Roll Tide-ings: Alabama commit relaxes fans, top target has Georgia on top, a name to remember

VanDarius Cowan by Chris Kirschner 001

Alabama is on the hunt for its seventh straight recruiting championship. Join us here on SEC Country for a daily recap of Alabama recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind the scenes, and for a glimpse at what’s coming next.

Cowan’s comments should help Alabama fans relax

As I have written about the past few days, VanDarius Cowan, a 4-star Alabama commit, changed his mind and has decided to take all five official visits.

This fall, Cowan will visit Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Southern California and Ohio State. The Buckeyes trip should be an interesting one. Cowan told me at The Opening last month the main difference between Alabama’s commits and Ohio State’s was big. When asked if he thought Alabama would get the No. 1 class over Ohio State, Cowan responded quickly.

“That’s ranked off of all those stars and junk, but we’re talking about Alabama having goons and savages in this class,” Cowan said at the time. “I’m talking about boys who want to play and give it their all. I’m telling you all of my boys that are committed are savages. We are straight dogs.”

Now, he’s going to Columbus, and I’m sure his comment will be brought up by someone on that visit. But what’s interesting about Cowan’s trip to Ohio State is what our own Jeremy Birmingham reported on our Big 10 site, Land of 10.

According to Birmingham, Cowan has been reaching out to Ohio State himself so he can check out the campus. Like he says in pretty much every interview though, he’s not flipping, so these trips should not be a concern for Alabama fans.

“I’m 150-percent committed to Roll Tide. I’m just taking visits checking out places because you only get one chance to (experience this),Cowan told Birmingham. “I want to visit Ohio State. Chase Young told me it’s great up there and after talking to coach Luke Fickell, he also would like to get me on campus. Just hearing about that school over the years makes me want to visit.”

Young was a big Alabama linebacker target, but ended up committing to Ohio State. Cowan spent a lot of time with Young when he visited Alabama. It’s one of the main reasons why he wants to check out Columbus.

The fact that he was with me his whole visit at Bama,” Cowan said when asked exactly what Young said or did that piqued his interest in the Buckeyes. “Then committed to Ohio State the next day.”

It’s always a little nerve-racking as a fan to see one of your top commits visit other schools, but it would be a giant shock if Cowan doesn’t play his college football at Alabama.

Top Alabama target has Georgia on top 

I have not mentioned Nate McBride recently for Alabama. He’s definitely near the top of the wish list for the Crimson Tide staff and for good reason, too.

McBride, a 4-star linebacker from Vidalia (Ga.) High School, is one of the most athletic football players in the country. At 220 pounds, McBride has been timed in the 100-meter dash in 10.5 seconds. That’s faster than former Alabama commit, and now California freshman wide receiver, Demetris Robertson, who was considered one of the fastest players in the Class of 2016.

There’s a reason why I haven’t mentioned McBride and Alabama much though. Though he’s at the top of the wish list, it’s highly unlikely he ends up in a Crimson Tide jersey come 2017.

The Army All-American was likely going to commit to Georgia when Mark Richt was the coach, and now that Kirby Smart is in Athens, the Bulldogs’ chances are better. McBride is also great friends with Georgia quarterback commit Jake Fromm. He was one of a few people to know a few weeks before Fromm flipped from Alabama to Georgia that he was going to make that decision.

What Jason McBride, Nate’s father, said Tuesday was one of the worst-kept secrets in this recruiting class.

“Georgia is definitely at the top,” McBride’s father told Anthony Dasher of “There’s a good relationship with Kirby Smart, Coach (Glenn) Schumann, Coach (Kevin) Sherrer … all the coaches.”

Alabama is going to continue recruiting McBride, but I don’t see the Crimson Tide gaining his commitment regardless of how hard they recruit him.

One of Northeast’s top players thinks it would be hard to turn down Alabama?

Dorian Hardy is surely on the early watch list for recruits to end up in Alabama’s Class of 2018.

The nation’s No. 7 defensive end from St. Joseph Regional High School (Montvale, N.J.) is a big-time Alabama fan. Not only is he a fan of the Crimson Tide, but his family is, too. It’s one of the main reasons why Alabama is currently one of his top schools.

“I mean Alabama is a great school that I’ve been watching and looking up to since being a little kid,” Hardy told SEC Country. “They are definitely near the top of my favorite schools list for sure because growing up they were my favorite team and just the SEC is great.”

The 6-foot-5, 245-pound prospect has not visited his favorite school just yet, but plans are currently being made for him to see the campus. He has already discussed possibly visiting Alabama during his high school’s bye week, which is on Sept. 24. Alabama hosts Kent State that weekend.

Hardy has been in contact with his primary recruiter at Alabama, offensive line coach Mario Cristobal, and the assistant has made it clear to him that he’s one of the team’s top priorities in his recruiting class.

“He just told me I’m a hell of a player and that they want me to get down there soon so I can get comfortable and familiar with the coaching staff and facilities,” Hardy said. “I just need to get down to the school and see with my own eyes the things they have to offer, which I know from other student-athletes, and my own knowledge of college football, is out of this world.”

If the 4-star prospect does end up visiting, he thinks if the staff pressed for his commitment, it may be hard to turn down the school he grew up rooting for.

“I mean it would be hard but I still want to weigh all my options and see what school is best for me,” Hardy said.

The state of New Jersey’s No. 5 prospect in 2018 is also considering Florida, LSU, Clemson, Miami and Rutgers, among others.

Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.

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