Second big recruiting weekend looms

William Roach is solidly committed

Despite the fact that the Tide has only a few scholarships left, the second major official-visit weekend of the recruiting season will be extremely important. Bama's position with a few public commitments needs some shoring up, and a couple of uncommitted blue-chip athletes will be in Tuscaloosa, waiting to be impressed.

Please remember, this list is almost certainly incomplete. In fact, we'd bet good money that things will change between now and Friday afternoon. But as of Wednesday night this is what we know (or at least think we know) regarding official visitors tripping to Tuscaloosa this weekend.

Dezmond Sherrod, TE

(6-4, 225, 4.8), Caledonia HS, Caledonia, MS

Dezmond Sherrod

A very good receiving tight end and an excellent student, Coach Sparky Woods likes Sherrod a lot. And if there is a problem with Lane, then Sherrod could end up Bama's main target at tight end. Sherrod hasn't yet received a firm scholarship offer from Alabama, but that situation could change this weekend.

Both Mississippi State and Ole Miss are also recruiting Sherrod very hard. Sherrod has been very interested in Alabama all along, but the previous staff did not really recruit him.

Andraus Grace, DT

(6-3, 302, 5.05), Fort Meade HS, Fort Meade FL

Andraus Grace

Grace will visit with his father this weekend (who went with him last weekend on his trip to Florida State). Grace was on campus over the summer for the NIKE camp, but his parents weren't with him then. He was close to former Tide assistant Stan Eggen, so the coaching change has affected his recruitment.

Various reports had Grace leaning to Florida State after last week's visit, but other sources now say that if he and his father like what they see on their visit, then Grace will recommit to Alabama--supposedly.

Mario Lane, TE/DE

(6-4, 245), Carver HS, Montgomery, AL

This visit was rescheduled from last week, after Lane did not show up--reportedly due to a conflict with a basketball game. Needless to say, if Lane doesn't show this weekend, then the chances of him ending up at Alabama would decrease.

Lane is a tall, big-framed athlete who runs well. He could project at any of several positions on the college level, including tight end, defensive end and offensive tackle.

Jarod Parrish, SS

(6-3, 180, 4.4), Chatooga HS, Summerville, GA

Jarod Parrish

An early commitment to Alabama before the season began, Parrish was another recruit disturbed by the coaching change. In the last several weeks, other schools have made inroads with him, and some sources reported that he committed to Tennessee on an official visit to the Vol campus last weekend. Parrish now says he didn't commit, as was reported.

Like Grace, if things go well this weekend Parrish says he's sticking with Alabama. Parrish is an excellent student. He could project at wide receiver or safety on the college level.

D.J. Chambers, WR

(5-11, 180, 4.4), Highland Home HS, Highland Home, AL

With top-flight receivers Jayson Swain and Chad Jackson strongly leaning to out-of-state schools, Chambers' solid commitment to the Tide has become even more important. He has the athleticism to also possibly project at cornerback, but sources say he'll start on offense.

Chambers was also effective returning kicks.

Jai Miller, WR

(6-4, 192, 4.5), Selma HS, Selma, AL

Jai Miller

Because of his determination to play both football and basketball in college, the previous Tide staff did not pursue Miller very hard. But things have changed. Coach Price's offense will need all the big, fast receivers he can sign, and with Chad Jackson and Jayson Swain probably headed elsewhere, Miller is now a top Tide target.

By the way, though Head Basketball Coach Mark Gottfried can't comment on specific recruits, in "general terms" he spoke very positively about the idea of a "hypothetical" athlete playing both football and football. "That would be something I'd strongly support," he said. Miller could handle either guard position.

(Note: Miller's first name is pronounced "Jay")

William Roach, SS/WR

(6-2, 195, 4.6), Brooks HS, Killen, AL

Another key athlete who committed fairly early in the process, that has probably not gotten the attention he deserves, Roach could end up playing any of several positions in college. Roach relishes physical play, and safety is probably his most likely destination.

An excellent all-around athlete with good size, Roach is the younger brother of Tide middle linebacker Freddie Roach. He is the No. 9 rated safety prospect in the nation, as ranked by TheInsiders.com.

Dustin "Dusty" Goodwin, QB

(6-2, 188, 4.66), Demopolis HS, Demopolis, AL

Dustin Goodwin

The previous staff had no definite plans to sign a quarterback in this year's class, but Coach Price is now saying privately that he very well may sign a quarterback. If so, Goodwin would be a candidate.

Goodwin is a strong-armed athlete with good feet. He isn't as highly rated as several other prospects, but Goodwin has similar size and skills to Jason Gesser, this year's Washington State quarterback that Coach Price developed into an all-star.

Cliff Dunham, DT

(6-3, 270, 4.8), Pacelli HS, Columbus, GA

Several reports have Dunham considering an official visit to Alabama this weekend, but our latest word is that he will probably not take that trip. Dunham has told friends that he's already seen the Alabama campus several times and wants to use his limited official visits on other schools. However, Dunham is also saying that his is still interested in Alabama. If he does end up in Tuscaloosa this weekend, that would certainly be a positive sign.

Dunham is extremely athletic for a big man, many consider Dunham the top defensive tackle prospect in Georgia. But he's also considered unlikely to qualify.

Antonio Cromartie, CB/WR

(6-3, 195, 4.4), Lincoln HS, Tallahassee, FL

According to a report by Rodney Orr of TiderInsider.com, Tallahassee's Antonio Cromartie (6-3, 202, 4.4) also plans to trip to Tuscaloosa this weekend. The bluest of blue chippers, Cromartie is one of the country's top athletes. He has a super combination of size, speed, good hands, and explosiveness and is very elusive. Originally touted by recruiting experts as a wide receiver prospect, Cromartie now tells everyone that he intends to play cornerback in college.

Sharing the same nickname (‘AC'), Cromartie and senior Tide receiver Antonio Carter are from the same home town and are friends. Cromartie attended the NIKE combine held in Tuscaloosa this past summer, though he did not participate in any of the workouts. Any athlete that visits is obviously interested, but Cromartie would be a long shot for Bama at this point.

Defensive Tackles Wanted

With three starters departed to the NFL, it's no secret that Alabama needs to sign several big linemen capable of providing immediate depth on the defensive line.

Freddie Saint Preux pictured in his junior college uniform

Ideally, the staff would sign prep athletes, giving them four (or five) years to develop. But Coach Price often signed junior college athletes at Washington State, and don't be surprised if he follows that route for a D-Tackle.

The following weekend (1/31), Freddie Saint Preux, DT, (6-5, 300), Dodge City Community College, Brooklyn, New York, is scheduled to trip to Tuscaloosa. With Michael Hill and Andraus Grace yet to be locked up firmly, and Cliff Dunham and Andre Fluellen probably longshots at best, Saint Preux could end up being a very important member of the class. Preux redshirted as a true freshman before transferring to Dodge City, so like Ahmad Childress last year, he'd have three years of eligibility left.

NOTE: Unconfirmed reports have one of the top-rated prospects in the South taking a mid-week visit to Alabama--possibly arriving Thursday. Also, there is a good chance that Coach Joe Kines' contacts in Florida may pay off with at least one highly-rated Sunshine State recruit--not previously linked to the Tide--visiting this weekend. BamaMag.com will try to verify those reports today.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Visit lists always remain a "work in progress" up until the time the athletes check in Friday afternoon.

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