As the 2021 recruiting cycle draws to a close in less than six weeks, it is time to take a look at some of the key 2022 in-state prospects for the University of Alabama.
The Crimson Tide is looking to build off its efforts in the 2021 class, which five Yellow Hammer State standouts stay home and sign on the dotted line with coach Nick Saban and company including cornerback Ga'Quincy McKinstry, defensive tackles Tim Keenan and Anquin Barnes, and linebackers Ian Jackson and Deontae Lawson.
As it stands now, Alabama has one verbal pledge in the 2022 class with linebacker Robert Woodyard. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound prospect is coming off of junior campaign that saw over 120 tackles, two interceptions and one sack.
Official visits won't start back up til April at the earliest according to the NCAA due to COVID-19 so the early portion of the 2022 cycle will include Zoom, FaceTime, and other virtual measures just like the last nine months.
Just like 2021, the state of Alabama is loaded at a lot of key positions and the Crimson Tide will have to continue to do a stellar job at putting a fence around its border. Here are some key names to watch moving forward:
RB Emmanuel Henderson (Geneva County, Ala.)
Alabama has one running back currently committed in the 2021 class in Camar Wheaton and will likely go after one or two more in 2022.
There isn't a much better place to look than in your own backyard with Henderson. The electrifying 6-foot-1, 190 pound tailback totaled over 2,000 yards on the ground as a junior.
His top 10 includes the likes of Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Clemson, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, USC, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
He has been building a relationship with Crimson Tide assistant Charles Kelly.
"Our relationship is great," Henderson told Bama Central previously. "Coach Charles Kelly, I love that guy. We have a really goo relationship. We are on the phone like every week, just staying in contact. We talk about football, life, and how to be a better person. He is a honest man. He will tell you right from wrong."
DE Jeremiah Alexander (Thompson - Alabaster, Ala.)
Alexander committed to the Crimson Tide back in March but backed off that pledge in early October to focus on leading Thompson to its second straight 7A AHSAA title.
He finished the 2020 season with 106 total tackles, 29 tackles for loss, eight sacks, and two fumble recoveries.
Georgia and LSU rounded out his top three before his original commitment to Alabama, but the 6-foot-2, 235 pound linebacker has heard from multiple SEC and Power Five programs since he went back on the market.
DT Khurtiss Perry (Park Crossing - Montgomery, Ala)
Defensive line is always a point of emphasis for Saban and his coaching staff and Perry is among the best in nation.
The Montgomery native had a monster junior season that consisted of 173 total tackles, 58 tackles for loss, and 15 sacks. The athletic lineman stands at 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds.
Alabama has plucked away some of the Montgomery area's biggest names in the past, like Mack Wilson, Henry Ruggs II, OJ Howard, Shaun Dion Hamilton. Could Perry be next?
Ohio State, Michigan, Auburn, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, and LSU have also shown major interest as well.
DE Justice Finkley (Hewitt-Trussville - Trussville, Ala)
After receiving an offer from the Crimson Tide in the summer time, Finkley capped off his junior year with 82 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, one pass break-up, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
His 6-foot-2, 255 pound frame have all the makings of an SEC-level defensive end. LSU, Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Georgia have all offered the Hewitt-Trussville product.
His elite athleticism, strength, and power make him one of the must-get prospects in the state for the class of 2022.
Bama Central's own Tyler Martin breaks it all down in this week's Recruiting Corner.