| FTBL 247 on Bama's linebacker class for 2020. "Hellacious."


On this week's 247Sports Recruiting Podcast, National Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong joined Greg Biggins and I to talk about the biggest recent developments on the trail, including the elite linebacker class that Alabama is assembling.

POWER: "Keeping it on the Alabama linebacker conversation, in the last week we’ve had a lot of activity on the Alabama front. They had one of their camp sessions this past week. Alabama’s been kind of laying in the weeds- Nick Saban has these ‘hold my beer’ moments in recruiting where they will go on these frenzies and get a lot of top prospects.

"They landed Quandarrius Robinson, a top linebacker, who you and I both saw in Atlanta. A really impressive athlete. I think he’s still a little raw and his best football is ahead of him. But one of the best athletes in the country when you combine his size at 6’5” 217, running in the low 4.6’s with a high vertical. And then a guy we’ve talked about a lot recently for our upcoming rankings- Demouy Kennedy. An in-state guy from Theodore High School, CJ Mosley’s alma mater. He’s one we liked a lot on film, but didn’t have a ton of info on his measurables in terms of size and athleticism. From what we’ve heard out of the camp at Alabama, he’ was close to 6’3”, 205, ran in the 4.5’s. I think his wingspan was 6’6” or 6’7”. A high 30’s vert."

"Combining those two with Drew Sanders who is tracking like a five-star. Steve, you mentioned this in the lead-in, this being one of the strongest linebacker groups you can recall. What’s your take on them as individuals and then as an overall group?"

WILTFONG: "I love Drew Sanders. I think he’s as fun a prospect that I’ve watched on film this year. We have him ranked number 16 nationally. I think he may be a top five player. I love that his high school coach doesn’t get cute or overthink it. They just snap him the damn ball. They put him in every pivotal position to make plays and he goes out and does it. Runs well, incredible instincts. Just an outstanding football player. That was a hellacious recruiting win and a guy that was committed to Oklahoma."

POWER: "As a tight end to Oklahoma. He decided he wanted to play defense and that’s part of why he flipped, I think."

WILTFONG: "I think the Sooners would’ve let him whatever he wanted if that’s what it came down to. He also visited LSU, so that was a heavyweight battle that Alabama won.

"Demouy Kennedy, I turned on his film over the weekend. Him and Justin Flowe, the five-star from Greg Biggins’ neck of the woods, those guys swarm ball carriers differently than anyone else’s film in my opinion. The way they get to their top end speed, the way they accelerate, they’re instantly in their top-end speed and they are engulfing ball carriers and quarterbacks. If Flowe is the biggest hitter in the country, Demouy has more length to him. I think he’s a guy who is in the five-star conversation once you learn the testing numbers he put up in Tuscaloosa over the weekend, it makes you like him more. And then with these guys just being committed to Alabama, you feel like they’re going to have their best football brought out of them."

POWER: "The thing with Demouy Kennedy that’s another feather in his cap- when you look at all the other linebackers that Alabama is in on, the fact that he was so strong in camp to where he was an instant take for them. A push for a commit, instant take type of performance. That probably says a lot about how good he looked in person for them.

"One note on Drew Sanders that I think is interesting. A lot of the feedback we’ve received from multiple teams that were recruiting him- everyone raves about his football intelligence and how smart he is with the ability to play multiple positions. I was thinking about it- when Drew Sanders came on the scene and he’s been on the recruiting scene for a while, when he popped up, he was initially viewed as a quarterback prospect. He was this athletic quarterback who would maybe be a Tim Tebow type. I think his dad is an assistant on the Denton Ryan staff and when he transferred to Denton Ryan, he realized his ultimate upside is as an athlete- a tight end or linebacker. That’s why he plays multiple positions for them, as a direct snap quarterback, receiver/tight end and the on defense. It’s unanimous with everybody saying this guy is just a really, really good overall football player. When you combine that with his size and athleticism at 6’5” 220 and being able to play in space, it makes him seem like a rare all-around prospect."

