Ah well. Despite a heavy push from Butch Jones and company, as was widely expected 5* DE LaBryan Ray has committed to Alabama, choosing the Tide over Tennessee and Florida. The 6’4” 260-pound defensive end of Madison, AL is ranked as the no. 27 player in the national 247 composite, and the nation’s top strongside defensive end prospect. In his senior season at James Clemens High School, Ray racked up a preposterous 124 tackles, 25 TFLs, 13 sacks and 16 quarterback hurries.
As a weird sidebar to Ray’s decision: in case you were trying to forget the morally-ambiguous teenage-meat-market aspect of National Signing Day, 247’s no. 7 SDE, Jarez Parks of Sebastian, FL (247 4*, no. 93 overall) earlier today released a prerecorded video of himself committing to Alabama in front of the Eiffel Tower via Bleacher Report, but with Ray’s commitment it appears there may not be a scholarship spot for him in Tuscaloosa. Though he seems personally all-in on the Tide, it’s unclear if he’d be willing to greyshirt, which appears to be his only remaining option at Alabama. Florida State, Tennessee, and Florida have all also been involved in recruiting him, so might be one to keep an eye on.
That said, Tennessee’s ‘17 class appears to be largely wrapped for the day, with Butch’s 28 commits standing at 16th in 247’s national composite rankings, though only good for 7th in the SEC (and with a decidedly underwhelming blue-chip ratio). We’ll have much more analysis and discussion of Tennessee’s National Signing Day (some of it even by people who know what they’re talking about!), so stay tuned.