Friday, May 3, 2013
Tracking the staff: Busy week for Bama
By Greg Ostendorf
When you win back-to-back national championships, the travel budget for recruiting tends to increase because of the national exposure that comes it. The University of Alabama has found that out firsthand since the spring evaluation period began after A-Day.
This week, the Crimson Tide coaches have traveled across the country -- from New Jersey to New Orleans -- to visit high schools and evaluate prospects.
Andrew Brown and a few other recruits received a visit from Alabama assistant coach Lance Thompson this week.
UA assistant coach Lance Thompson has taken over the Mobile area for the Tide, but he’s still putting work in on the East Coast because of the amount of elite talent to be had in the 2014 class. Thompson met with five-star defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) on Wednesday, and he’s expected to meet with five-star defensive tackle Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith) on Friday. Both players are ranked in the top five nationally. Thompson also checked in on ESPN 150 cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washintgon D.C./Friendship), who has Alabama among his top schools, and he made a stop at Our Lady of Good Counsel in High School in Olney, Md., to see ESPN 150 defensive end Jesse Aniebonam and Notre Dame offensive line commitment Sam Mustipher.
New Alabama offensive line coach Mario Cristobal is a South Florida guy, but he also inherited the Northeast region from his predecessor, Jeff Stoutland. Cristobal was up there this week to check in on several prospects, including five-star cornerback Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic), running back Jonathan Hilliman (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter’s) and ESPN 150 wide receiver Saeed Blacknall (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan), who picked up an offer from the Tide after Cristobal’s visit. Cristobal also was able to see a pair of junior college offensive lineman, Jermaine Eluemunor (Rockaway, N.J./Lackawanna College) and Chad Mavety (Garden City, N.Y./Nassau CC). Eluemunor plans to take his official visit to Alabama in July, and Mavety is also working to set up a visit to Tuscaloosa after school lets out.
The last player to sign with Alabama from the Midwest region was linebacker Trey DePriest in 2011. The Tide could buck that trend this year. UA assistant coach Bobby Williams visited the area this week, and on Wednesday he saw a pair of wide receivers from the Indianapolis area: Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) and Austin Roberts (Carmel, Ind./Carmel). Booth recently visited Tuscaloosa for the Tide’s spring game. A day later, Williams was over in Illinois checking out a couple of ESPN 150 linebackers. He looked at Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield), who also recently made a trip to Alabama, and Nyles Morgan (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee). The latter received an offer from the Tide.
For Alabama, the week wouldn’t be complete without a stop to see the nation’s No. 1 player, running back Leonard Fournette. On Wednesday, UA running backs coach Burton Burns visited St. Augustine High School to see Fournette and his teammate, cornerback Jermaine Roberts. The latter is committed to Texas but has an offer from the Tide. Still, the primary reason for Burns’ trip was to see Fournette. The two have developed a great relationship. While in the New Orleans area, Burns also stopped at John Curtis High School to check in on a trio of top prospects: wide receiver Malachi Dupre, safety Mattrell McGraw and linebacker Kenny Young. Dupre joined the other two by adding an offer from the Tide this week.