Payne, who is primarily considering Auburn and Alabama, was the second highest-rated Alabama recruit. ESPN ranked Payne as the nation’s 36th best player.
Charles Henderson linebacker Richard McBryde is the third Alabama recruit to make the list. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker is the third Alabama recruit to make the top 50 at No. 48. McBryde recently told AL.com that Auburn is the favorite to land his commitment.
ESPN clearly valued Alabama’s crop of offensive linemen this year. Four Alabama offensive linemen made the ESPN 300, led by Central-Tuscaloosa’s Lester Cotton at No. 80. Wetumpka center Brandon Kennedy continued his ascension up the rankings to No. 102, followed by Bessemer City’s Darryl Williams at No. 237 and Southside-Gadsden’s Tyler Carr at No. 286.
Other Alabama prospects to make the list:
No. 119) DeSherrius Flowers, RB, Vigor (committed to Alabama)
No. 183) Traveon Samuel, ATH., Central-Phenix City
No. 214) Christian Bell, DL, Hoover (committed to Alabama)
Recruiting rankings are one of the most discussed, and usually criticized, facets of college football recruiting coverage.
Thousands of hours of breaking down film and evaluating prospects goes into the rankings, yet they are usually quick derided with calls of homerism and complaints about where players are ranked. For the most part, though, recruiting rankings are a good barometer for future success.
What is interesting is how each recruiting network’s rankings can differ. AL.com decided to take a look at how the four major recruiting networks — 247Sports, Rivals, Scout and ESPN — ranked Alabama prospects. The point was to find outliers i.e. the players that the networks disagree on.
Below is the 247Composite top 10 for the state of Alabama. This is a good starting point because it takes into account all of the major services and averages them out to come to a ranking.
Within the 247Sports rankings, three names stuck out:
Anfernee Jennings, DE, Dadeville
247Sports is lower on the Alabama commit than any of the other major recruiting services. He is just outside the Top 10 on the other websites, but is all the way down at No. 30 on 247Sports. That low rating brings his composite ranking down to No. 21 in the state.
Tyler Carr, OL, Southside-Gadsden
Carr is rated No. 5 in the composite rankings, but he is No. 19 in 247Sports’ own ratings. He is still ranked No. 5 in the composite rankings because of high rankings elsewhere. Carr is expected to make his college decision soon and is down to Auburn and Alabama.
Amonte Caban, LB, Smiths Station
247Sports is higher on Caban than any of the other recruiting services. 247Sports ranks him as the state’s fifth-best prospect, but he is only No. 16 on the composite rankings. If you watch Caban’s highlight tape, it’s easy to see why 247Sports is high on him.
Rivals ranks Williams, who picked up an Auburn offer in May, No. 19 in Alabama. Williams is in the top 10 for ESPN and 247Sports, but his Rivals ranking, the lowest of any of the services, keeps him out of the composite top 10.
Traveon Samuel, ATH, Central-Phenix City
Rivals is a bit down on Samuel compared to some of its peers. Samuel is No. 13 in the 247Composite, and as high as No. 7 in ESPN’s rankings, but checks in at No. 24 on Rivals.com. There are concerns about Samuel’s height — he’s only 5-foot-7 — which could have impacted his Rivals ranking.
Within the rankings, here are two outliers spotted:
Mario Osborne, DL, Daphne
Osborne is nowhere to be found in the top 20 of any of the other recruiting rankings, but Scout has him at No. 9 in the state. Osborne has some legitimate offers — he has four SEC offers — but not a whole lot is known about Osborne at this point.
Nick Gibson, RB, Pinson Valley
Gibson, who has offers from Alabama and Mississippi State, is in every service’s top 10 besides Scout.com. Scout ranks him No. 18 in the state, while the 247Composite puts him at No. 9.
Brandon Kennedy, OL, Wetumpka
Kennedy, who recently picked up offers from Alabama and Auburn, is in the composite top 10, but ranked No. 22 on Scout.com. Rivals recently rated Kennedy as the nation’s top center, but Scout has him behind four other in-state linemen.
Here is ESPN’s top 10:
ESPN’s rankings vary greatly from the rest of the group, but here are three that stick out:
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Madison Academy
ESPN is the only of the four recruiting services to rank someone other than Shades Valley defensive lineman Daron Payne as the state’s top player. Johnson, who is committed to Auburn, is consistently in the top three, but only No. 1 in ESPN’s rankings.
Amonte Caban, LB, Smiths Station
Caban is nowhere to be found in ESPN’s rankings. ESPN not ranking Caban drags his 247Composite all the way down to No. 16, despite being ranked as high as No. 5 in the state in one ranking. This could be a case of ESPN just not seeing his film yet.
Richard McBryde, LB, Charles Henderson
McBryde is No. 7 in 247Sports’ Composite ranking, but is all the way up to No. 3 here. McBryde, an elite linebacker, has multiple SEC options, but has Auburn as his top school.
Three major takeaways from all the rankings:
Plenty of OL disagreement:
It was interesting to see how the services ranked Tyler Carr, Darryl Williams, and Brandon Kennedy. Central-Tuscaloosa’s Lester Cotton, who is committed to Alabama, was the consensus top linemen in the state, but there wasn’t much agreement after that. It makes sense because the offensive line is generally considered the toughest to project, and every analysts and/or coach likes something different in his linemen.
