What's next for Alabama football recruiting after national championship loss?

·2 min read

Alabama followed signing a 23-recruit class of 2022 so far with a loss to Georgia in the College Football Playoff national championship. The class is No. 2 in the nation behind Texas A&M heading into signing day Feb. 2.

Alabama also has turned its attention to the class of 2023, which features, possibly, the best in-state class in history.

There is a new challenge, though.

It's the first recruiting cycle coach Nick Saban and Alabama have to recruit against a Georgia program, Alabama's biggest consistent threat to recruiting supremacy in the SEC, that can now tout it has a national championship and win over the dynasty on the biggest stage.

The Crimson Tide could land its first commitment of the class of 2023 as soon as next weekend. Five-star cornerback Jahlil Hurley, No. 4 at his position, of Florence High will announce his decision Jan. 22.

Alabama will lose senior cornerback Josh Jobe to the 2022 NFL Draft and opposite starter Jalyn Armour-Davis could declare early. Depth needs to be replenished in the secondary.

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Hurley would be the first domino in a loaded in-state class that features five five-star prospects, including three at cornerback. Thompson's Tony Mitchell and Central-Phenix City's AJ Harris are the nation's No. 2 and No. 3 corners, respectively.

Harris was set to commit Tuesday but pushed back his decision. He narrowed down his list to Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Georgia and Ohio State and visited Auburn for the Iron Bowl.

Eleven of the nation's top 100 recruits are in Alabama, a huge advantage. The No. 1 in-state recruit according to the 247Sports Composite is Carver-Montgomery defensive lineman James Smith, the nation's No. 11 prospect. He has taken things slow but is high on Alabama, a handful of SEC programs and Ohio State.

There are six more top 300 defensive linemen and edge players in Alabama, starting with five-star Thompson recruit Peter Woods. Jaquavious Russaw, Kelby Collins, Christopher Vizzina, Tomarrion Parker, Karmello English and Keldric Faulk are top-100. Only Briarwood Christian quarterback Vizzina doesn't have an an offer in that group.

Four-star defensive lineman Yhonzae Pierre of Eufaula has an offer, and it's possible Hewitt-Trussville's Hunter Osborne picks up an offer, too.

This could be the deepest in-state class in history and the base of the Alabama 2023 class, but big-name out-of-state recruits Arch Manning, Matayo Uiagelelei, Jayden Wayne, Rueben Owens, Richard Young, Lebbeus Overton and Caleb Downs are candidates to join Alabama too.

Contact Jerell Rushin at 205-600-4015 or jrushin@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JerellRushin_.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama football recruiting: What will Nick Saban do with 2023 class?

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