As 2016 recruiting begins to pick up steam with the start of summer camps, two of Alabama’s biggest needs are defensive linemen and offensive tackles. Early indications are that the Tide is in position to do extremely well at both spots. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the top targets.


Following this season, the Tide will lose seniors Jarran Reed and D.J. Pettway. There’s a chance that Alabama might also lose two highly-regarded juniors, A’Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen, to the NFL Draft. It appears the Tide is set on signing five or six DLs in the class.

Alabama is off to a fast start, with commitments from mammoth prep standouts Raekwon Davis (6-7, 312) of Meridian, MS and Kendell ‘Hulk’ Jones (6-5, 361) of Killeen-Shoemaker, TX.

After Davis put on a standout performance at Tide camp last June, Alabama became the first school to offer. Davis committed immediately. But since that time, several schools have jumped in the mix, including FSU, Florida, Georgia and LSU. But the school to watch is Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have strong ties to Meridian HS and will make a major push to flip Davis. Davis tells Alabama that he’s solid.

Kendell Jones committed recently, choosing Alabama over Baylor, LSU, Texas and Texas. Jones has a very strong relationship with Tide DL coach Bo Davis, who originally started recruiting Jones for Texas a few years ago. It’s early and Jones plans to take visits, but the feeling is that his commitment is strong.

Some of the top d-line targets are:

DL Rashan Gary

6-4, 286, 4.74

Paramus, NJ / Paramus Catholic HS

UA offer

The best place to start is with the nation’s top prospect, Rashan Gary. Gary is set to make an unofficial visit to Tuscaloosa on June 12. Michigan has been considered the Tide’s top competition, but some think it could turn into an SEC battle. Ole Miss is expecting Gary to visit Oxford the day before his UA visit. Auburn is also trying hard. At this point, Alabama seems to feel very good about its chances.

DE Jeffery Simmons

6-4, 266, 4.8

Macon, MS / Noxubee County HS

UA offer

Simmons is another top performer and another DL the Tide is in position to land due to the excellent efforts of Bo Davis. Simmons has been to Tuscaloosa a few times and he’s expected to return again soon. Ole Miss and Mississippi State will certainly make it difficult to get Simmons out of the state, but early indications are that Alabama might be the team to beat.

DL Benito Jones

6-2, 275, 4.82

Waynesboro, MS / Wayne County HS

Committed to Ole Miss

UA offer

Jones is a super quick defensive end. He was briefly committed to Alabama before switching to Ole Miss. Jones had a great visit for A-Day last month. This one could turn into a real battle, as Jones isn’t expected to make his final decision until November. Bo Davis has built a good rapport with Jones and his father.

DE Marlon Davidson

6-4, 260, 4.9

Greenville, AL / Greenville HS

UA offer

Another very interesting battle will involve Marlon Davidson, one of the state’s elite prospects. Davidson is the brother of former Auburn DL Kenneth Carter, who is currently employed on the AU staff. While the Tigers must be considered the favorite, Davidson is very high on Alabama. In fact, if not for his brother being at Auburn, the Tide would probably be considered the leader.

DL Rashard Lawrence

6-2, 305

Monroe, LA / Neville HS

UA offer

Lawrence is the number one player in the Bayou State right now. Lawrence had a great visit to Alabama for A-Day. But he is a top priority for LSU DL coach Ed Orgeron. It would be a major loss for the Tigers if Lawrence slipped away.

LB/DE Xavier Kelly

6-5, 230, 4.55

Wichita, KS / East HS

UA offer

Kelly could project as an outside linebacker in college. He has great speed and quickness. Kelly is slated to make an unofficial visit to Alabama. He has offers from Alabama, FSU, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, among others.

DE Emmit Gooden

6-3, 280, 4.8

Brownsville, TN / Haywood HS

UA offer

Gooden is a highly-regarded prospect with offers from several top programs. Alabama, Mississippi State, LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Tennessee are considered the favorites. Gooden plans on visiting UA.

DL Quinnen Williams

6-3, 265

Birmingham, AL / Wenonah HS

Committed to Auburn

UA offer

Williams is committed to Auburn but appears to still be very interested in Alabama. Tide assistants Bo Davis and Mario Cristobal have been by Wenonah this spring to check out Williams.

DE Janarius Robinson

6-5, 250, 4.93

Panama City, FL / Bay HS

Committed to Florida State

UA offer

Robinson is one of the top prospects in Florida. He’s committed to FSU, but keep an eye on Alabama. Tide assistant Tosh Lupoi has done a bang-up job of recruiting Robinson, who is expected to visit Tuscaloosa next month. Some expect Robinson to consider flipping after that visit. Florida is also making a push.


The Tide is also off to a fast start on the offensive line, where it has commitments from star tackle Jonah Williams (6-5, 280) of Folsom, CA and powerful guards Chris Owens (6-4, 312) of Arlington-Lamar, TX and Deionte Brown (6-4, 346) of Decatur-Austin, AL. The focus from here on out will be finding two more tackles. Here’s a quick look at a few of the top targets.

OL Jauan Williams

6-6, 306, 5.4

Washington, DC / Archbishop Carroll HS

UA offer

Alabama is in very good position Williams. The Tide leads Florida, Maryland, Ohio State and Tennessee. Williams is regarded as one of the top tackle prospects in the country.

OL Scott Lashley

6-6, 300

West Point, MS / West Point HS

UA offer

Lashley is another one of the nation’s top tackle prospects considering Alabama. He made a brief commitment to Mississippi State recently, but quickly backed off the commitment. Lashley and his mother are slated to make a visit to Tuscaloosa soon. Mississippi sources still consider MSU the team to beat.

OL Greg Little

6-6, 285, 5.2

Allen, TX / Allen HS

Committed to Texas A&M

UA offer

Little is one of the top overall prospects. He’s been committed to Texas A&M for a year, but he’s still looking at Alabama. Little and his father plan to be in Tuscaloosa next month for a visit. Sources say that Little’s father is very impressed with Nick Saban.

OT Garett Bolles

6-5, 290, 4.9

Ephraim, UT / Snow College

UA offer

Bolles is one of the most highly recruited JUCO prospects. He recently reneged on a commitment to BYU. He’ll be in Tuscaloosa for a few days soon. We should know more about his interest in Alabama shortly after that visit. Auburn is among other schools in the mix.

OL Charles Baldwin

6-6, 315

Brooklyn, NY / ASA College JC

UA offer

Baldwin is strongly interested in Alabama. He and Garett Bolles appear to be UA’s primary JUCO OT targets. Baldwin says that he’ll be in Tuscaloosa June 6-8. It’s felt that if Alabama pushes for a commitment, Baldwin might pull the trigger.

OT Tate Leavitt

6-7, 315

Hutchinson, KS / Hutchinson CC

UA offer

Leavitt is another standout JUCO OT on Alabama’s radar. He says that he speaks with UA OL coach Mario Cristobal regularly and that he plans to visit Tuscaloosa at some point this summer. Alabama, Arizona State, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas Tech and TCU are among Leavitt’s favorites.

OT Willie Allen

6-7, 297, 4.9

River Ridge, LA / John Curtis HS

UA offer

Once thought to be an early Alabama lean, Allen seems to now be looking closely at Ole Miss. But the Tide is still definitely involved with Allen. He plans to camp at UA. A strong showing might rekindle things with Bama.


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