Posted by Bryan Fischer
Despite not getting the Valentine he really wanted today, Alabama head coach Nick Saban did pick up two from the class of 2012.
Powder Springs (Ga.) running back Kenyan Drake and Thomasville (Ala.) linebacker Tyler Hayes both pulled the trigger and verbally pledged to the Crimson Tide. In one of the quickest recruiting starts in recent memory for Saban, the two become the seventh and eighth commits respectively for the upcoming Alabama class.
The 6-foot-1, 190 pound Drake can also play slot receiver for the Tide and has run a reported 4.4 second 40-yard dash. A MaxPreps Georgia All-Region player, he picked up an offer at the recent Alabama Junior Day and had no problem pulling the trigger a few days later.
“The whole reason to get this out of the way for me was to put recruiting behind me and focus on school and my teammates and Hillgrove,” Drake told BamaOnLine.com. “The coaching staff was fantastic. The offense is geared towards getting the ball to the playmakers. It just had everything.”
Alabama also locked up a future star on defense in Hayes. The 6-foot-3, 220 pound in-state linebacker will likely end up as an outside linebacker but could grow into an inside linebacker or defensive end.
“I have loved Alabama all of my life. My family is all Alabama. It just made sense to get it over with," Hayes told BamaOnLine.com. “I had offers from Alabama and Auburn, and while Auburn was really nice, Alabama’s academics probably put it over the top. I loved the coaching staff too.”
Not to be left out, SEC rival Florida picked up a big - literally - commitment from 6-foot-3, 220 pound running back Matt Jones. One of the top running backs in the South, the Seffner (Fla.) product is a versitle runner who will be a very good fit in Charlie Weis’ offense.
“I love the staff and coach (Will) Muschamp is great,” Jones told FightinGators.com. “When I told coach Muschamp he was real jacked up and I made his day. He told me they needed a guy like me and great players want to play with other great players. I just want to go up there and compete. I plan on rocking the entire Gator nation.”
Jones becomes Florida’s third commit for the class of 2012. A few of his highlights are in the video below.