football Edit

Rivals100 ATH Drew Sanders flips commitment from Oklahoma to Alabama

THE SITUATION

Drew Sanders had been comfortably committed to Oklahoma for almost two years. However, as his senior season neared, the Rivals100 athlete began evaluating other options.

The four-star athlete — capable of playing tight end or outside linebacker — flipped his commitment from the Sooners to the Crimson Tide on Monday evening, declaring his recruitment “100-percent done.”

Sanders took an official visit to LSU on April 5 and then an unofficial visit to Tuscaloosa a few days later. He returned to Alabama this past weekend for an official visit, leading to the humongous flip.

WHY IT'S BIG FOR THE TIDE

There are few prospects in this Class of 2020 as dynamic as Sanders. The 6-foot-5, 212-pounder plays a multitude of positions for Denton Ryan (Texas) High School, including outside linebacker, quarterback and receiver. He’s equally as dangerous on either side of the ball.

Sanders is a top-end athlete that possesses 4.6 speed. At outside linebacker, he’s agile enough to cover the most athlete tight ends and could keep pace with running backs out of the backfield and likely shadow some wide receivers. He’s a smart football player that thrives off instincts. When watching his tape, you can see how easily he reads opposing quarterbacks and counters in coverage.

Sanders is a sure tackler and can improve in that area as he adds some more muscle to his frame. The Ryan staff likes to blitz Sanders inside and off the edge, making him a five-tool threat on defense that can run, blitz, tackle, cover and make plays.

While on offense, Sanders has great speed for his size and is athletic as a pass-catcher. He has great body control and strong hands, and that makes him quite the mismatch, particularly in the red zone.

WHY IT HURTS THE SOONERS

The biggest theme of the offseason in Norman was changing the culture of the Oklahoma defense. First-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch had himself a tremendous asset in the 2020 class when he assumed the position and was piecing together an impressive collection of talent around him.

Sanders was supposed to be the sure thing — up until he began making visits to SEC schools earlier this month. There were rumblings out of Baton Rouge that the four-star was taking a closer look at the Tigers, and two visits to Alabama was enough to lead Sanders to flip the switch and shut down his recruitment as a member of the Crimson Tide’s recruiting class.

The Oklahoma coaches were willing to let Sanders play either tight end or outside linebacker, but there’s no doubt he would have been an invaluable piece in reshaping the defense. With Sanders now out of the fold, Grinch and co. will be hard-pressed to find an athlete with a similar set of skills as Sanders.