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2017 Alabama football recruiting: Xavier McKinney commits to Crimson Tide

Xavier McKinney surprisingly chooses Alabama over Clemson on eve of national title game between the two schools.

4-star safety Xavier McKinney
247Sports

For the second straight year, Alabama will face Clemson in the final of the College Football Playoff. On Sunday, Alabama won the battle over Clemson, this time on the recruiting trail, when four-star safety Xavier McKinney shocked everyone and picked the Crimson Tide over the Tigers.

A former Alabama commit, McKinney backed out of his pledge last summer and most felt he was destined for Clemson. However, on Sunday, McKinney picked the Tide and this was another strong addition for Nick Saban.

Alabama seemingly has a defensive back or two drafted in the first round every April and just continue to reload. With the addition of McKinney, that’s the case again this year. McKinney will likely play safety for the Tide.

McKinney is a good athlete, not an elite one. He has outstanding anticipation and awareness. As a junior, McKinney picked off 10 passes. He’s a smart player who could help right away in 2017.

The 6’1”, 192-pound defensive back from Roswell, Ga., is the nation’s No. 8 safety and 70th-rated prospect overall, according to 247Sports.

Alabama continues to build on the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class.