RECRUITMENT ROUNDUP // GOOD PROSPECTS

JACK WEGHER
The next Vinnie?
IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL is home to several of the nation’s top prospects. But one IMG 2016 prospect flying somewhat under the radar is an all-purpose player named Jack Wegher. The 5-11, 200-pound Wegher, a native of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, is coached at IMG by former Alabama running back Roy Upchurch.
Upchurch raves about Wegher’s athleticism and versatility:
“He’s a great athlete,” Upchurch says. “He can play just about any position — running back, slot receiver, punt returner, kick returner, safety. He reminds me a lot of Vinnie Sunseri. He can play both sides of the ball, but once the ball is in his hands, magic is going to happen. He’s a playmaker.
“We have two other running backs here who are great players, and who will be highly recruited, but Jack is more athletic. He fits as a running back, but in college he can be a slot receiver or maybe safety, even though he hasn’t played much defense here.
“He’s a baller. I love him.”
A couple of weeks ago, Wegher spoke with Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin about making an unofficial visit to Tuscaloosa in the near future.
“I’ve already had a good relationship with Coach Kiffin from his visits down here to our campus,” Wegher says. “We just talk about what’s going on. He wants me to go up there for a visit. I’m not sure when I’ll go, but I plan on going up sometime to see it. Coach Kiffin invited me to visit and he’s a really nice guy. I like him a lot. So I’m looking forward to seeing Alabama.”
“I’m not really sure what all I like about Alabama right now,” Wegher says. “I just need to get up there and visit and see it. The Alabama coaches are supposed to come back down here for spring practice, so I will be talking more with them.”
Wegher has early offers Iowa State, Illinois and South Alabama.
TREVON DIGGS
2016 Maryland star digs Tuscaloosa
One of the nation’s top prospects made the trek down from Maryland for the Tide’s Junior Day recently. Wide receiver/cornerback Trevon Diggs, a 6-1, 170-pound standout from Avalon HS in Gaithersburg, got his first up-close look at the Crimson Tide program and loved what he saw.
“Tre told me he had a great time. He enjoyed Tuscaloosa,” says Avalon head coach Tyree Spinner. “He enjoyed meeting Coach Saban. I mean, what high school athlete doesn’t want to meet Coach Saban?
“He liked it a lot. He told me that they’d be in his top five. From him saying that alone, that means he enjoyed it and that he learned a lot and felt like he was in a place where he could succeed.”
Diggs was impressed with the structured program. “Our program that we run is college oriented, meaning that I took it straight from the coaches that I learned from and tried to incorporate it into the kids now so that when they get to college, it’s not a culture shock,” Spinner says. “So him seeing the success he’s had in a structured program here and then seeing a program that’s even more structured at Alabama, I think he really liked the thought of being in that type of program. He realizes that type of program breeds success.”
Diggs has offers from several of the nation’s top programs, including Alabama, Clemson, Florida, FSU, Georgia, Nebraska, Penn State and Tennessee, among others.
Following the visit to Tuscaloosa, Diggs pegged Alabama as his early favorite.
“It doesn’t surprise me, because I played college and pro football, and I know how recruiting trips go,” Spinner says. “When you visit a place like a Tuscaloosa where football is top priority, you kind of fall in love instantly with a town that embraces the things that you have in common, which is football.
“Also, with that environment and knowing that this is the top echelon in college football, it will push him to not only be successful in football, but to be successful in the classroom as well.”
Diggs had an outstanding junior season, catching 78 passes for 1,008 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also had big year at cornerback. He’s a legitimate prospect on both sides of the ball.
“On the offensive side of the ball, he’s the best high school player I’ve seen as a wide receiver,” Spinner says. “He has an uncanny ability to play the ball in the air and catch the ball at the last second, which puts the defensive at a disadvantage. So it’s definitely his playmaking ability on offense that makes him so good.
“Defensively, since he’s played receiver most of his life, he knows the hints of when to break on the receiver. He can read the routes by how the receiver is running. On defense, he’s a pretty stout player. A lot of people don’t know that.”
Spinner says that Alabama is giving Diggs the option to play offense or defense.

TATE LEAVITT
Nasty JUCO OT discusses dream offer
Given that the Tide signed only one pure offensive tackle in the 2015 class, UA might opt for a junior college tackle in 2016. One emerging JUCO tackle is Tate Leavitt, a 6-7, 315-pound star at Hutchinson CC in Hutchinson, KS.
Leavitt, a native of Thornville, OH, originally signed with Ohio University in the 2013 class but did not qualify. He sat out a year before enrolling at Hutchinson for the 2014 season.
A standout performance season last fall led to early offers from Arizona State, Illinois, Kansas State and Texas Tech, among others.
Last week, Leavitt landed a dream offer from Alabama OL coach Mario Cristobal.
“It’s very exciting,” Leavitt says of the Tide’s offer. “It shows that dreams come true. A lot of people said that I couldn’t do this. But it goes to show what can be done.”
“When I got here at Hutchinson,” Leavitt says, “I was going up against two All-American defensive ends every day in practice. I knew then that if I could block those guys, I could play on that (SEC) level.”
Alabama began talking with Leavitt a few weeks ago. “A coach on our staff here actually has a connection with Coach Cristobal, who watched my film and really liked it,” Leavitt says. “We talked last Thursday and had a really good conversation. That led to my offer.”
“Coach Cristobal likes that I’m really nasty,” Leavitt says. “I’m very intense. I play through the whistle. He likes the way I finish my blocks. He just said that he loved my film.”
“It seemed like I kind of clicked with Coach Cristobal right away. His track record speaks for itself with how he develops players both personally and athletically. He has an impact off the field. He also develops guys for the NFL.”
Leavitt was credited with 91 pancake blocks last season from his left tackle spot.
“Coach Cristobal didn’t really say which side they were recruiting me for,” Leavitt says. “He just told my coach that they might need a junior college tackle. It wouldn’t be an issue with me whether it was the right side or the left.”
Leavitt says that he’s open to all offers. “This is the second time I’ve been through the recruiting process,” he says. “It’s important to me that I make the right decision. I want to find the best fit and be comfortable with my decision. I want to make sure that the school wants me. I don’t want to just fill out a roster spot. I want to go somewhere that wants me.”
Leavitt plans to take several visits before making his decision.

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