Alabama may be the most powerful recruiting force in college football today, but even the almighty Nick Saban isn’t immune from losing recruits.
This weekend, the Tide suffered de-commitments from two heralded defensive linemen: 4-star DE Jonathan Ledbetter from Georgia’s Tucker High School and 4-star DT Benito Jones from Mississippi’s Wayne County High School. Both players have apparently changed their minds and opted to stay in their respective home states.
Ledbetter, who is ranked as the No. 7 DE in the Preseason Fansided 150, broke the news on his Twitter account on Saturday, when he announced that he was giving his verbal pledge to Georgia, declaring that he was a “Dawg for Life.”
The 6’4’’, 265-pound defensive end was considered a big get for Bama when he committed to the program back in January. He was be one of the top defensive prospects in the Tide’s 2015 recruiting class. But Ledbetter obviously feels more comfortable staying in his home state and joining his brother Joseph in Athens.
This is a bit of recruiting revenge for the Bulldogs, who lost a commitment from 4-star DB Rico McGraw earlier this summer, when he decided to flip to Alabama.
The de-commitment of Jones, who is just a junior, isn’t as much of an immediate concern. Last month, the Mississippi native became the first player to commit to the Tide’s 2016 recruiting class.
Jones, who is ranked as the as the No. 83 overall prospect in the 2016 class in 247Sports’ composite rankings, decided to switch his commitment to Ole Miss after a recent visit to campus. On Sunday, he tweeted about his pride in joining the program.
— Benito Jones (@jones_benito) August 17, 2014
Obviously, it hurts to lose two talented defensive line recruits to other SEC schools, especially when those linemen had already given their pledge to the Tide. Still, this is Alabama we’re talking about.
In Saban’s eyes, all this does is open up two new spots to land more prized prospects.