Leading up to national signing day 2014, things were off to a great start in the 2015 class at Alabama, with Ricky Town headlining an already strong group of a handful of talents from Alabama, Texas, Georgia and of course Town from California. There was star-power, balance and priority positions already addressed.
Then, just about a week before Nick Saban and company secured the top 2014 class in America, Town backed off his commitment and was a USC Trojan verbal before day's end.
Since, Alabama has sent out a trio of class of 2015 quarterback offers to four-star prospects. The highest ranked of the group, dual-threat Jarrett Stidham, elected to stay in-state by committing to Texas Tech over the weekend. One of the others offered, Blake Barnett, had already been committed to Notre Dame and remains solid in his pledge.
With just under 11 months until things become official, BamaMag.com takes a look at the current offers out to undeclared quarterbacks in the class, other potential options as well as in-state talent in order to map out the candidates for Saban's staple of landing a QB in each class.
- Torrance Gibson | 6-4, 207 lbs | Plantation (Fla.) Heritage | | No. 3 QB
The Latest: Gibson would be highly ranked if he'd never thrown a football, that's how much of an athlete he is. Long and lean, he's been projected as a wide receiver or athlete for some time, but he insists on playing quarterback at the next level. After leading Heritage to the state title in Florida, in dominating fashion and progressing as a passer in the process, he's facing less and less doubt about his passing abilities. Gibson, who hasn't taken many trips of late, has been working on route-running and pass-catching just in case, however.
- Zach Gentry | 6-6, 230 lbs | Albuquerque (N.M.) El Dorado | | No. 16 QB
The Latest: Gentry has been a hot name of late, as it's looking like he'll land somewhere in the SEC or Big 12 when all said and done. He has no official top group, but most peg the Crimson Tide right in the mix along with Oklahoma State and Tennessee. The Volunteer staff may have been on him the most, but Alabama is pushing as well and will likely host him sometime this spring. Gentry is a dual-threat with great size, but it's his arm that remains his best quality. Expect him not only to see Tuscaloosa soon, but to be back for camp this summer, when the Lane Kiffin-Saban full court-press may occur.
- Kai Locksley | 6-4, 180 lbs | Baltimore (Md.) Gilman | | No. 18 QB
The Latest: Anytime this dual-threat is brought up, so is his father, Mike, who is the offensive coordinator for the hometown Maryland Terrapins. Obviously, that gives the now Big Ten school an early and perhaps significant lead, but Locksley has added offers from some of the best schools in America, and he's not rushing to a decision. Alabama was among nine schools he most recently detailed a desire to visit in the near-future, though a date has not yet been set up. Expect the junior to wait until the summer to narrow things down, possibly right around the time he's invited to camp in Tuscaloosa, perhaps against Gentry and Gibson simultaneously, so the staff can compare its options at one critical time.
Available, Not Yet Offered
- Lorenzo Nunez | 6-2, 185 lbs | Kennesaw (Ga.) Harrison | | No. 22 QB
The Latest: Nunez has been on radar for some time, and he's another dual threat, though an offer has yet to come through for him. A few in the SEC have, as well as top ACC schools and Ohio State, but he's taking things slow anyway. Nunez is known for making plays both with his arm and legs outside of the pocket, so he could need to prove he can throw on a consistent basis before the UA staff pulls the trigger.
- Lamar Jackson | 6-3, 180 lbs | Boynton Beach (Fla.) High | | No. 33 QB
Will the Tide legacy get his shot?
The Latest: One of the more explosive dual-threats on this list, and probably the closest to Gibson in athleticism, Jackson has been pursued by Alabama some of late while he's added big-time offers. Will he be looked at as a true signal-caller at a school like Alabama in this cycle? The answer could be provided at camp this summer, as it appears there is no rush for the Floridian to make a commitment anytime soon.
- J'Mar Smith | 6-1 1/2, 220 lbs | Meridian (Miss.) High | | No. 34 QB
The Latest: The Crimson Tide has known about Smith, another dual-threat, for some time, but only the in-state Bulldogs have pulled the trigger with an offer thus far. He's the offensive spark for one of Mississippi's top programs, and has plenty of arm strength to boot. Will the Tide give him a look at camp? The answer may be yes considering he's an Alabama legacy. His father, Kenny, was a UA standout defensive lineman before an NFL career with the New Orleans Saints.
Within the borders of the Yellowhammer State, it's not a terribly strong year at quarterback, but there are some names to keep an eye on as we approach the camp season. It would be a remarkable story should an in-state talent emerge towards earning a scholarship from the Crimson Tide, especially in this cycle considering there isn't one signal-caller from Alabama with stars next to his name or ranked at the position in the junior class.
Foley (Ala.) High's Tyler Cameron may be the closest to having the "mold" of a pro-style quarterback in the state at 6-foot-4, 212 pounds with a solid arm. He's coming off of his initial season as the starter for the Lions, in which he turned some heads in notching 2,072 passing yards and 17 touchdowns against just four interceptions. Cameron doesn't yet have an offer to his name, though several FBS schools are interested.
Seth Franks has been on the Crimson Tide radar for some time, taking in junior day on campus two weekends ago, though a scholarship offer has yet to be extended his way by any program other than FCS Jacksonville State. The Northport (Ala.) Tuscaloosa County QB is coming off of a hand injury as well, though he's seemingly healed after snagging overall MVP at a local combine this month. Franks will throw at a one-day camp this summer, likely his final shot at the offer.
As dual-threats seems to be the trend Alabama is looking for in the 2015 class, there are three interesting talents in the rising senior class within the state lines. Neither has an offer, and two play for the Prattville (Ala.) Lions. Khalen Whitlow, who has a brother that plays QB at Kentucky, may be the most naturally gifted dual-threat in the state, but transfer Kendarius Manora will have something to say about it this season. At 6-foot-4, 180 pounds, he simply makes plays happen as a passer and/or runner. Then there's Keilan Knight out of Birmingham (Ala.) Center Point. Several schools have been on radar with him, and he doesn't disappoint in person with a good balance of arm strength and accuracy as a passer, and he can surprise with his feet as well.
There are 11 undeclared quarterback names on this list and 11 month to go until things become official with one quarterback inking Crimson next February. Will it be one of the aforementioned? Can Alabama make a move to flip Stidham or another committed elsewhere? Or will there be a dark-horse not on anybody's radar that will emerge?
The good thing about tracking quarterbacks is that the summer is their proving ground, and Alabama will have a much better picture about the possibilities in three months.
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