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April 17, 2014

Elite prospects hitting A-Day

The University of Alabama coaching staff will host several elite prospects in Tuscaloosa this weekend. Alabama has 10 commitments and currently ranked the No. 1 class in the country.

Five-star party
Four of the top 11 prospects in the Rivals100 are scheduled to visit for A-Day weekend. Minkah Fitzpatrick, five-star cornerback from St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, N.J., visited Alabama on Thursday. He is in Alabama for Easter weekend visiting his family in Wetumpka and will attend A-Day on Saturday. Fitzpatrick named the Tide his favorite last weekend at the Rivals Camp, and said there is a possibility of a commitment before he leaves town.

Daron Payne, five-star defensive tackle from Shades Valley High School in Ala., is the state's top rated prospect. Payne attended one of Alabama's spring practices a few weeks ago. He recently said Alabama and Auburn are the top two schools on his list. He says Alabama is recruiting him the hardest at this time. The Under Armour All-American and Five-star Challenge invitee says he is in no rush to make a decision.

Damien Harris, the nation's top running back from Madison Central High School in Berea, Ky., will also visit on Saturday. Harris originally planned to visit Alabama in March, but delayed the trip until this weekend. Harris tweeted on Thursday night, "Can't wait to be in Tuscaloosa this weekend." The five-star has yet to trim his list of favorites.

Calvin Ridley, five-star wide receiver from Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Fla., will visit Alabama on Friday and Saturday with teammate Shawn Burgess-Becker, Rivals100 safety. Ridley has listed Alabama and Miami as his top two schools for the last few months. He visited Auburn on Thursday, but did not claim any favorites after the trip. Burgess-Becker has favored Alabama for the past two months.

*CeCe Jefferson, five-star defensive tackle from Baker County High School in Glen St. Mary, Fla., had tentative plans to visit Alabama. However, he won't be able to make the trip to Tuscaloosa.

More four-stars
Several elite uncommitted athletes outside the five-star category will also visit including a few in the Rivals100. Leo Lewis, Rivals100 linebacker from Brookhaven High School in Miss., Terry Godwin, Rivals100 athlete and Georgia commitment from Calloway High School in Hogansville, Ga., Derrius Guice, Rivals100 running back from Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, La., and Natrez Patrick, four-star defensive end from Mays High School in Atlanta.

Lewis visited Alabama earlier in the year for Junior Day. Godwin visited Alabama two weekends ago with his parents. The Bulldog commitment also attended the Tide's Junior Day. Guice attended Junior Day in February and earned an offer. He recently released a top five which included Alabama. Patrick visited Alabama earlier this spring and has an offer from the Tide.

Alabama hosted one of the top players in Missouri on Wednesday in Hale Hentges, four-star tight end from Helias High School in Jefferson City. Alex Ofodile, four-star wide receiver from Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, is the top player in the Show Me State. This is Ofodile's first visit to the Capstone.

A few of the state's elite prospects are set to return including Darrell Williams, four-star linebacker from Hoover High School, Christian Bell, four-star defensive end from Hoover High School, Bradrick Shaw, four-star running back from Hoover High School, and Nick Gibson, four-star running back from Pinson Valley High School.

Williams, who grew up an Alabama fan, named Auburn his favorite after visiting the Tigers last weekend. Bell has visited Alabama several times in the last few months including three visits this spring. Shaw was originally participating in a track event this weekend, but the event was cancelled. Gibson lists Alabama, Mississippi State and Tennessee his favorites. He also grew up an Alabama fan.

Some other big names who are confirmed visitors this weekend are Zach Gentry, four-star quarterback from Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Fletcher Adams, four-star defensive tackle from Brandon High School in Miss., Kyle Phillips, four-star defensive end from Hillsboro High School in Nashville, Darius Fullwood, four-star defensive end from Good Counsel High School in Olney, Md., Will Gragg, four-star tight end from Pine Bluff High School in Ark., Adonis Thomas, four-star outside linebacker from Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville,. Ga., and West Virginia commitment Jovon Durante, four-star wide receiver from Norland High School in Miami.

Gentry has the Tide in his final four along with Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Texas. This is is first visit to Alabama. Adams and Phillips have been in Tuscaloosa a few times. Fullwood will make his first visit to Alabama. He has several offers including one from the Tide. Gragg has visited Alabama several times. He lists the Tide very high on his list of favorites. Thomas visited the Tide two weekends ago. He favors Alabama and Florida. This is Durante's first visit to Alabama.

Additional names to know
Gabriel Campbell, defensive end from Yazoo City High School, received an offer from Alabama a few months ago. He also has offers from Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Kirk Merritt, three-star wide receiver from Destrehan High School in La., has an offer from Alabama and will also visit this weekend.

Kengera Daniel, three-star defensive end from Millbrook High School in Raleigh, N.C., Jaelan Austin, three-star wide receiver from South Prairie High School in Grand Prairie, Texas, and K.J. Hill, three-star wide receiver from North Little Rock High School in Ark., will return to the Capstone. Daniel and Hill attended Alabama's Junior Day in February. Both collected offers during the trip. Austin does not have an offer from Alabama. He has double-digit offers including Arkansas, Iowa, Ole Miss, Nebraska, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

A few in-state prospects receiving a lot of interest from Alabama who plan to visit are Brandon Kennedy, offensive guard from Wetumpka High School, and Darryl Williams, offensive guard from Bessemer City High School. Kenendy's stock continues to rise. He has recently added scholarship offers from Clemson and Mississippi State. He was also selected to play in the Under Armour All-America game. Williams attended the Tide's practice last week.

Darius Whitfield, 2016 lineman from St. Paul's Episcopal School in Mobile, will rank as one of the state's premier prospects. He was named the defensive line MVP at the Rivals Camp in Hattiesburg last month. Whitfield is the younger brother of Alabama signee Josh Casher. He has early offers from Florida State, Louisville, Ole Miss and South Carolina. Malik Miller, 2016 athlete from Madison Academy High School, will return to T-town. Miller has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, North Carolina and Vanderbilt. Jeremiah Moon, 2016 linebacker from Hoover High School, is scheduled to visit. Moon has an offer from Mississippi State.

Other visitors include Benito Jones, 2016 defensive tackle from Wayne County High School in Waynesboro, Miss., Mykel Jones, 2016 wide receiver from Patterson High School in La., and Kaden Smith, 2016 tight end from Flower Mound High School in Texas. Benito Jones is considered one of the premier prospects in the Magnolia State. He has early offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss. Mykel Jones is one of the best prospects in Louisiana. Alabama offered a few months ago. Smith is considered one of the elite tight ends in the country. He has several offers including one from Alabama.

Dylan Moses, 2017 athlete and LSU commitment from University Lab School in Baton Rouge, La., has visited Alabama several times. Alabama was the second school to offer after LSU when he was in the eighth grade. Moses will enter his sophomore year and has lived up to the hype thus far. He was the first 2017 prospect invited to participate in the Rivals Five-Star Challenge.

Commitments, signees set to recruit
Most of the Tide's 2015 class are expected to visit Alabama this weekend. Among the scheduled visitors include Jonathan Ledbetter, Rivals100 defensive end from Tucker High School in Atlanta, Mekhi Brown, Rivals100 defensive end from Carver High School in Columbus, Ga., Desherrius Flowers, Rivals100 running back from Vigor High School in Prichard, Deionte Thompson, Rivals100 safety from West Orange-Stark High School in Orange, Texas, and Lester Cotton, four-star offensive guard from Central High School in Tuscaloosa.

Several of the Tide's commitments including Ledbetter, Brown, Thompson and Cotton have been invited to the Rivals Five-Star Challenge. More arriving include Daylon Charlot, four-star wide receiver from Patterson High School in La., Dallas Warmack, four-star offensive guard from Mays High School in Atlanta, Montrell Custis, three-star athlete from Lovejoy High School in Hampton, Ga., and Anfernee Jennings, three-star defensive end from Dadeville High School. Charlot was recently invited to play in the Under Armour All-America game.

Da'Shawn Hand, Rashaan Evans, Marlon Humphrey, Christian Miller, Bo Scarbrough, Ronnie Clark, Joshua Casher, were all part of the Crimson Tide's 2014 No. 1 recruiting class. They all plan to return to the Capstone on Saturday for the spring game.

Twitter: @AndrewJBone



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