You always remember your first. This is the first of what will likely be many offseason posts this spring and summer as the Alabama program welcomes a new coaching staff. To start, for those of you that haven't seen the press conference to introduce Nate Oats as the new head coach, here is some embedded video:
Here's the latest with the current roster. Kira Lewis, John Petty, Daniel Giddens and Dazon Ingram all entered the transfer portal. Daniel and Dazon are likely not coming back, but the good news is JP has already withdrawn from the portal and will return to the team. Assuming John doesn't change his mind, this is a big development. In my opinion, John did improve from year one to year two, but he hasn't come close to reaching his ceiling. The hope is that the new coaching staff will bring the best out of him. As far as Kira goes, Coach Oats has talked with him and his family about returning, but, for now at least, he remains in the portal.
Coach Oats has landed his first commitment. Raymond Hawkins, a 6'9, 225 lb center from Findlay Prep in Nevada announced his commitment to Alabama earlier this evening. Hawkins was expected to sign with Buffalo before Coach Oats left. 247 rates Hawkins as a 3-star prospect, and ranks him 175 in the 2019 class. In the video I linked to, Hawkins certainly looks capable of competing in the SEC. It's a commitment that falls into Alabama's lap by virtue of the new hire, but Hawkins will also fill a need. With Donta exhausting his eligibility, and Daniel likely transferring, Alabama needed a big man. Barring further roster changes, Hawkins will likely compete with Galin and Javian at the 5.
More 2019 recruiting news: Coach Oats has offered Harlond Beverly of Montverde Academy in Florida. Beverly is a 6'4, 170 lb guard. 247 rates him as a 4-star prospect, and ranks him 82 in the 2019 class.
Adam Zagoria reported that Coach Oats is going to meet with Trendon Watford tomorrow (March 31) so he remains a priority for Alabama. While many of the recruiting sites are expecting him to leave the state for college, I'm remaining hopeful that the new staff will make a good impression and keep Trendon home. It would be a shame to see yet another 5-star leave the state for college. Watford is expected to name his college choice on April 20 at the Jordan Brand Classic.