"When you look at Bama’s linebacker class, they have the three guys we highlighted and then Jackson Bratton, another four-star in-state guy from Muscle Shoals. They have Chris Braswell as an edge guy and then they’re trending with Will Anderson out of Georgia coming off this camp, too."

WILTFONG: "De'Rickey Wright is kind of a freak too, Charles. A sub 4.7 guy at 6’4, 220. And he had a monster junior year, too. I did a story on Alabama at the end of May on five potential freaks in their class. Some of these guys weren’t committed. I put De'Rickey Wright higher in the article than Chris Braswell, who is currently the jewel of the class from a rankings standpoint. De'Rickey Wright has an 86 inch wingspan and the feet of a safety. He’s a hair slower than Drew Sanders, but he’s a tad quicker. He had 10 interceptions and 20 touchdowns last year. Played quarterback, receiver, defensive back and linebacker so he’s got a similar profile. He’s intriguing as hell, too.

POWER: "Yeah, when we saw (Wright) in Nashville, I really wish he had worked out with the linebackers. He was playing DB and it really wasn’t fair to have a 6’4”, 220 guy out there guarding receivers, basically playing corner. But when you look at his dimensions and (testing) numbers with the production in high school- and seeing him in person, you can tell he hasn’t been in a weight room much. He still has a lot of room to improve just from an upside standpoint. He’s definitely intriguing and one we shouldn’t forget to mention in that group.

"When you look at Alabama’s top targets, they’re on a ton of other top linebackers. It’s going to be really interesting to watch because they’re in on Justin Flowe, Noah Sewell from Utah and they heavily recruited his brother, Penei, who is at Oregon now. I know both of ya’ll are much more familiar with these guys out west than I am. How do you see this class stacking up and what do you think their chances are with Flowe and Sewell?"

WILTFONG: "I’ll let Greg handle Flowe all the way, but I’ll say on Sewell- I thought his brother was going to go to Alabama for much of the process and he picked Oregon late. So I don’t know what the trajectory of the younger Sewell’s recruitment is going to be. They obviously really liked Alabama the first time around and just decided Oregon was the better fit for Penei who is by all accounts doing well there. Alabama is building the Polynesian base with their program, obviously with Tua Tagovailoaat quarterback. I never rule Alabama out."

BIGGINS: "They were definitely the runner up. There was a Polynesian feel- I don’t think people could understand it enough. Just having the kind of success that Tagovailoa has had there, it’s really opened up the door for other Polynesian athletes. Just the culture, they enjoy playing with other Polynesian athletes. Just the success and Alabama’s tradition- the family liked the idea of big-time football.

"We’re recording on a Wednesday and I know Sewell was at Georgia yesterday. Earlier Blair Angulo reported that he’s going to take a little run through the south and visit some schools including Bama and LSU will get a visit. So I definitely think they’re in the mix.

"With Justin Flowe, I think the two schools that seem to be generating the most buzz for me are Clemson and Georgia. Georgia was a visit where they knocked it out of the park. It was a grand slam there. Clemson has really come on and is probably recruiting him harder than anybody. I think if he stays local, obviously USC is the school there. I think USC has to show the family, ‘hey, we’re competitive, we’re going to win games and we’re going to develop you as good as these other schools in the south.’ Alabama is definitely on the shortlist and that’s the one school he’s set to visit officially in September. He’ll take all five trips. If I had to handicap it as the schools that are currently doing the best it would be Georgia and Clemson for Justin."

POWER: "We probably also don’t need to exclude Sav'ell Smalls in this conversation. It seems like his recruitment is a little more open, or unknown at this point just from my read on it. Alabama is the Crystal Ball leader for him also, when you’re talking about potential linebackers they could land. It’s kind of an embarrassment of riches when you look at their top targets."

Top Bottom