bigger story was Foster’s announcement on Monday, and Liner played a major role in luring the ESPN 150 linebacker back to Alabama. The two became good friends over the last two months at the various all-star games.
Expect Liner to sign with the Tide.
2dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough