At mid-morning Wednesday, it appeared Alabama had lost one of its top prospects, the brother of a current Crimson Tide player. Not only lost him, but lost him to Auburn.
Cyrus Kouandjio is more than just the younger brother of Alabama offensive tackle Arie Kouandjio. Cyrus, a 6-7, 290-pound offensive tackle at DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md., is ranked by Scout.com the number one player in the nation at his position, number two overall to Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end from Rock Hill, S.C.
There had been hints that Cyrus might not sign with Alabama, which was one of his finalists along with Auburn, Iowa, and New Mexico. For a year he had said that he would not necessarily sign with Bama just because his brother had selected the Crimson Tide. He indicated he wanted to be his own man. Then in the final weeks there were reports that Cyrus would spring a surprise.
He did spring a surprise.
In a nationally televised announcement, Cyrus stammered “Auburn.”
Understandably, Auburn fans were delighted, at least as much for taking one from Alabama as for the fact that Kouandjio is a fabulous prospect. But if Kouandjio choosing Auburn was surprising, his next decision was shocking.
Kristen Kenney covered th event at DeMatha Catholic for Scout.com. Moments after the announcement, she posted that Cyrus had not signed his letter of intent and “has serious doubts about choosing Auburn. His family has doubts.”
Later she reported to Andrew Bone of Scout.com that Kouandjio told her, “I feel like I may have made the wrong choice.” She predicted that he would not sign today, that he “may take a few days to rethink his decision and then sign.”
It still is possible that Kouandjio could choose Auburn in this bizarre situation.
Meanwhile, almost lost in the news was that Alabama got the signature of Brant Calloway of Russellville, who had committed to Alabama, then switched his commitment to Auburn. He switched back Wednesday.
Another mild signing day surprise was that Alabama landed 6-4, 260-pound defensive tackle Jeoffrey Pagan of Asheville, N.C. Formerly committed to Clemson, many expected Pagan to sign with Georgia.
There is still the possibility that Alabama will add the nation’s top player, Clowney. The 6-5, 235-pound defensive end, is expected to sign on his birthday (also Valentine’s Day), Feb. 14. Clowney is deciding between Alabama and South Carolina.
Alabama was at 23 on signees, including two who had signed in 2010 and re-signed this year. There are three junior college transfers in the group. The two gray shirts who re-signed, wide receiver Ronald Carswell and defensive lineman Wilson Love, and the three junior college transfers, offensive lineman Aaron Douglas, defensive lineman Qinton Dial, and defensive lineman Jesse Williams, are already enrolled at Alabama.
Also already enrolled and preparing to go through spring practice at Bama are four who were graduated early from high school -- outside linebacker Trey DePriest, quarterback Phillip Ely, running back Dee Hart, and outside linebacker/safety Vinnie Sunseri.
Although committed to Bama and listed by many as a Tide signee, middle linebacker Shannon Brown, will begin his college career at East Mississippi Community College.
Daryl Collins, a wide receiver from Gadsden City, had been listed as a commitment to Alabama, but on Wednesday was reported to have signed with Kentucky. Prior to signing day, Collins had said he would be a gray shirt at Alabama.
Early reports were that the Crimson Tide did not intend to sign as many players from the state of Alabama this year as is normally the case, and that proved true. Even with one junior college signee and one grayshirt who are native Alabamians, Bama added only seven from the state.
Bama signed three from Georgia, including one grayshirt (and not including Shannon Brown); four from Florida; two from Tennessee; two from Ohio; and one each from Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, California, and Australia.
The list includes seven defensive linemen, four linebackers (including Brown and with Sunseri listed as a linebacker), three defensive backs, four wide receivers, one tight end, three offensive linemen, one quarterback, and one running back.
Alabama signed two five star performers, 14 four stars, and eight three stars. The two five star players, safety Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix and outside linebacker Trey DePriest, were both ranked as the top player in the nation at their positions.
It is a mistake to say there are losses in recruiting, because one can’t lose what one doesn’t have. Bama did hold out hope for Isaiah Crowell, the nation’s top running back from Carver in Columbus, Ga., but Crowell--as expected--jumped on the Georgia ship.
Alabama’s latest signees are:
Shannon Brown, 6-2, 237, linebacker from Cook County High School in Adel, Ga., a four-star Scout.com player ranked 10th at his position. Brown has enrolled at East Mississippi Community College with plans to re-sign with Alabama in the future.
Brent Calloway, who was one of Bama’s early commitments, then changed his commitment to Auburn, then changed back to the Crimson Tide on signing day. He is a 6-3, 223-pound outside linebacker and running back from Russellville who is ranked the nation’s number seven outside linebacker and a four star.
Ronald Carswell, a 6-0, 170-pound wide receiver from Westside High in Macon, Ga., is no stranger to signing with Alabama. He inked with the Crimson Tide last year, then sat out as a gray shirt and signed again this year. He is already enrolled at UA. As a 2010 Scout prospect he was ranked 38th in the nation at his position and a four star.
Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, a 6-2, 190-pound safety from Orlando, Fla., and Dr. Phillips High School, who is ranked the number one safety in the nation, a five-star player.
Trey DePriest, 6-2, 230, outside linebacker, ranked number one at his position and a five star. The Springfield, Ohio, native is already enrolled at Alabama.?
Quinton Dial, 6-5, 310, defensive lineman, is a transfer from East Mississippi Community College. He signed with Alabama two years ago and has re-signed and is already enrolled. He is a four star.
Xzavier Dickson, 6-4, 248, defensive end from Griffin (Ga.) High School, is ranked 13th at his position and a four star.
Aaron Douglas, 6-6, 290, offensive tackle, is a transfer from Arizona Western Junior College and already enrolled at Bama. He is a native of Maryville, Tenn., and formerly started at Tennessee. He is a three star.
Phillip Ely, 6-1, 186, is a quarterback from Plant High in Tampa, Fla., and is already enrolled. He is ranked 41st among quarterback prospects and a three star.
Malcolm Faciane, 6-5, 215, tight end from Memorial High in Picayune, Miss., is a three star prospect ranked 22nd at his position.
LaMichael Fanning, 6-7, 270, is a defensive lineman who moved around in his prep career (including Auburn High in Alabama) and finished at Harris County High School in Hamilton, Ga. He is ranked 25th at his position and a four star.
Dee Hart, 5-9, 189, running back who was the outstanding player in the Army All-American Game, is from Dr. Phillips in Orlando, where he was a four star and ranked eighth at his position. He is enrolled at Bama for the spring semester.
Christion Jones, who is also listed as Chris Jones by some, is a 5-10, 175-pound cornerback from Minor High in Adamsville. He is 29th at his position and a three star.
Ryan Kelly, a 6-5, 280-pound center from Lakota West High in West Chester, Ohio, was listed at the nation’s number two center prospect and a four star.
Wilson Love, the brother of Tide offensive lineman Tyler Love, is a 6-4, 290-pound defensive lineman from Mountain Brook. He was a 2010 signee who elected to gray shirt and re-sign this year and is already enrolled.
Isaac Luatua, 6-3, 298, offensive linman from La Mirada (Calif.) High School, is ranked 18th at his position and a three star.
Jeoffrey Pagan, 6-4, 260, defensive lineman from Asheville (N.C.) High was a signing day announcement. He is ranked 16th at his position and a four star.
D.J. Pettway, 6-2, 255, is a defensive tackle at Catholic High in Pensacola, Fla., ranked 23rd at his position and a three star.
Marvin Shinn, 6-4, 195, wide receiver from Vigor High in Prichard, was considered by many to be the top prospect in Alabama. He was rnaked as the nation’s 17th best wide receiver prospect by Scout.com and a four star.
Vinnie Sunseri, 6-0, 205, is listed as an outside linebacker, but is cnsidered by many to be a likely safety for Alabama. He is the son of Tide Linebackers Coach Sal Sunseri and played at North Ridge High in Tuscaloosa. He is ranked 28th as an outside linebacker and a three star.
Bradley Sylve, 5-10, 175, is a wide receiver from South Plaquemines High in Port Sulphur, La., and is ranked 36th at his position and a four star.
Jabriel Washington, 5-11, 165, is a cornerback from Trinity Christian Academy in Jackson, Tenn., where he was ranked 19th at his position and a four star.
Jesse Williams, 6-4, 340, defensive tackle, is the first Bama football player from Brisbane, Australia. He signed originally out of high school with Hawaii, then went to Arizona Western Junior College. Already enrolled at The Capstone, he is a four star.
Danny Woodson, Jr., 6-2, 205, wide receiver, is from Mobile LeFlore. He is the son of a former Tide quarterback. He is a four star who is ranked 28th at his position.