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Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game Recruiting Notebook

The latest on the recruiting trail for the Alabama and Mississippi Class of 2022 All Stars

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The top senior football talent from the state of Alabama and Mississippi have each been preparing for Saturday's All-Star border game. 

Many have made verbal commitments, while several are still searching for their collegiate football home. From SI99 recruits to those emerging late in the process, the Sports Illustrated team on the ground in southern Mississippi has gathered the very latest on the recruiting front. 

CB Khamauri Rogers

The highest-ranked prospect in town for the game, though he won't play due to ACL rehab, there is still fluidity late in Rogers' recruiting process. The longtime Miami commitment of course has kept up with the transition in Coral Gables, while Mississippi State and others vie for a commitment flip. The Madison (Miss.) Holmes County product has already connected with new Hurricane coach Mario Cristobal. 

“He’s going to get after it,' Rogers said. "He’s going to recruit as much as he can, and recruit whoever he wants. Whoever he wants he’s going to get.”

Rogers was just in Starkville for a visit and confirmed plans to sign on Wednesday. As for a final visit over the weekend, he said if he ends up anywhere it will be back in south Florida. 

IDL Jaheim Oatis

A massive SI99 interior defensive lineman with plenty of suitors, Oatis has been a public pledge to Nick Saban and Alabama since April and has yet to budge. However, a bevy of trips to Ole Miss during the fall, including an official visit just last weekend, has many curious about the 370-pounder late in the game. Mississippi State is shooting its shot, too, as one may expect. 

“They are still all over me,” Oatis said. “Ole Miss and Mississippi State came (for an in-home visit already). ‘Bama is coming with Nick (Saban)."

After Saturday's all-star game, Oatis has tentative plans to spend the final stretch of the contact period in Tuscaloosa for one final visit before signing day.

DE Trevion Williams

As physically impressive as any one prospect working out in Hattiesburg, the competition for Williams' signature feels appropriate late in the game. A one-time commitment to Florida State, the outside-in pass rusher out of Mississippi has each in-state power heavy on his trail, but also others in the SEC while FSU has yet to throw in the towel.

“I’m down to Auburn, Tennessee, Florida State, Ole Miss and Mississippi State,” Williams said.

Williams confirmed that he’s not visiting any schools after the Alabama versus Mississippi All-Star game on Saturday, but will in fact end the process on December 15 with his signature. As for the deciding factor, Williams is looking to make a family decision, with heavy input from his mother. Can he be pulled out of state?

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LB TJ Dudley

Dudley is ready to take his time with the back-end of the process after a longtime pledge to Oregon, of course now without a head coach after Mario Cristobal took the Miami job earlier this week. The Montgomery (Ala.) Catholic linebacker has no shortage of options, though, as he said Clemson was on the phone with him seven minutes after he decommitted from the Ducks. 

Alabama, Auburn, Texas, UCF and others have been in contact, too. Visits could take place down the line, as Dudley has two official visits left at his disposal. If trips factor into the final decision, likely in February as part of the traditional signing day, expect the Gators and new head coach Billy Napier to get an in-person chance. The three-down 'backer says has has never been to Gainesville. 

Slot WR Kobe Prentice

A senior-riser who took the state by storm in 2021, committing to Alabama just before the season began, it led to increased interest. A former Maryland commitment, others made plays for the speedy slot receiver along the way. As of this week just one other program was even efforting to make a move on the in-state pledge to the Crimson Tide, Arizona State. Despite the consistency, it would be a surprise if Prentice would ink with a non-Alabama program come Wednesday. He was among the best in the Yellowhammer State with 1,229 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior for Calera (Ala.) High. 

QB Bennett Meredith

Quarterback dominos are still falling late in the cycle, thanks in part to all the coaching changes still going on, and the Hoover (Ala.) High School quarterback has been in the thick of it all along. After backing off of his Northwestern commitment December 4, he has added scholarship offers from Maryland and UCOnn. Arizona State had been communicating with him even longer and he took a trip to ASU just before reopening the process. While the Sun Devils appeared to be the team to beat at the time, Meredith added the Terrapin offer and will get out to see College Park after the conclusion of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game on Saturday. Washington State and others have also been in contact of late.

IOL Anez Cooper

A massive two-way lineman, who made plays on both sides of the ball in the state championship game last Thursday, the 6'6", 350-pound Cooper is one of the most intriguing prospects in the Southern footprint among those uncommitted. Early on, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss appeared to be among the options for Cooper but it has since shifted to Auburn and Colorado. The Buffs have long been in contact but the in-state Tigers have begun to push. AU Offensive line coach Will Friend went in-home with Cooper last week and head coach Bryan Harsin is still trying to schedule his turn. Either way, the guard projection may be the final piece to the Auburn offensive line puzzle come signing day. 

Lineman Tae Woody

A two-way lineman working on the defensive side of the ball this week, Woody has long been committed to Florida State. The local Auburn Tigers have pushed for him for several months, even hosting him for unofficial visits in September and late October, but the senior has been steadfast for the Seminoles every step of the way. He was back in Tallahassee near the end of the college football season and appears in position to sign with FSU when all is said and done. 

IDL Trevon McAlpine

The Saraland (Ala.) defensive lineman was committed to TCU from June until November, when the news of Gary Patterson no longer leading the program became public. Others in the Big 12 quickly got back in contact with the impressive interior pass rusher, including Oklahoma State and Texas Tech's new staff under Joey McGuire. McAlpine took a trip to Stillwater for an official visit in late November and he loved what he experienced, even likening the town to his native Saraland. Tech is making a strong counter, so it could be a photo finish come next Wednesday. McAlpine will sign considering he is a January enrollee at his school of choice. 

DB Jourdan Thomas

A longtime commitment to Mississippi State, Thomas made the flip to the SEC East with a Tennessee commitment just before departing for Mississippi to compete this week. Thomas cited how UT recruited his family in addition to him both before and after a critical official visit to Knoxville the first weekend in December. 

"Coach (Josh) Heupel, I believe in him, and I believe the program is changing and going in the right direction," he said. 

RB Braylon McReynolds

A speedy and shifty back who broke out as a senior at Mobile (Ala.) McGil-Toolen to the tune of 2,101 rushing yards and more than 30 touchdowns, interest has increased for the three-down back. McReynolds committed to South Alabama, local to his native Mobile, back in mid October. Since, additional programs have remained in contact and one -- Tulane -- could be in position to challenge the Jaguars for his pledge late in the game. 

K Alex McPherson

The All-American kicker, who set the state record with a 61-yard field goal as a senior, has turned heads all week with his booming kicks. A longtime commitment to Auburn, there was some curiosity as to why he didn't follow his older brother and NFL kicker Evan McPherson's path of playing for the Florida Gators. While the UF tender was extended by Dan Mullen's staff around the same time his brother picked it up in his prep career, Alex always wanted to be an Auburn Tiger and could not pass up the opportunity to do so when it was his turn to make the decision. 

Brian Smith contributed to this feature.