Recruiting notebook: Tide already headed to big year
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Jan 15, 2014 | 2507 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TUSCALOOSA -- With national signing day three weeks away, Alabama has the top-ranked recruiting class for the 2014 cycle, according to all four major recruiting services.

The Crimson Tide currently has 24 commitments, with eight players already attending classes as early enrollees. The Tide has commitments from 11 different states. As it stands, the Tide has three of the nation’s top 10 prospects, according to 247Sports Composite rankings.

Even though anything can happen between now and signing day, as it currently stands, Alabama is all but guaranteed another recruiting national championship.

Here is a breakdown of the Tide’s 2014 class as it stands.

POINT OF EMPHASIS: LINEMEN, DEFENSIVE BACKS: Of the Tide’s 24 commitments, 12 are listed as offensive or defensive linemen. And of the 12 who aren’t linemen, five are projected to play defensive back in college.

This class features the nation’s top offensive tackle (Cameron Robinson, early enrollee), top strongside defensive end (Da’Shawn Hand), top center (J.C. Hassenauer) and top junior college offensive tackle (Dominick Jackson), according to 247Sports rankings.

In Tony Brown (early enrollee), the Tide has the No. 2 cornerback in the nation and the ninth best prospect according to 247Sports Composite rankings.

LUXURY: SKILL POSITION PLAYERS: In the 2012 and 2013 classes, Alabama stockpiled on skill position talent, and even with veterans moving on, the Tide still has plenty of young talent to carry the load.

After signing five running backs in the past two classes, the Tide only have one player in this class who could play the position in Bo Scarborough. A Tuscaloosa native, Scarborough is listed as an athlete with scouts saying he could play running back, H-back or wide receiver in college.

At wide receiver, Alabama currently has two players committed in Cameron Sims (early enrollee) and Derek Keif. Both players are 6-foot-3 or taller and weigh nearly 200 pounds each.

Along those lines, after signing two quarterbacks in 2013, Alabama is bringing in just one quarterback in this class -- David Cornwell, early enrollee.

REMAINING TARGETS: Barring any last minute flips to the Tide, there are three remaining targets who remain a priority: cornerback Marlon Humphrey, defensive tackle Matt Elam and linebacker Rashaan Evans.

Humphrey, who is from Hoover, is an Alabama legacy with his father Bobby Humphrey starring for the Tide as a running back in the late 1980s.

Humphrey, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound cornerback, is the nation’s No. 3 prospect at his position, according to 247Composite rankings. He is the consensus choice as the state of Alabama’s No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2014, according to all of the major recruiting services.

He is the Tide’s top remaining target. He is considering Alabama and Florida State and is expected to make a decision on National Signing Day.

If Humphrey picks the Tide, he will join five-star cornerback Tony Brown (early enrollee) on the track and field team.

Elam, who is from Elizabethtown, Ky., is considered by many to be a game-changer at the nose tackle position. At 6-foot-4, 370 pounds, Elam is considered to be in the mold of former Tide standout Terrence Cody.

Elam recently delayed his announcement until National Signing Day. He is scheduled to take his official visit to Tuscaloosa on Jan. 17.

Evans, who is from Auburn, is considered to be an Auburn lean, but many feel the Tide has a good chance of landing the five-star linebacker prospect. He is also scheduled to take an official visit to Tuscaloosa on Jan. 17, but hasn’t scheduled an announcement date.

Alabama’s recent loss of linebacker commitment Zach Whitley makes Evans a higher priority for the Tide heading into the home stretch.

If the Tide lands one or two of these prospects, it will lock up the nation’s top class. All three would bring about the conversation of greatest class ever.

Marq Burnett covers Alabama for The Anniston Star. He can be reached at mburnett@annistonstar.com. Twitter: @Marq_Burnett.
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