Alabama Crimson Tide: Mekhi Brown

Atlanta NFTC awards 

March, 24, 2014
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The NFTC tour continued to roll on with a stop in Atlanta this past weekend. The event featured a very strong roster of talent, including a pair of top-five prospects in the ESPN Junior 300. No group was lean on talent, with plenty of promising 2015 and even 2016 prospects to evaluate. It's tough to name everyone who competed and did well. Below are some of the event's top and most notable performers in the latest addition of the Recruiting Nation NFTC Awards.

Programs off to fast start in 2015 

November, 19, 2013
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While recruiting is undoubtedly a marathon and not a sprint, that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with a good start.

The key for any program is being able to sustain and finish strong, and only time will tell which programs will be able to do that, but what we do know is which teams are off to a fast start in the Class of 2015. Below are the five programs that are leading the pack early for 2015, as well as a few other notable fast starters:


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Recruits react: Alabama-LSU 

November, 10, 2013
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Many top recruits where in attendance for the annual slugfest between Alabama and LSU on Saturday night. Though the Crimson Tide eventually pulled away and won 38-17, recruits saw an exciting and competitive game between two great programs.

Several recruits took to Twitter to express their thoughts on the game.

The No. 1-ranked recruit in the nation, Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine) hung out with Louisiana native and Alabama commit Cameron Robinson (Monroe, La./West Monroe). The two top-five players took a moment to pose for a picture together.


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SEC recruiting storylines: Nov. 7 

November, 7, 2013
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It’s been a busy week in recruiting in the SEC already, but the beginning of the week is only the start with two announcements Friday that could impact SEC recruiting class, and the annual LSU-Alabama showdown that draws almost as many top prospects as a postseason all-star game.


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#AskLoogs: Projecting Tide in 2015

August, 28, 2013
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



The recruiting calendar just seems to become more and more accelerated, and that means coaching staffs must internally evaluate their current numbers, depth and talent level projecting at least two years out. At Alabama, perhaps as much or more than any other program in college football right now, this also means they must prepare for early departures to the NFL, which can sneak up on you and leave you with unexpected holes if you don’t prepare in advance. As it stands right now, Alabama has five verbal commitments, all of which are in the ESPN Junior 300. At quarterback they are adding more youth and depth to enhance competition at the position, considering they do not yet know who will succeed AJ McCarron. They got one of the two best West Coast QBs in Ricky Town out of California. Right now it might look like Alabama is stocked at running back, but if history tells us anything, those guys are three-and-out NFL draft choices, which is why RB DeSherrius Flowers is a must in-state take and a nice fit for the power run game — a blend between Mark Ingram and T.J. Yeldon. DE Mekhi Brown has a Barkevious Mingo feel to him. Mingo was about 185 pounds out of high school as an explosive edge rusher, and Brown is built in a similar mold, but is likely to play in the role currently occupied by Adrian Hubbard. OG Dallas Warmack (should be a familiar name to Bama fans) and S Deionte Thompson round out this early crop. To be honest, the earlier you gain commits, the more you have to project and the bigger the risk. This is why Alabama has traditionally avoided a high volume of underclassman commits, unless they can get them in camp early on.
RecruitingNation released its first ever ESPN junior 300 in mid-July, and a slew of already committed prospects have put six programs off to an electric start in the 2015 recruiting cycle. With the college season just days away, here are the fast starters with future commitments on the horizon.


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Nick Saban made a trip to ESPN headquarters Monday, but he made a point to get back and visit with ESPN Junior 300 offensive lineman Dallas Warmack (Atlanta/Mays), who was in town for a visit. Warmack, whose brother, Chance, was an All-American for the Tide last year, was a priority for Alabama.

It was a good thing the UA coach made it back in time because the younger Warmack committed before he left town. However, it wasn’t Saban who sealed the deal. It was new offensive line coach Mario Cristobal.

