Alabama doesn’t take many losses on the recruiting trail, and when it does they can sometimes be self-inflicted. The setback of Akial Byers certainly falls in that second category.
Byers is a four-star defensive tackle from Arkansas who picked the Crimson Tide ahead of scholarship offers from the likes of Michigan, Florida State and Ohio State, among others. He was one of the top overall prospects in the state of Arkansas, and the Crimson Tide appeared to be getting a true potential contributor with Byers’ pledge.
Yet all that came with the assumption that Byers would academically qualify to enroll, which he apparently has failed to do at Fayetteville High, per Rivals.com Alabama reporter Andrew Bone. Instead, the player who competed in the shadow of the University of Arkansas will sign for and attend Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, for at least a year, before he likely eventually transfers back into Division FBS, in all likelihood within the SEC.
The academic setback must have been fairly unforeseen, as Byers was welcoming Alabama coaches, including Nick Saban, for in-home visits as recently as last week. He recently completed an official visit on campus at the school as well.
Whether he’ll head to Tuscaloosa after a year (or two) at Mississippi Gulf Coast, or maybe even home to Fayetteville, remains to be seen. For now, he’ll be playing his football and studying far away from the limelight he was likely anticipating.