Alabama football has held onto its 14-player recruiting class of 2022 for over a month now, or since defensive back Jake Pope pledged in August, but what unfolded Friday night in nearby Alabaster should give Crimson Tide fans some things to look forward to.
When Hewitt-Trussville visited Thompson High a few nights ago, it not only was a 7A Region 3 game between two AHSAA powers, but a showcase, and collection of prep prospects who've been pursued by Alabama to play football at the next level.
For one, Jeremiah Alexander, the Thompson linebacker and highest-rated commit to the Crimson Tide for 2022, was disruptive and pretty much all other descriptions you'd come to expect from one of the nation's best players at the high school level.
SI All-American was there to watch Alexander, among other prospects, and here's what its recruiting experts had to say of the Alabama pledge who ranks first nationally at his position:
Jeremiah Alexander - "If there was an MVP award for the game, it would go to the Crimson Tide linebacker commitment, who was all over the field for Thompson. Alexander had several tackles, including a couple for loss, but really changed the game against the pass. Alexander forced two turnovers (one on downs), including tipping a pass that would be intercepted and returned for a touchdown. He nearly registered a safety on his four-sack evening."
There's another name to watch from Thompson, though, and that's Peter Woods, one of the top junior prospects in the country. Woods has been in touch with Crimson Tide coaches for a while now, and he's visited campus on multiple occasions since the spring.
And SIAA was impressed with the Thompson High defender who decided to wear Clemson-themed gloves for the in-region rivalry.
Peter Woods - "The elite junior recruit is hearing from the nation's best, and Clemson had multiple assistants on hand to check him out. Sporting Clemson gloves, he didn't disappoint, combining with Alexander on multiple sacks and making several stops against the run at or behind the line. Woods' short-area quickness relative to his size (listed at 6'4", 240 pounds) is head turning on its own, and the strength and motor are also there, part of the reason Alabama, Georgia, Oregon and everyone else recruit him hard."
Keeping with the trend of Thompson players, and keeping with the class of 2023, defensive back Tony Mitchell is one of the best players in the country at his position. And when SIAA releases its SI99, its annual player rankings of the top 99 prospects, for next year's class, Mitchell will be ranked among the top-rated prospects regardless of position.
Here's what the SIAA staff saw in the Alabama target:
Tony Mitchell - "Another elite junior on the loaded Thompson roster, Mitchell worked at safety and wasn't challenged down the field very much, thanks in large part to the great group the Warriors sport up front. But in run support, he made a mark, filling the alley with a big hit on the opposing QB to force a fumble and create a turnover. Mitchell also looked noticeably bigger and more filled out on his impressive 6'2" frame. No wonder it's programs like Georgia, where he visited over the weekend, Alabama, Clemson, Florida and others still in on the one-time Tennessee commitment."
Now, turning to the Hewitt-Trussville sideline, offensive lineman Riley Quick, brother of current Crimson Tide player Pierce Quick, was also a standout performer. The thing is, though, the younger Quick is committed to play baseball at Alabama despite showing enough potential to be pursued and offered a football scholarship by high-profile programs like the Crimson Tide and others.
Interestingly, Quick performed well enough Friday night for the SIAA staff to draw comparisons to his older brother as a prospect along the offensive line.
Riley Quick - "The younger brother of Alabama offensive lineman Pierce Quick, Riley could give him a run for his money as a football prospect. Like big bro, he plays on both sides of the ball and flashed as both a blocker and high-motor defensive lineman on a strong 6'6" frame. Unlike big bro, Quick is also an elite baseball player, projected to pitch in college with a fastball exceeding 90 miles per hour. While the upside, especially if he were to move on from baseball, is easy to project in football -- the senior has already made a decision. He will play baseball at Alabama, unless the MLB draft is too much to pass up."
Currently, and as previously mentioned, Alabama football holds a 2022 recruiting class of 14 player commitments. But as its season moves forward, there are a good many seniors who've planned weekend visits for some of the Crimson Tide's upcoming home games.