Alabama entered Wednesday with some work to do if it wanted to boast the No. 1 recruiting class once again.
The Tide had Rivals.com’s top-ranked class in six of the last seven years, but began the day at No. 10 nationally. However, Bama quickly began its ascent up the rankings with the signature of Patrick Surtain Jr., a cornerback from American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida.
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Surtain is a five-star prospect according to Rivals, which ranks him as the top cornerback in the nation for the 2018 class. Surtain, who chose Alabama over LSU, is ranked No. 8 overall in the country and is the Tide’s second five-star signee, joining Eyabi Anoma. Anoma, a defensive end out of Baltimore, is ranked No. 7 overall in the country by Rivals.
Surtain Jr. is the son of longtime NFL defensive back Patrick Surtain, who played 11 seasons with the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs. The elder Surtain is the head coach at American Plantation and actually interviewed for a position on Alabama’s staff, but did not get the job.
At 6-foot-2 and 183 pounds, the younger Surtain has the size to step in right away for the Tide, who have to replace NFL-bound Minkah Fitzpatrick, another five-star corner.
The skill set the Tide are getting with Surtain is the important thing. Surtain has elite size and the athleticism to be a game-changing corner that will eventually land on an NFL roster. Grabbing the No. 1 cornerback in the country on Signing Day was imperative to the strong finish Nick Saban hoped to pull off. The importance of this get can’t be overstated.
Surtain wasn’t the only five-star DB from American Heritage to make his decision Wednesday morning. Tyson Campbell, Surtain’s teammate, announced his commitment to Georgia. The No. 25 overall prospect in the country, Campbell is the eighth five-star signing for the Bulldogs, who have the top class in the country as of late Wednesday morning.
It’s a big deal that UGA could pull Campbell out of the Sunshine State. From Rivals.com:
It’s obvious that landing a 6-foot-2 cornerback with legitimate track speed helps the Bulldogs. What’s more notable, however, is the message it sends on the macro level. Georgia’s trip to the national title game continues to pay off, as it has now pulled a five-star away from in-state Miami, another program with a massive wave of recruiting momentum. If UGA is able to use its newfound standing as a title contender to pull top-flight Florida players away from UM, Florida and Florida State, things may get even better from here.
Two other high-profile recruits from the American Heritage defense — four-star defensive lineman Nesta Silvera and four-star outside linebacker Andrew Chatfield — stayed in their home state. Silvera, the No. 121 recruit in the country, made his pledge to Miami while Chatfield picked Florida.
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