[+] EnlargeDallas Warmack
Radi Nabulsi/ESPNDallas Warmack will follow his brother, Chance, to Alabama.
“I visited Alabama today and met with Coach Cristobal,” Warmack said. “He showed me the schemes they run and how it would fit with me. I was already in love with Alabama. I just had to check out Coach Cristobal, and I fell in love with everything he was doing there.

"I already knew about Coach Saban, the team. I saw the new facilities for the first time, and I loved it. They have a room just for the offensive line. It was a huge room and had all the All-Americans that went there. I fell in love with it.”

If it’s not already, Chance Warmack’s name will be on that wall. Although Dallas says he didn’t choose Alabama because of his older brother, it still had an impact on his decision.

“I’ve always loved Alabama,” Dallas said. “I’ve been going there since I was 10, so I guess it made a big difference.”

Even with all trips to Tuscaloosa and memories of Alabama, Dallas says his favorite memory came Monday when he gave his verbal commitment to Saban with his family by his side. He hadn’t talked to his brother yet, but he planned to call him on the way back to Atlanta.

The 6-foot-1, 295-pound offensive lineman becomes the Tide’s fourth commitment for 2015, joining fellow ESPN Junior 300 stars Mekhi Brown (Columbus, Ga./Carver), DeSherrius Flowers (Prichard, Ala./Vigor) and Deionte Thompson (Orange, Texas/West Orange Stark).

Warmack had offers from Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee, but he doesn’t plan to take to any visits to other schools.

“I’m done. I’m committed,” he said. “I wanted to commit before my junior season because I wanted to focus on my high school team. It also had to do with making a relationship with my coaching staff in the two years before I go there. And they said they’re going to honor my scholarship even if I get hurt.”

2015 ESPN 300 targets: Alabama 

July, 16, 2013
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It’s never too early to start looking ahead to the 2015 class. The University of Alabama already has three commitments and could add another by the end of the week. With the Tuesday’s debut of the 2015 ESPN 300 rankings, we take a look at the Crimson Tide’s top 10 targets for 2015.

1. DT Daron Payne (Birmingham, Ala./Shades Valley)
6-foot-3, 318 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 30

The word got out quickly on Payne. In May, the ESPN 300 defensive lineman picked up his first offer, and in little over a week he already had six offers, including both major in-state programs, Alabama and Auburn. This summer, he moved to the top of the Tide’s board with a dominant performance at their OL/DL camp. Many believed he was the top lineman in attendance regardless of class. The rising junior is the top player in the state for 2015.


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The defending national champions are preparing to host their final camp of the summer next week, and some of the top 2014 and 2015 prospects nationally are expected to descend on the University of Alabama. The camp runs Sunday through Wednesday.

Here are five storylines to watch as the Crimson Tide's camp plays out.

Addressing the OL


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Camp notebook: Auburn fit for Queen 

June, 10, 2013
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AUBURN, Ala. -- It was a busy week for 2015 quarterback Tyler Queen (Kennesaw, Ga./North Cobb), who probably feels as if his arm is ready to fall off. In five days, he camped at Alabama, Auburn and Georgia where he threw for the coaches at all three schools.


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Alabama coaching staff likes ESPN 150 athlete Ronnie Clark (Calera, Ala./Calera), but they weren’t sold on what position he would play at the next level. That’s why Nick Saban called and personally invited him to participate in the Crimson Tide’s first summer prospect camp.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Clark made the short drive to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday and worked out at safety, the position he’d prefer to play in college.


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Tales From the Road: Alabama 

June, 5, 2013
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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: The week has been all about Alabama’s first summer camp. Prospects from across the country have flocked to Tuscaloosa to either compete or just to visit. The headliner was five-star Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe), the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country, who last visited for the Crimson Tide’s spring game in April. Robinson recently tweeted that his decision will come down to Alabama and LSU. Other ESPN 150 stars who have been on campus this week include quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North) running back Racean Thomas (Oxford, Ala./Oxford), defensive tackle Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) and athlete Ronnie Clark (Calera, Ala./Calera).

