Alabama continues to reel in elite reinforcements for its offensive line.
Isaiah Prince, a 4-star tackle, provided a surprise by pledging to the Crimson Tide on Friday, per Ryan Bartow of 247Sports. In turn, the 6’6″, 272-pound prospect cancelled plans to make official visits to Maryland and Ohio State.
He was scheduled to visit the Buckeyes this weekend, while the Terrapins were considered a favorite to land the in-state standout. Maryland garnered 55 percent of expert predictions in 247Sports’ Crystal Ball.
Prince, rated seventh nationally among offensive tackles in 247Sports’ composite rankings, earned U.S. Army All-American honors after his senior season at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. He is considered the top overall prospect in Maryland.
Alabama hosted Prince for an official visit last weekend and put in enough follow-up work to dissuade him from traveling to Columbus. It’s quite a feat, considering he welcomed freshly crowned national champion Urban Meyer for an in-person visit just three days ago.
Prince offers impressive length along the edge and already displays top-tier pass-protection prowess. He has strides to make as run-blocker and must gain substantial power before taking on SEC opponents, meaning he’ll more likely to compete for playing time down the line.
Barton Simmons of 247Sports weighed in on Prince’s potential.
Isaiah Prince has maybe the best long-term offensive tackle frame in this class. This is not a day-one starter. He needs to add weight, add strength and add polish but his upside based on that length and athleticism is extremely high. Put this kid on the shelf, let him age and in a couple of years he may be one of the best offensive tackles in this class.
Nick Saban has assembled another incredible recruiting class and is less than three weeks away from claiming the top-ranked haul on national signing day for a fifth consecutive year. The group is deep across the board, but is at its best in the trenches.
Alabama now holds commitments from six offensive linemen, including five 4-star prospects.
Early enrollees Dallas Warmack and Brandon Kennedy each rank among the nation’s top 20 guards. Lester Cotton and Richie Petitbon—listed fourth and fifth, respectively, among players at the position—will join them in Tuscaloosa this summer.
Throw Prince into the mix and there is enough premier talent to sustain a strong offensive front for years to come. Remember, freshman All-American Cam Robinson is entrenched at left tackle for at least the next two seasons and already projects as an eventual first-round NFL draft pick.
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It’s all great news for an impressive group of offensive playmakers that includes 5-star trio Blake Barnett, Calvin Ridley and Damien Harris.
Barnett, ranked second nationally among pro-style quarterbacks, should have plenty of time to operate in the pocket. This sets the stage for downfield targets to Ridley, the country’s top-ranked receiver.
And then there’s Harris, the nation’s No. 1 running back who figures to fight his way into the Crimson Tide rushing rotation as an underclassman. His decision to spurn fellow finalists Ohio State and Kentucky looks even better now, given the size of those who will be clearing space for him in future seasons.
Offensive linemen are often difficult to project at the collegiate level, considering most arrive on campus in need of significant strength training and revamped technique. Saban’s ability to stockpile talent at the position means potential recruiting “misses” won’t hurt nearly as much at Alabama as they do at other programs.
In Tuscaloosa, the term “next man up” often means another high school All-American is getting his shot in the pecking order. You can now add Prince to the list.
Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.