Friday night notes: Alabama adds to '23 recruiting lead, LSU penalized for fouls, plus more

USA TODAY high school sportsFriday Night Notes is weekly high school football recruiting roundup that looks at the latest news from around the country – from the class of 2023 through ’24 and beyond.

Alabama has dominated the college football scene for years. While Nick Saban’s coaching is undoubtedly a major factor, you can’t underestimate their ability to consistently attract top high school football prospects from around the country.

The tide already had a leading role in the 2023 recruiting rankings, and they extended that lead this week by making two more major commitments…

Alabama bolstered its front line Monday by earning a commitment from Tyler Legacy (Texas) defense Jordan Reno. He is ranked seventh among all linebackers in his class and No. 13 overall in the state. Renaud (6-foot-3, 245 pounds) is a ferocious rusher with a proven ability to get into the backfield. Last season, he recorded 61 total tackles, including six for loss. He also had offers from Oklahoma, Auburn and Florida. by the way.

Two days later, the Rolling Tide added a weapon on the other side of the ball in four-star Longview (Texas) wide receiver Jalen Hale. Hale (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) also played basketball and track. He had 37 catches for 652 yards and nine touchdowns last season and already has four catches in four games this year. Hale is ranked the No. 9 wide receiver in his class and No. 51 nationally.

Together, those two additions boosted Alabama’s recruiting score to 309.14, a significant lead over second-place Texas. They now have commitments of 16 from ESPN’s Top 300 Prospects – the most in the country.

LSU penalized for recruiting violations

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The never-ending race to catch up with the Rolling Tide can tempt some recruiters to give up. One of their main rivals is now facing some consequences…

Yesterday the NCAA announced the following penalties for LSU on former assistant coach James Craig breaking the rules during the recruiting dead period due to COVID-19.

One year probationary period. $5,000 fine (self-imposed). Limit official visits for football to 55 in the 2022-23 school year (self-imposed). A one-week ban on unofficial visits to the football program prior to the start of the 2022-23 school year (self-imposed). A one-week recruiting ban on the football program prior to the start of the 2022-23 school year (self-imposed). Reduction of seven assessment days in the football program in the autumn 2021 assessment period (self-imposed). Three-year show cause order for former assistant coach. During that period, any NCAA member school that recruits him must restrict him from any off-campus recruiting activities unless they show cause why the restrictions should not apply.

Craig was fired in June 2021 for improperly meeting a recruit and offering gear. He filed a wrongful termination lawsuit two months later, and a Baton Rouge judge ruled in his favor last month. It’s Craig will receive $492,945.20 from the school. LSU intends to appeal. He currently serves as an assistant offensive line coach for the 49ers.

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Damari Brown in Miami among the big visits this week

Gabi Urrutia, 247 Sports

Several high-profile prospects are set to take official visits to prospective schools this weekend. The biggest might be cornerback American Heritage (Florida). Damari Brown visiting Miami – which has become a hub for special DB talent. Brown (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) is ranked No. 29 at his position and has offers from 28 other schools.

Other notable visits this weekend include Archbishop Carroll (Washington, D.C.), a five-star athlete Nykoles Harbor goes to Michigan. Meanwhile, Michigan State hosts five-star OLB TJ Capers from Columbus (Fla.) and Ohio State gets another visit from DE Keon Keeley. The hustle never stops for Alabama, which hosts Carver (Ala.) four-star DT James Smith.

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More recruiting news from USA TODAY Sports college wires

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Keon Keely will make a second visit to see Ohio State battle Wisconsin

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The Tigers offer 2,024 running backs from Georgia

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Arkansas among top 2024 quarterback recruiting programs

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2025 5-star DL plans return to Swamp after visit to play USF

The Gators are getting a commitment from this blue chip prospect in 2024

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