Area of interest: The state of Arkansas isn’t what you’d call a recruiting oasis year in and year out, but there’s still talent to be had. Last year, Alabama plucked out ESPN 150 running back Altee Tenpenny (North Little Rock, Ark./North Little Rock), the No. 1 player in the state. This year, the top player still available is four-star defensive tackle Joshua Frazier (Springdale, Ark./Har Ber). Not surprisingly, the Tide are among his five finalists. This week, Nick Saban and his staff decided to get a head start on next year’s crop, offering 2015 quarterback Ty Storey (Charleston, Ark./Charleston) and 2015 tight end Will Gragg (Pine Bluff, Ark./Pine Bluff). Both prospects camped at Alabama.

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Lessons Learned: Atlanta NFTC 

April, 13, 2013
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BUFORD, Ga. -- The Southeast, in particular Georgia, prides itself on its football talent. When the 2013 Nike Football Training Camp tour made a stop outside of Atlanta on Saturday, the recruits who participated did not disappoint. After a competitive Saturday, dominated for the most part by the defensive line, six players earned invitations to The Opening.

Recruiting Nation’s Greg Ostendorf attended the camp. Here’s what he learned:

Headed to Oregon

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Defense is Alabama’s calling card.

That philosophy is implemented on the recruiting trail as well. The Crimson Tide have brought in more offensive playmakers in recent years, but the emphasis is still on the defense. It’s no different for the class of 2014.

On Thursday, TideNation looked at Alabama’s visitors this spring, beginning with the offense. Now it’s time to break down the spring visitors on defense.

Defensive line

Ronnie Clark
Greg Ostendorf/ESPN2014 ATH Ronnie Clark has been impressed with Alabama and Auburn.
Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) has already drawn comparisons to Jadeveon Clowney -- high praise for the ESPN Watch List defensive end. Carter is more likely to play outside linebacker at Alabama, but he’s a top priority for the staff regardless of position.

Last month, the Peach State native visited Tuscaloosa with his parents where he met with the coaching staff and took in a spring practice.

“It was good,” Carter said. “It was probably the most informative visit I’ve had so far with my parents. I think they feel a little more comfortable with Alabama now that they’ve talked to the coaches and sat down to see how the program works.”

More recently, 2015 defensive end Mekhi Brown (Columbus, Ga./Carver), also projected to play outside linebacker, committed to the Tide on his visit to Alabama. Brown already had over 10 scholarship offers but he knew where he wanted to go.

The “biggest” visitor on campus this spring thus far has been 6-foot-5, 340-pound Charles Mosley. The Brighton, Tenn., defensive tackle made the trip to UA last weekend to meet his new recruiting coordinator, Billy Napier.

For now, Mosley wants to play nose tackle at the next level, but the Alabama staff also likes his potential on the offensive line.

Linebacker

With a decision looming, one of the most important visitors this spring could very well be ESPN Watch List linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton (Montgomery, Ala./Carver). The in-state native spent Tuesday in Tuscaloosa. He’s expected to make a decision next Wednesday between Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee.

Hamilton has opted not to discuss any of his recent visits, including the Alabama trip, but it can’t hurt the Tide if that’s the last trip he makes.

Earlier in the spring, Gavin Bryant (Jackson, Ala./Jackson) visited Alabama and earned a scholarship offer from Saban.

“It was pretty good,” he said. “[Saban] was telling me I was a good player, to keep my grades up and play hard. It felt good. It felt like a kid getting a new toy.”

This weekend, Tampa Jesuit linebacker Vincent Jackson is expected to visit UA with fellow Floridian and ESPN Watch List offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn.

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Nick Saban doesn’t like taking early commitments, especially now with the run Alabama has been on recently, but when the right player comes along, the Crimson Tide head coach will make an exception.


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