Today should be one of the best days of the year for Alabama and its fans, but believe it or not, there is some bad news that we have to discuss.
Alabama may have won the National Championship in convincing and dominant fashion, and that will be the main story today, but the Crimson Tide did experience a very sizable recruiting loss as well.
5-star defensive end DeMarcus Walker has flipped his commitment from Alabama to Florida State.
Kipp Adams of ESPN.com reports on the flip:
ESPN 150 defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) decided to stay in-state after all...in Tallahassee.
"I prayed," Walker said. "I just had to follow my heart. I am committed to Florida State University."
In a shocking last-minute switch, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound senior flipped from Alabama to Florida State and announced his decision just moments after the Crimson Tide defeated Notre Dame 42-14 to win back-to-back BCS National Championships. He will enroll in school tomorrow according to Sandalwood head coach Adam Geis.
Adams also reports that a big reason Walker decided to switch his commitment to Florida State was new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who was Walker's recruiter when he was the defensive backs coach at Alabama:
Pruitt, who was recently hired by FSU, has been Walker’s primary recruiter for the last two years with Alabama.
"He really liked him," Geis said. "That was his guy from the start."
This is a recruiting win of epic proportions for Florida State. Walker is one of the best recruits in the 2013 class and he has star potential as a defensive end in just about any scheme.
He's 6'3'', 265 and runs a 4.60 40 according to 247Sports, so he has a unique combination of size and speed. He'll be big and strong enough to take on double teams at the line of scrimmage and maintain gap responsibility, but he's also fast and athletic enough to be a pure pass rusher and be effective on the edges and in open space.
Walker is ranked as the No. 2 strong-side defensive end according to the 247Sports composite rankings, so he's obviously a big-time flip for Florida State. This is also an important recruiting win for coach Pruitt, who is known as a very good recruiter.
From Alabama's standpoint, this undoubtedly has to be very disappointing. As stated earlier, Walker is a big-time recruit and he does have star potential, so losing his commitment isn't something that should be taken lightly.
The good news is, after a convincing win over Notre Dame in the BCS Championship game, the Crimson Tide look stronger and more elite than ever, and that could end up being huge for Nick Saban in the weeks leading up to National Signing Day.
If there's a recruit that can make up for losing Walker, it would be 5-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams. Alabama is in his unofficial top five according to 247Sports, along with Georgia, Clemson, Florida and Auburn, and he has superstar potential.
Adams has that same elite combination of size and speed that would allow him to move over to the 5-technique and play defensive end in the 3-4, and he projects to be a dominant college football player.
Landing his commitment has become even more important for Alabama now that Walker is gone, so look for Adams to become the main recruiting focus for the Crimson Tide from here on out.
Alabama's loss is Florida State's gain in regards to Walker, but if there's a program in the country that can bounce back from losing a 5-star recruit, it's Alabama.