Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The Uncommitteds: Antonio Conner
By Greg Ostendorf
Editor's note: Leading up to signing day, TideNation will examine the remaining uncommitted prospects still considering the University of Alabama. Today, we look at ESPN 150 safety Antonio Conner.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Last year, the Crimson Tide pulled five-star safety Landon Collins out of Louisiana, away from the Bayou Bengals. This year, they’re trying to do the same thing in Mississippi, attempting to take ESPN 150 safety Antonio Conner away from Ole Miss.
Nick Saban and the Tide are making a serious effort to pull the rug out from under Ole Miss for safety Antonio Conner.
Obviously, that’s no easy task. However, Alabama has made quite an impression on the Magnolia State star. At the Under Armour All-America Game, Conner placed the Tide at the top of his list, with the Rebels, and that was before Alabama won a third national championship in four years.
“Alabama [stands out], because they are fighting for the BCS Championship, and Ole Miss because Coach [Hugh] Freeze has been talking to me about turning things around and has been doing that,” Conner said at the Jan. 4 all-star game. “So those two teams stand out the most.”
Conner has since taken official visits to both schools. He was scheduled to visit Auburn as well, but he never made the trip.
Now it’s decision time. Alabama or Ole Miss? Conner will let the world know on Feb. 6, national signing day.
What his commitment would mean ...
There’s no doubt that Conner is a special player, a difference maker in the secondary. He’s the top-ranked player in the state of Mississippi and the No. 2 safety in the country. The Alabama coaches, in particular coach Nick Saban, think very highly of him.
However, similar to Reuben Foster, who was No. 8 on TideNation’s "uncommitteds" list, Conner plays a position that isn’t a priority for the Tide.
Conner would be the first and maybe only true safety in this year’s class if Alabama can land him. He’s a good enough athlete to at least make an impact on special teams as a freshman, and eventually work his way into the starting lineup.
Last we heard ...
As mentioned above, Conner has already taken official visits to both of his finalists, so it comes down now to a decision.
Sources say Conner wants to choose Alabama and play for Saban, but the pressure to stay in state and play for the Rebels might be too much to overcome. Ole Miss is putting together an outstanding class in Freeze’s first year, and it’s likely that Conner will be a part of it come signing day.
But don’t count out the Tide. Most predicted Collins to LSU a year ago.