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Recruiting Corner: Champions Cookout Weekend, SI All-American Rankings

A look at a key recruiting weekend for the Crimson Tide plus a look at where some Alabama commits landed in recent SIAA position rankings

Alabama football will cap off a stellar month of July this weekend with its annual Champions Cookout, an invite-only event for commitments and top targets. 

Over the last four weeks, the Crimson Tide has shot up 2022 recruiting rankings across the nation after landing defensive back Antonio Kite, offensive lineman Tyler Booker, defensive end Jeremiah Alexander, linebacker Shawn Murphy and wide receiver Kobe Prentice. 

Alabama might not even be done this month just yet with offensive lineman Dayne Shor announcing a public commitment on Saturday afternoon between the likes of the Crimson Tide, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Georgia and others. 

Here is a look at who will be in town this weekend:

Alabama commits

QB Ty Simpson (Westview - Martin, Tenn.)

RB Emmanuel Henderson (Geneva County - Hartford, Ala.)

DL Jaheim Oatis (Columbia - Columbia, Miss.)

WR Kobe Prentice (Calera - Calera, Ala.)

WR/TE Amari Niblack (Lakewood - Clearwater, Fla.)

DB Antonio Kite (Anniston - Anniston, Ala.)

RB Le'veon Moss (Istrouma - Baton Rouge, La.)

DE Jeremiah Alexander (Thompson - Alabaster, Ala.)

OL Tyler Booker (IMG Academy - Bradenton, Fla.)

Targets

DB Earl Little Jr. (American Heritage - Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

DL Khurtiss Perry (Park Crossing - Montgomery, Ala.)

DL Marquis Gracial (St. Charles - St. Charles, Mo.) - Missouri commit

DL Justice Finkley (Hewitt Trussville - Trussville, Ala.)

OL Elijah Pritchett (Carver - Columbus, Ga.)

SIAA Position Rankings

In case you might have missed it this week, Sports Illustrated All-American has been in the process of releasing its position-by-position rankings ahead of the 2021 football season. 

Here is where some of the Alabama commits landed:

Interior defensive line 

6. Jaheim Oatis

Vitals: 6'6", 340 pounds
School: Columbia (Miss.) High School
Recruiting: Committed to Alabama

Massive human. In good physical form considering his weight. Developed from the ground-up, as a true defensive lineman. He can’t be moved back, and he can defeat the cut block. Oatis is a force on the interior through sheer power. Quick when he needs to be. He’s a magnet to the ball. He knows he’s not going to chase down a running back on a zone stretch the opposite way, but he always fills that cut-back lane. Plays lower than you’d expect from a 6’6 recruit. Solid hand-fighter. Great block recognition and he protects his chest well, too.

Oatis was offered a scholarship by Alabama in the 8th grade. This is reflected in his IQ along the line of scrimmage. He does not get distracted easily. Yes, he is physically gifted, but he also does a lot of the little things right, which likely factored into why programs felt comfortable offering so early beyond the obvious.

Running back

2. Emmanuel Henderson

Vitals: 6'1", 185 pounds
School: Hartford (Ala.) Geneva County
Recruiting: Committed to Alabama

Henderson is among the most dynamic offensive weapons in the class of 2022, making plays at running back, as a receiver and in the return game. There is a striking combination of size, speed and power at play from the Alabama native, who averaged about 10 yards per carry in 2020. 52 of his carries over the last two seasons have ended with an official hoisting both arms up after he broke the end zone plane. Production aside, the flashes the junior provided on tape are head-turning. Henderson is comfortable approaching the line of scrimmage from depth or laterally, emphasizing well above-average vision along the way. He is efficient with his steps and covers considerable ground with a decisive consistency that easily projects in between the tackles just the same. Also equipped with great lower-body strength, he isn’t just a speed prospect. Where the game projects to the next level best is in the passing game. Henderson is already polished and productive making plays out of the backfield, where he caught 23 passes as a sophomore.

EDGE rushers

1. Jeremiah Alexander

Vitals: 6'2", 235 pounds
School: Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson
Recruiting: Committed to Alabama

Alexander is the 2022 classes’ premiere fast-twitch magician off the edge. Apart from first class instincts, he’s a fantastic tackler. He plays with linebacker skills off the edge, but he’s also done heavy damage in between the tackles off stunts. He’s got a natural ability to shed blocks, with that high football IQ to diagnose and attack. Alabama is well positioned to develop Alexander into another tackling machine in that front seven and we could see him being utilized as a packaged pass rusher as well. Perhaps a third down specialist early on in Tuscaloosa, but we think Alexander has got the capability to grow into a true three-down player for the Tide.

Cornerback

12. Antonio Kite

Vitals: 6'1", 180 pounds

School: Anniston (Ala.) High School

Recruiting: Committed to Alabama

The upside pick on this list is no doubt Kite, the longtime basketball player (and a very good one) broke out in a big way in 2020 as a football prospect for both the Anniston secondary and wide receiver room. SIAA sources have been told, on at least two occasions this spring, that Kite has been testing in the 4.4-second range when it comes to the 40-yard dash and it shows up on tape. The Crimson Tide commitment isn't a finesse football player, either, as he converts that explosiveness into pop on contact while working from his safety spot. With his length and overall athleticism, not to mention Nick Saban personally courting him for the last six months, the move to corner looks imminent. 

Quarterback 

3. Ty Simpson

Vitals: 6'2", 200 pounds
School: Martin (Tenn.) Westview
Committed To: Alabama

2020 Stats: 1,868 yards, 61%, 20 TDs, 4 INT

The top pair on this list represent the floor vs. ceiling debate to a high degree, and it won't soon end, but Simpson is a blend of said argument. The physical tools are worth a second look, from a strong frame to near-elite arm strength and relatively clean mechanics. The intangibles, areas where SI All-American is now spending more time than ever, are near off the charts. The son of a college coach and a two-sport standout (baseball) yet to focus on football 12 months a year, Simpson has an intriguing combination of known tools and positional upside.