- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
Each week, Tales From The Road provides news and updates about where Alabama’s coaches are recruiting and which prospects are getting noticed.
This week’s targets: Alabama has traveled coast to coast this spring, but this week the staff is putting an emphasis on the Southeast, specifically its home state. UA assistant coach Lance Thompson plans to make a trip back to Mobile where he will no doubt make a stop at St. Paul’s Episcopal to see Auburn commitments Josh Casher and Tre' Williams. Kirby Smart made a stop at Montgomery (Ala.) Carver to see ESPN 150 linebacker commitment Shaun Dion Hamilton. He’ll also be spending a couple days in West Georgia, checking in with top programs like Sandy Creek, Newnan and Carver, the home of 2015 commitment Mekhi Brown.
Area of interest: There aren’t many Californians on the Alabama roster, but the staff seems to be putting more emphasis on the state with the 2014 class. Tide assistant coaches Greg Brown and Doug Nussmeier were both on the West Coast last week checking out prospects. The biggest name is ESPN 150 tight end Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada), the brother of UA offensive lineman Issac Luatua, but the Tide also have offers out to a pair of ESPN 150 offensive linemen, Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./John Bosco) and Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Ca./Centennial). All three prospects want to visit Tuscaloosa.
Prospect performance: Homewood (Ala.) High School played its spring game last Friday against Walker. It gave four-star offensive lineman Jordan Sims a chance to show off his new physique. Sims lost nearly 15 pounds this spring and now stands at 6-foot-4, 330 pounds. It was noticeable on the field. He moved a lot better both at the point of contact and at the next level. Auburn had two assistant coaches on hand to watch the in-state lineman. Alabama offensive line coach Mario Cristobal was at the school the day before. After the game, Sims said he’s down to Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss and plans to make a decision after the summer.
Word on the street: There’s been a lot of questions surrounding ESPN 150 defensive end Dante Sawyer ever since he tweeted out that he was comfortable with the decision he was about to make. It now sounds like Sawyer will hold off on that decision, but Alabama and Georgia are still the favorites, with Auburn a dark horse candidate. The biggest concern is where he fits at the next level. He’s more of a 4-3 defensive end, but both the Tide and the Bulldogs run a 3-4 scheme. The Alabama staff would like to get him to camp in June where they can try him at both defensive end and outside linebacker to see where he best fits.
What to watch: As spring football begins to wind down in the state of Alabama, there are a number of spring games being played. Some of the more notable in-state prospects in action include Hamilton, Ronnie Clark (Calera, Ala./Calera), Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn), Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover) and Racean Thomas (Oxford, Ala./Oxford). The best game to watch will be Friday night, when Hoover travels to Phenix City (Ala.) Central. Humphrey, the state’s top player, will go up against a very good Central team led by 2014 safety Christian Campbell and 2015 running back Traveon Samuel.
4dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough