Posted on: December 23, 2011 6:35 pm

Alabama adds big pick up in DT Alphonse Taylor

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It didn't take long for Alabama to flip a second highly regarded prospect. Less than a week after securing a commitment from former Auburn pledge T.J. Yeldon, former Florida State commit and Mobile (Ala.) defensive tackle Alphonse Taylor became the latest to join the Crimson Tide's recruiting class on Friday.

"After carefully considering the amazing opportunities in front of me, I am committing to play football for the University of Alabama and enroll in January," Taylor said in a statement. "I appreciate the support of my family, friends, teachers, and coaches who have always helped and supported me. While there were many factors to my decision, ultimately I want to play nose guard for Alabama whose fierce and dedicated defenses are a tradition in this state and around the nation."

The 6-foot-6, 350-pound tackle had been committed to the Seminoles since April but had a recent change of heart and opened things back up.

"He has explosive moves off the ball, quick hands, and is very coachable," analyst Tom Lemming said. "He has proven to be a dominating run blocker over the past two years with good initial quickness, long arms, and the frame to become a dominating OT at the next level."

Taylor becomes the 24th commitment for Alabama's class of 2012.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 7:55 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 8:58 pm

SEC junior college early signees

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Wednesday, December 21st is the first day Junior College players can sign with schools across the country and the faxes are already in for several commitments. Here's a list of each SEC team and who has signed or is expected to sign paperwork soon. This is for the early period only.


Los Angeles Harbor C.C. (Calif.) defensive end Austin Flynn


Eastern Arizona C.C. (Ariz.) cornerback Travell Dixon




East Mississippi C.C. (Miss.) defensive tackle Damien Jacobs


Coffeyville C.C. (Kan.) offensive lineman Mark Beard


East Central C.C. (Miss.) defensive back Kory Brown




Coahoma C.C. (Miss.) offensive lineman Darone Bailey
City College of San Francisco (Calif.) offensive lineman Pierce Burton
Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) defensive back Dehendret Collins

Mississippi State

East Mississippi C.C. (Miss.) defensive end Denico Autry
Gulf Coast C.C. (Miss.) offensive lineman Dylan Holley
Butte C.C. (Calif.) offensive lineman Charles Siddoway



South Carolina



Gulf Coast C.C. (Miss.) defensive end Darrington Sentimore

Texas A&M

Gulf Coast C.C. (Miss.) defensive back Otis Jacobs



Posted on: December 21, 2011 7:10 pm

Texas defensive end picks Arkansas

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Even before the addition of Texas A&M to the SEC, Arkansas has always recruited the Lone Star State well and that has picked up under Bobby Petrino. The coaching staff added another Texan on Wednesday as Manvel (Texas) defensive end Taiwan Johnson surprisingly committed to the Razorbacks.

“I love the community there and the coaching staff was great,” Johnson told 247sports. “The Arkansas Razorbacks are doing some big-time things. It's a chance for me to play in the SEC.”

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Johnson held scholarship offers from Oklahoma State, Missouri, SMU and others but many expected him to pledge to Nebraska. He took visits to both Lincoln and Fayetteville but felt the Hogs provided the best opportunity and was the right distance from home.

“I have made up my mind so there was no point in dragging it out,” Johnson said. “This way, I can focus on Arkansas and come in and make an impact.”

Johnson becomes the 22nd commitment for the Razorbacks' class of 2012.

"Taiwan shows quick feet, long legs, does a good job of playing off blockers, and has really improved his quickness over the past year," analyst Tom Lemming said. "He turned into one of the better pass rushers in the district in 2010 and should fill out to 270 pounds in a couple of years. He does a good job of fighting double-teams, staying on his feet, and finding the ball. He also shows very good lateral quickness and does a good job of hitting moving targets."
Posted on: December 18, 2011 5:19 pm

Alabama flips four-star back Yeldon from Auburn

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The rumors had been circulating for weeks that Daphne (Ala.) running back T.J. Yeldon would be decommitting from Auburn and flipping to rival Alabama. Sunday afternoon, the four-star running back turned the rumors into news and officially changed his commitment to the Crimson Tide.

“Over the last few weeks, I’ve really put a lot of time and thought into where I want to go to school and continue my football career. I am blessed to be in a situation where I have several great opportunities and I appreciate everyone involved who has helped me get to this point," Yeldon said in a statement issued to the media. "I want to make an announcement so I can put this behind me and get to work on the things I need to do to prepare for college both athletically and academically. I am going to enroll at the University of Alabama in January"

The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder had been hotly pursued by the Tide coaching staff despite his commitment. Ranked 123rd overall and the 7th-best big back in the country by MaxPreps, Yeldon gives the program an able replacement should Heisman finalist Trent Richardson depart to the NFL.

"I have a lot of respect for Auburn, the coaches, and all of the people there, but at the end of the day I feel like the University of Alabama is the best situation and fit for me and my family," Yeldon said. "I am 100 percent confident with my final decision. I feel great about it and I’m excited to get started.”

An early enrollee, Yeldon becomes the 22nd commitment for Alabama's class of 2012 and is joined at the running back position by Kenyan Drake. He was recently named MVP of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game and rushed for 2,193 yards and 31 touchdowns during his senior season.

"T.J. blends good size with great power and speed," analyst Tom Lemming said. "He shows explosive big-play capabilities, good movement skills, and is able to cut on a dime. He's a reliable receiver and also a very reliable between the tackles runner."

Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:41 am
Edited on: December 14, 2011 11:45 am

Justin Thomas flips to Georgia Tech from Alabama

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's not often Nick Saban loses a recruit to another school. It's hard to figure out when was the last time he lost one to an ACC school from Alabama however, much less to a school like Georgia Tech. Such was the case Tuesday, as Prattville (Ala.) athlete Justin Thomas decommitted from the Crimson Tide and pledged to the Yellow Jackets in a stunning flip.

"The Bama people have been great about this including Coach Saban who told Justin he can always come home if he wants. I think Justin feels relieved now and he was really worried about it, but after talking with Coach Saban yesterday and today and Coach Johnson and Coach Kelly at Tech everything seems to right," Thomas' father, Milton, told JacketsOnline.com. "Justin is very happy with his decision."

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Thomas has been labeled as an athlete and was expected to enroll at Alabama as a defensive back. He had a change of heart however and wanted to play quarterback - which he did in high school - at the next level, making the speedster a perfect fit for Georgia Tech's option offense.

"Bama said they would give Justin a shot at quarterback and he believes them, but Coach (Paul) Johnson's offense is centered around guys with Justin's type of talent and Justin has a point he wants to prove to a lot of people about being a quarterback and not just an athlete," Milton Thomas said. "He has won championships at every level in every sport he has played including football and even AAU basketball. He wants to bring that to Georgia Tech now."

The younger Thomas recently led his Prattville High team to an Alabama state championship. His flip leaves the Tide with 21 commitments for the class of 2012 and gives the Yellow Jackets 14. Thomas is ranked as the 9th best athlete in the class by Maxpreps and 92nd overall.

"A QB in high school, he reminds me of Pat White, a great ballhandler with decent arm strength but who shows incredible running skills," analyst Tom Lemming said. "In the right program, he could be a difference maker at quarterback."

Posted on: December 12, 2011 12:07 pm

Vols flip tight end Meredith from North Carolina

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's getting late in the recruiting process and with last-minute pitches and visits, several recruits are starting to flip their pledge from one school to another. Anderson (S.C.) tight end Justin Meredith became the latest, changing his commitment from North Carolina to Tennessee over the weekend.

"It just felt right in my heart," Meredith told VolQuest.com.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound pass catcher had been committed to the Tar Heels for months but was keeping his options open with a new head coach coming in and possible NCAA sanctions. Meredith held scholarship offers from schools such as Auburn, Clemson, Notre Dame and others but just felt comfortable with the people in Knoxville.

"Just the coaching staff (at UT), and it felt like home. It just didn't feel right in my heart (at UNC anymore), and Tennessee felt right," he said.

Meredith is the only tight end in the Vols class of 2012 and 21st overall commitment. The early enrollee is ranked 4th at his position by MaxPreps.

"Justin runs great routes, catches everything within reach, is a tremendous lead blocker, and can split out and even play WR," analyst Tom Lemming said. "A hybrid in high school who will wind up playing TE in college. When I watched Justin on film I was impressed with his lightning quick reactions, and his ability to quickly avoid traffic, find the open space, catch the ball, and immediately turn up field."
Posted on: December 10, 2011 2:02 pm

Sumlin can save promising Texas A&M class

Posted by Bryan Fischer

As soon as Mike Sherman was let go as head coach at Texas A&M, many speculated that Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin would take the drive up highway 6 and take over. That's exactly what will happen, with CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman confirming that Sumlin had accepted an offer to be the Aggies next coach on Saturday morning.

Sumlin, 47, understands the culture in College Station and knows how to recruit there. He worked under R.C. Slocum at the school and was an assistant on Bob Stoops' Oklahoma staff before moving on to Houston. Sumlin took over for Art Briles and led the Cougars to two 10-win seasons and two division titles while compiling a 35-17 record.

As Feldman notes, Sumlin has the reputation of being a good motivator, player's coach while maintaining discipline. Sherman left him some talent as the Aggies move to the SEC next season and a top 10 recruiting class for 2012. In addition to hiring a good staff, the first task that Sumlin has to do is hit the recruiting trail and try and keep the pieces for February together.

At the moment, there have only been a handful of defections following Sherman's firing and it's doubtful there will be many more. MaxPreps has A&M's class ranked ninth in the country with top players such as quarterback Matt Davis, linebacker Jordan Richmond and running back Trey Williams. After securing everybody's pledge over the next few weeks with in-home visits, Sumlin will have to go about filling the rest of the class out. He knows Texas high schools very well and can bring in a few players who maybe hadn't considered the Aggies before.

Going forward, it's obviously a step up in terms of a job. Conference USA to SEC is quite a leap on the field. Off the field, Sumlin knows the lay of the land and will have that added selling point of playing in the country's best conference. He likely will try to lock down the talent-rich Houston area and it should be fun to see how he does against Texas and other powerhouses such as LSU on the recruiting trail.

The facilities are there in College Station, it's a solid program and now they have a pretty good salesman. It shouldn't be too hard for Sumlin to save the 2012 class and hit the ground running in 2013.

Posted on: December 8, 2011 1:47 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 1:49 pm

Alabama adds another linebacker in Denzel Devall

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Alabama will play LSU in the national championship game and it appears they've already scored more often than they did in the teams first match up. The Tide reached into Tigers territory on Wednesday to pull a commitment out of Bastrop (La.) linebacker Denzel Devall.

"I just felt like it was a great fit from the get go," Devall told TideSports.com. "I like the system, the school and everything about it. Just everything about it. From all the programs, the academic programs, Coach (Nick) Saban, the coaching staff...it's the place to go if you want to be successful."

The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder held offers from Arkansas, LSU, Oklahoma and Texas A&M among others. A big fan of Saban's since his days with the Tigers, Devall has no divided loyalties with the home state team after making his commitment public.

"I'll take my official visit the weekend after we beat LSU in the national championship," he said.

Devall gives the Crimson Tide 22 verbal pledges for the class of 2012 and he becomes the fifth linebacker.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com