Some of the talk surrounding Alabama's 2022 recruiting class was the lack of defensive backs. Well, that issue has been addressed in a big way as defensive back Earl Little Jr. signed his National Letter of Intent to Alabama.
"Just being recruited by a prestigious school like Alabama is great," Little said during his announcement on ESPN 2. "I'm thankful for all of it."
Little is ranked No. 45 in the SI99 recruiting rankings, and he is the seventh cornerback on the list.
The Florida native is an all-around good defensive back, and his speed an athleticism make him more than capable to compete with the best in the future of college football. Little Jr. breaks on the ball with purpose, and he is active with his hands at the right time to force incompletions. He often returns punts for American Heritage, using his speed to get the the edge for chunks of yards.
Little spent his high school days at American Heritage High in Plantation, Florida, the alma mater of former Alabama cornerback and current Denver Bronco Patrick Surtain II.
Little is 6-foot, 175 pounds, but he uses every ounce of his size to make tackles in the open field. He makes receivers uncomfortable with his aggressiveness and utilizes his instincts to play freely.
Florida State and Miami did their best to keep Little in the state, but Alabama's facilities and coaching staff made an impression on him in his two official visits in Tuscaloosa.
Little received an in-home visit from Nick Saban and Alabama defensive back coach Jay Valai last week, and ultimately, the Alabama coaches were able to make Little feel comfortable with his decision.
"It's truly a blessing," Little said. "Getting recruited by a man (Saban) of that standard... I just soak in whatever he has to say every time he speaks."
Little's game could fit really well into the role that Malachi Moore and Brian Branch currently fill, the role that Minkah Fitzpatrick made famous.
Alabama calls it the "star" position, and it has been a fitting name for those who have played it. Little could be effective at the star spot if he were to choose Alabama because he is a gifted athlete and has the ability to undercut routes and turn them into defensive touchdowns. He is also aggressive enough to make sure tackles and be effective on occasional blitzes.
Plus, Little would has more than enough abi in a traditional corner spot, and he will have the opportunity to grow and progress as he learns to guard elite wide receivers in the Alabama program.
Little was a priority throughout the 2022 recruitng cycle for Alabama, and he has now officially found his home with the Crimson Tide.
Side note: Little and his family had Crimson Tide bucket hats ready for his commitment.
EARL LITTLE JR.
DB, 6-1, 180, Fort Lauderdale, Fla./American Heritage
One of the top defensive back prospects coming out of the talent-rich state of Florida … a unanimous four-star prospect by all major recruiting sites … the No. 73 recruit and No. 12 corner in the country by 247Sports … also tabbed as the No. 11 player from Florida by 247Sports and Rivals.com … the 75th-rated player on the Rivals100 and No. 9 cornerback nationally by Rivals … listed as the No. 101 player in the country and the No. 12 cornerback on the 247Composite … ESPN.com’s 25th-ranked corner and the No. 207 player on the ESPN300 … selected to the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas … coached by Patrick Surtain Sr. at American Heritage High School … son of former NFL player Earl Little … chose Alabama over in-state Florida State and Miami along with LSU among his 30-plus offers.