Updated: Sep 9, 2019
As it is now official visit season, let’s take a look at some names to remember for Alabama as the recruiting process begins to pick up for everyone. There are some names that Alabama fans have been hearing about since this summer, new names that have recently emerged, and some names of potential targets that the staff could make a late push for. This is a very talented class and Alabama has a great chance to make a splash and kick off the Nate Oats era in a great way for the future.
Let’s start with an obvious name, Nimari Burnett. It’s no secret that Burnett is the prized gem in the 2020 class for Alabama. The staff has been all in on Burnett since Nate Oats took the job and hit the recruiting trail for the 2020 class. Alabama needs a go to guy on the roster for the 2020-2021 season. By that I mean someone who can go get a bucket anytime the Crimson Tide needs one. Burnett is a prospect the staff has full confidence in that he can be that guy. He can step in from day one and fill the void at guard that Alabama will have if Kira Lewis turns pro as expected. Alabama has a great chance to land Burnett, but it will be a fight to the finish with Michigan, Louisville, Texas Tech and Oregon all on him hard as well. Many believe Alabama and Michigan are the two front runners to land his commitment, but there is still a long way to go. Burnett has an official visit lined up the final weekend of September for the Ole Miss football game. Expect the staff to roll out the red carpet for him as well as the other visitor the Tide has lined up that weekend.
Who is the other visitor that weekend? Earl Timberlake. It was reported by Corey Evans of Rivals that Timberlake was planning to visit Alabama this weekend which should not be a surprise. It is no surprise to anyone who has followed 2020 recruiting that Timberlake is also a prized recruit in the eyes of the staff. Alabama would love to see Burnett and Timberlake suit up together in crimson and white and would be considered by many a dream class. Timberlake has been pitched on the idea of playing alongside Nimari Burnett and from my understanding is interested in the idea. The two would be a good fit together and would create many mismatches on both sides of the ball. Timberlake has already visited South Carolina and Providence during his junior year and has visited Pitt already this year and will visit Miami the weekend of September 13. I truly believe Alabama has a chance here and it will be a race to the finish that Bama fans should keep an eye on.
An in-state name that Alabama fans should know already is Rongie Gordon. Gordon has not scheduled an official visit to Alabama yet to my knowledge, but he did unofficially visit this summer. The big man holds offers from both major in-state programs, as well as Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Ole Miss pushing for him among other schools. His recruitment has stayed quiet so Alabama fans will have to continue to wait it out and see what Gordon decides on.
Alabama has offered some players later in their recruitment and have made a hard push on players over the last month or two. One of these players being 5-star big man Isaiah Jackson. It’s no surprise that the staff is extremely interested in Jackson as he is one of top 20 players in the country and could be a potential lottery pick. He is extremely athletic and can make plays with the ball in his hand and on the defensive end. He would bring an extremely talented rebounder and rim protector to the Crimson Tide which is a desperate need. It was reported in an interview with Evan Daniels of 247sports that Jackson would officially visit the weekend of September 13. Jackson has already visited Kentucky and is looking to set up a visit with Syracuse. Jackson is a big-time visitor and I expect Oats and co. to roll out the red-carpet next weekend as they try to make an impressive pitch as to why Alabama should land his commitment.
Another late-offer that Alabama is expected to push hard after is forward Josh Hall. Hall is a do-it-all forward who can score inside and out, create for himself, defend and rebound. He is highly sought after nationally and it is expected that Alabama is and will be pushing hard after joining his recruitment late. North Carolina State and Louisville are on him hard, but it is hard to tell who else is really in it with Hall. This is a recruitment that there isn’t a clear timetable on, and Alabama fans should keep an eye on to see what will happen.
Another recent offer that Alabama has already done some work with is Sardaar Calhoun. Calhoun is a JUCO prospect that the staff quickly pushed for once offering and there is a visit lined up for the weekend of September 13 reported by Adam Zagoria, which is the same as Isaiah Jackson. Calhoun is a player who would bring scoring from anywhere on the floor and can apply pressure defensively. I expect Alabama to continue to push for Calhoun and it is definitely a name to keep an eye on for Bama fans.
There is a name to keep an eye on to potentially land an offer from Alabama and that Alabama could potentially make a late push for. One being 2020 Canadian guard Karim Mane. He had a very impressive showing on the Under Armour Circuit and showed out in Greece during the FIBA’s where he was one of the top performers. Mane is a terrific scorer who has a knack for attacking the rim and using his size and athleticism to make plays. He has one of the highest upsides of any player in this class and could be an elite guard at the college level. Interesting note on Mane is that he is one of the oldest players in the class. In fact, he is actually eligible to enter the 2020 NBA draft. Mane has said that his main goal is to make the NBA, but that college is also very important for him. It would not surprise me at all if Alabama was to offer or if some blue bloods were to get more involved. Mane would thrive in a fast-paced offense and would be a great player to run pick and rolls with to allow him to attack and make decisions. Mane will be a name to watch to see if Alabama will get involved and if he even decides to play at the college level.
It would not surprise me to see if Alabama got involved with another big man prospect, potentially at the JUCO level. As stated before in the article, rebounding and rim protection is a big need. If Alabama is unable to land Jackson or Gordon and has a scholarship available, it would not surprise me at all to see if Alabama was to look for other big man options.
The 2020 class has a lot of potential to be special for Alabama. I know a lot of fans can be antsy with not having an abundance of confidence with many recruits and no commitments yet. I encourage fans to remain positive as there is still a long way to go and to have confidence the staff will be able to close on some of these highly talented recruits. It is hard to have commitments already solidified when having a first-year head coach. Recruits want to see what the product on the floor will look like before making that decision. It probably will be a long, exhausting process, but I have a feeling Alabama fans will be happy when it is all said and done.
UPDATE: Earl Timberlake has cancelled his visit to Alabama. Alabama is now out barring an unexpected change.