Amonte Caban is the most interesting recruit:
From not ranked at all (ESPN) to top five in the state (247Sports), Caban is the most interesting recruit in this class based on the rankings. Scout has him in the top 10 (No. 8), while Rivals has him just outside at No. 13. He has blown up in recent months, but his rankings don’t fully reflect that. Caban is one to watch in the post-summer rankings.
Payne is the guy:
Daron Payne isn’t the consensus top player in Alabama, but three out of the four services have ranked him as such. ESPN is the only service to not rank the 6-foot-2, 330-pound defensive lineman No. 1 in the state. Payne has struggled at times this spring, but none of the major services have dropped him down because of it.
After a two-year hiatus, AL.com is reviving its Super Southeast list of the region’s top college football prospects. The list will feature the top 50 prospects in the Southeast, which includes all states in the SEC footprint except Texas and Missouri.
We are inviting input from you as we determine which players will be on the list. In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting lists of the top Southeastern prospects at each position, with video highlight clips if available, and asking you which you believe is the best of the group and, if you prefer, to include a ranking of all of them, in order,in the comments below. We’ll take your input into consideration as we finalize the list later this summer.
This week’s installment is the offensive guards and centers. Here are 11 linemen projected as guards or centers who are considered among the best in the Southeast. Vote for the one you think is the best in the accompanying poll, or rank them all in the comments below.
Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Central
Rated No. 1 OG, No. 34 overall (four-star) by Rivals.com
Rated No. 2 OG, No. 48 overall (four-star) by 247Sports
Rated No. 6 OG, No. 79 overall (four-star) by ESPN
Rated No. 8 OG, No. 125 overall (four-star) by Scout.com
Committed to Alabama
Rated No. 4 OG, No. 88 overall (four-star) by Rivals.com
Rated No. 4 OG, No. 56 overall (four-star) by 247Sports
Rated No. 2 OG, No. 51 overall (four-star) by ESPN
Rated No. 6 OG, No. 86 overall (four-star) by Scout.com
Considering Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama, Mississippi State
Gadsden (Ala.) Southside
Rated No. 7 OT, No. 66 overall (four-star) by Rivals.com
Rated No. 29 OG, N/A overall (three-star) by 247Sports
Rated No. 18 OG, No. 225 overall (four-star) by ESPN
Rated No. 20 OG, No. 295 overall (four-star) by Scout.com
Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian
Rated No. 15 DT, No. 189 overall (four-star) by Rivals.com
Rated No. 14 OG, N/A overall (four-star) by 247Sports
Rated No. 4 OG, No. 68 overall (four-star) by ESPN
Rated No. 35 OG, N/A overall (three-star) by Scout.com
Committed to Florida State
Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton
Rated No. 8 OG, No. 157 overall (four-star) by Rivals.com
Rated No. 15 OG, N/A overall (four-star) by 247Sports
Rated No. 11 OG, No. 174 overall (four-star) by ESPN
Rated No. 26 OG, N/A overall (three-star) by Scout.com
Considering Stanford, Auburn, North Carolina, Duke and Florida State
Rated No. 5 OG, No. 115 overall (four-star) by Rivals.com
Rated No. 24 OG, N/A overall (three-star) by 247Sports
Rated No. 17 OG, No. 207 overall (four-star) by ESPN
Rated No. 32 OG, N/A overall (three-star) by Scout.com
Considering South Carolina, Clemson, Georgia, Oregon and Auburn
Atlanta (Ga.) Mays
Rated No. 11 OG, No. 173 overall (four-star) by Rivals.com
Rated No. 10 OG, No. 210 overall (four-star) by 247Sports
Rated No. 20 OG, No. 234 overall (four-star) by ESPN
Rated No. 19 OG, No. 286 overall (four-star) by Scout.com
Committed to Alabama
Hochston (Ga.) Mill Creek
Rated No. 14 OG, No. 248 overall (four-star) by Rivals.com
Rated No. 34 OT, N/A overall (four-star) by 247Sports
Rated No. 15 OG, No. 192 overall (four-star) by ESPN
Rated No. 15 OG, No. 265 overall (four-star) by Scout.com
Committed to Auburn
Bessemer City (Ala.)
Rated No. 23 OG, N/A overall (three-star) by Rivals.com
Rated No. 4 C, N/A overall (four-star) by 247Sports
Rated No. 19 OG, No. 231 overall (four-star) by ESPN
Rated No. 47 OG, N/A overall (three-star) by Scout.com
Considering Auburn, Mississippi State and Kentucky
Rated No. 1 C, No. 201 overall (four-star) by Rivals.com
Rated No. 27 OG, N/A overall (three-star) by 247Sports
Rated No. 7 OG, No. 98 overall (four-star) by ESPN
NR OG or overall (three-star) by Scout.com
Considering Auburn, Tennessee, Clemson and Missouri
Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside
NR OG or overall (three-star) by Rivals.com
Rated No. 34 OG, N/A overall (three-star) by 247Sports
Rated No. 25 OG, No. 271 overall (four-star) by ESPN
Rated No. 33 OG, N/A overall (three-star) by Scout.com
Committed to Auburn
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“He literally knocked the door down. I mean right off its hinges. A policeman came in and asked who knocked the door down, and Coach Bryant said, "I did". The policeman just said "Okay" and walked off.”
Describing an irate Bryant after a 7-7 tie with Tennessee.