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Hootie Jones De-Commits From Alabama

Well, I didn't see that coming.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

From the man himself.

I'm not overly sure what to make of all this. Hootie seemed really firm in his decision, which is just over two weeks old now. I previously detailed what his commitment to Alabama meant for LSU, and I'm not really backing off that stance, even if this means there's a chance he winds up in Baton Rouge any how.

My eggs are in the Jamal Adams basket at safety, because I believe he's the superior prospect. Hootie, even at 220 pounds, is not a great hitter or tackler. He doesn't seem to use that size to advantage, even in HS. Obviously this can be taught, but it's something that makes me ponder his future. He's about the size, or bigger, where most of our LBs are recruited at. Yet, his strongest skill, from my view, is instincts in coverage. From highlights, he makes a lot of plays on the ball in the air simply by being in the right place. Some of it looks like "right place, right time" luck, but other times he's clearly read the play and put himself in position to make a play.

So here's the rub for me, if that's his best attribute as a safety, what do you do with a guy who is already 220 and fast, but hardly a speed merchant? In the LSU defense, he may project better as an OLB. Chad Jones was a bigger safety for LSU, but as I've stated before, I think he was a more special athlete. I think Hootie's future at LSU would be at LB, and if the coverage is the real strength, then that probably means he's a SAM that shades the TE most plays.

Maybe I'm just not seeing it. All of the recruiting services are pretty enamored with him as a big-time safety prospect. He's got a litany of offers on his mantle from every major college you can think of, but when I watch the tape, I'm not bowled over. And I feel like if you are a top 100, consensus All-American type player, I should be. Especially at a position like Safety, where you get to roam and do damage and, you know, make highlight reels. I could very well be underestimating his ball skills and how impactful that will make him at the position, but at this point, he doesn't scream "ELITE PROSPECT," to me. And I won't change my opinion on that if he inks to good guys in February either.

Hootie was down to LSU and Alabama. He's pulled the plug on his commitment to Bama, for now. Who knows what his rationale is, at this point. Flipping and de-commitments happen regularly in recruiting, especially during this time of year, but it's pretty rare to see a student go to the trouble of organizing a school event for his commitment, only to keep renege on it a couple of weeks later. I get that high schoolers aren't the most logical planners in the world, but it's hard to believe THAT much could change in two weeks, outside of discovering some previously unknown news. This type of stuff leaves me a bit sour at the process, even if it works in the favor of LSU.

So the next couple of months will continue to be an LSU/Bama battle for Hootie. At least, I think so. Neither team has proven to be above going back on an offer. LSU has moved on to Jamal Adams. Bama may get a commitment from C.J. Hampton on Friday. What does the numbers game portend, then? I hope his indecisiveness doesn't cost him the opportunity to play at either of his two top choices. I wouldn't think so, but stranger things have happened.

Ultimately the de-commit comes at such a strange time. He was in Tuscaloosa, with his Monroe/West Monroe buddies, just days ago, on an official visit. Official visits for committed prospects almost always solidify things. For Hootie, they threw them into doubt. What's giving him pause? Some say this has been mounting, and perhaps the visit didn't give him or his family the good feelings they hoped for, but then, we heard the same thing about his visit to LSU, just days before he picked Alabama. What, exactly, is he looking for, on these visits?

At any rate, this is certainly interesting. Frankly, I'm just kind of at a loss. I'm not sure what to think. Where do you all think he fits, best?