The extra time gives these recruits a leg up when competing for playing time and starting positions next fall as they’ll have some knowledge of the playbook and a sense of what college life is like.
The group includes six high schoolers and two junior college transfers.
Junior college defensive linemen Jarran Reed and D.J. Pettway signed their national letters of intent with the Tide in December. The two were teammates at East Mississippi Community College and won a junior college national championship last fall.
Reed, from North Carolina, finished his season at EMCC with 66 tackles and 3.5 sacks. At 6-foot-4, 320-pounds, Reed is the nation’s No. 2 ranked JUCO defensive tackle according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Pettway signed with Alabama in 2011 and spent two seasons with the Tide before being dismissed in the spring of 2013 after an arrest for his involvement in the robberies of two UA students. At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Pettway is the No. 3 junior college strongside defensive end prospect according to 247Sports Composite rankings.
Quarterback David Cornwell, from Norman, Okla., is still recovering from a torn knee ligament that ended his senior season early. At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Cornwell is the nation’s No. 4 pro-style quarterback in the 247Sports Composite rankings. If his rehab goes well, Cornwell expects to compete for the starting quarterback position left by AJ McCarron.
Linebacker Shaun Hamilton, from Montgomery, is the nation’s No. 8 inside linebacker according to 247Sports Composite rankings.
Along with those four are three of the top players from Louisiana in five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, four-star wide receiver Cameron Sims and four-star safety Laurence “Hootie” Jones.
At 6-foot-7, 335-pounds, Robinson is the nation’s top offensive tackle according to multiple recruiting services. 247Sports has him pegged as the top prospect in the nation regardless of position. If left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio leaves early for the NFL Draft, Robinson will be expected to fill the void.
Sims is a 6-foot-4, 200-pound receiver and is rated among the top 100 prospects in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Jones is the nation’s No. 4 safety prospect according to 247Sports Composite rankings.
Finally, there is Alabama’s most recent commitment in five-star cornerback Tony Brown.
The Beaumont, Texas, native committed to Alabama during the Under Armour All-America game last week. At 6-foot, 190 pounds, Brown is the No. 3 player at his position and the No. 9 player overall in 247Sports Composite rankings.
Brown is a two-sport athlete and plans on running track at Alabama this spring. Brown was one of the nation’s top hurdlers in high school. He is expected to add an immediate boost to the Tide’s secondary.