Alabama still on top for nation’s No. 1 OLB, but 3 schools are closing the gap

Welcome to  SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings , a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with one of Alabama’s top linebacker targets. 

JJ Peterson still says Alabama leads

The only thing that has changed about JJ Peterson’s recruitment in the past several months is who his No. 2 school is. At different points, that spot has been occupied by Auburn, Georgia and Oregon. Back in July at The Opening, it was Oregon. Now, it’s Auburn.

Alabama holding the top spot in his recruitment has been the only constant with Peterson, a 4-star linebacker from Colquitt County High School (Moultrie, Ga.). The Crimson Tide have led for at least six months.

Is there anything Auburn, Georgia or Oregon can do to overtake Alabama for the top spot?

“I don’t really know,” Peterson told SEC Country’s Benjamin Wolk.

Alabama-Alabama recruiting-JJ Peterson
JJ Peterson has been one of Alabama’s top overall targets in the 2018 class since National Signing Day 2017. (Chris Kirschner/SEC Country)

Peterson has said that he wants to make a commitment after his senior season, which began last Saturday when Colquitt County beat Norcross, 20-17. The elite linebacker isn’t playing at 100 percent because of a sports hernia injury and mainly only played in third-down situations.

It seems like the U.S. Army All-American is going to take official visits before making a decision. Alabama likely will get one, and Auburn, too. He doesn’t know with 100 percent certainty because he’s visited both of those schools numerous times. The only schools he mentioned that will definitely get an official visit this fall are Michigan and Oregon.

The nation’s No. 1 outside linebacker, according to the 247Sports composite rankings, wasn’t clear why he hasn’t just committed to Alabama already if the team has been No. 1 for him for several months, but it would be a surprise if he ended up choosing any other team not named the Crimson Tide. On Saturday, Peterson said he’s closest with Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. He had previously said his best relationship was with Auburn linebackers coach Travis Williams.

Pruitt and Colquitt County coach Rush Propst, who has a very active role in Peterson’s recruitment, go back to the Tide coach’s days at Hoover High School, where he was Propst’s defensive coordinator.

Peterson said that Propst’s relationship with Pruitt doesn’t influence him in any way. It should be noted that Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey served in the same role on Propst’s staff at Hoover.

“That’s not a factor to me,” Peterson said. “Me and Coach Pruitt talk about business stuff. When we’re around him, we have a lot of conversations.”

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound prospect has been Alabama’s top inside linebacker target for several months now. There’s lots of confidence in Tuscaloosa that the team will land his commitment whenever he decides to go public with his intentions.

Asa Martin finalizes commitment plans

Asa Martin, a 4-star running back from Austin High School (Decatur, Ala.), will announce his commitment this Thursday at 11 a.m. ET during a school ceremony. His finalists are Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Florida.

The Gators have two running back commitments, so they’re essentially eliminated from the mix. Martin visited Clemson once and picked up a scholarship offer from the Tigers just over a month ago. His relationship with the coaching staff isn’t strong.

That leaves Alabama and Auburn, the two schools, I think, that are the main contenders to land Martin’s commitment. The confidence level on both sides is very, very high. Auburn has felt particularly strong about where it stands with him in the past few weeks. Alabama has felt good about Martin for a few months now.

Martin became Alabama’s top running back target in the 2018 class after 5-star prospect Zamir White committed to Georgia. I’m sticking with my prediction on Martin choosing Alabama this Thursday, but I’m not supremely confident because both teams feel good about where they stand with the nation’s No. 10 running back.

If the Crimson Tide miss on Martin, they could choose to pursue another in-state prospect in Harold Joiner, who has said he’s down to LSU and Michigan State. Joiner changes his mind almost daily on the contenders in his recruitment, so I wouldn’t put much, if any, stock in that. He’s also said that there’s no way he’d commit to Alabama, but the team has still shown interest.

Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings recruiting notebook  right here .

The post Alabama still on top for nation’s No. 1 OLB, but 3 schools are closing the gap appeared first on SEC Country.

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