Freddie Roach has been making waves on the recruiting trail since taking over for Chris Kiffin back in April. Then, he helped Marquis Hayne break the sack record at Ole Miss and help Breeland Speaks and Benito Jones find their groove after rough starts to 2017. Now, the first-year defensive line coach is earning his keep once again by beating out College Football Playoff wizard Alabama and securing a signature from three-star defensive tackle Jalen Cunningham, first reported by Russell Johnson.
Cunningham, a three-star defensive tackle from Odenville, Ala., holds offers from Alabama, Georiga, Houston, Memphis, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Southern Miss, but the No. 39 defensive tackle in the country decided to end his recruitment after competing in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game.
OFFICIAL | Three-straight commits from Alabama are in, as Jalen Cunningham is a Rebel! Welcome to the family, @_5ifty5_!— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) December 20, 2017
INFO >> https://t.co/DP5DrR1lz9#HottyToddy #FutureRebels #NSD18 pic.twitter.com/wKNfCBi8Bz
Cunningham joins fellow defensive tackles and Yellowhammer State natives K.D. Hill and Allen Love as well as Quentin Bivens, Deuntra Hyman, and Hal Northern in this year’s class who will be looking to step right in for the departing Marquis Haynes, Garrald McDowell, and Breeland Speaks.
Most believe, despite being listed as a defensive tackle on 247Sports, he will be in Jack Bicknell’s room and will eventually transition to the offensive side as a guard.
How does he fit in?
The 6’6, 345-pounder is just the defensive tackle that you want in the Southeastern Conference in the trenches. He has the height and the weight already to step into a Power 5 weightroom and be molded into a freshman All-American. The No. 14 player in the Alabama and Offense-Defense All-American Bowl participant was a key cog for the Fighting Saints of St. Clair County. He was your prototypical nose guard who ate up ball carriers and interior linemen like they were pizza Lunchables.
On tape, he reminds me of former Rebel Jerrell Powe. And he is already bigger than Powe was and just as electric off the ball. Powe was an instant impact guy in the trenches for Ole Miss after a brief stint at Hargrave Military Academy and Jalen could very well be that guy as well, but straight from high school. Cunningham will attract double teams and clog running lanes with his enormous frame and I personally think he can play right away in a three technique role in McGriff’s defense.
He has the ability to be a disruptive and explosive player and should fit in perfectly in the 2018 class with the other four Alabama commits in the class.