Basking in the glow of a banner early signing day in December, football coach Willie Fritz talked about how Tulane had filled its huge needs on the interior of the defensive line.
It turns out the Green Wave may not be finished there.
With three more scholarships available to hand out Wednesday, Tulane has targeted three-star Montgomery (Alabama) Lanier High defensive tackle Alfred Thomas, who took an official visit on the weekend of Jan. 26 and did not go anywhere else this past weekend.
Thomas (6-foot-1, 268 pounds), who had offers from Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Louisville before his senior season, could join a pair of three-star tackles who enrolled in January — Jeffery Johnson of Brookhaven (Mississippi) High and Davon Wright of Donaldsonville — plus highly productive De La Salle tackle Jamiran James, a December signee. Rivals.com lists Thomas as the No. 57 tackle prospect in the country, 25 spots behind Johnson.
Another tremendous addition at one of the toughest positions to recruit would be a major coup for Tulane, which is bereft of proven tackles with the departure of current Los Angeles Rams contributor Tanzel Smart last year and solid senior starter Sean Wilson (28 stops) this season.
Rising sophomore Patrick Johnson is the only returning player who started at either tackle spot in 2017 — and that was only once, against Army — but Fritz has said all three of the December signees were physically mature enough to play next fall.
Thomas fits that bill, too.
After signing 23 in December (counting Vanderbilt offensive line transfer Bailey Granier), Tulane is concentrating on defense for its remaining three spots.
The Wave is allowed to go one over the NCAA maximum of 25 because it brought in only 24 players last year.
Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial linebacker Keitha Jones, another 3-star prospect, committed last week, becoming the first linebacker in the class. In addition to Thomas, strong possibilities for the final two spots are Conyers (Georgia) Heritage defensive end Kurott "Prime" Garland, who visited Tulane the weekend of Jan. 26, and outside linebacker La'Dedric Jackson, a teammate of Thomas who was the Wave's lone official visitor this past weekend.
Garland (6-3, 240), though unrated by the recruiting sites, visited Tennessee on the weekend of Jan. 12 and likely will choose between the Volunteers and Green Wave.
Jackson (6-2, 200), a three-star prospect, committed to Missouri last summer and then de-committed soon afterward.
Regardless of what happens Wednesday, Tulane already is guaranteed its highest rated recruiting class since before Katrina. Rivals.com has its at No. 68 nationally with 11 three-star prospects entering Wednesday, and 247Sports ranks its 72nd with 18 three-star guys.
The addition of Thomas and Jackson would propel the rankings even higher.
Despite the departure of quarterbacks Johnathan Brantley and Khalil McClain after the season and Lindsey Scott's decision to sign with Missouri, do not look for Tulane to add a quarterback on Wednesday.
No quarterback took official visits in January or February. The last high school quarterback the Wave was recruiting, Riley Smith of Jacksonville (Florida) Bartram Trail, committed to Boise State in late January.