By MaxPreps' Stephen Spiewak
Alabama, fresh off a stellar 2011 recruiting class that closed with Cyrus Kouandjio, is already making big strides with the class of 2012, gaining verbal pledges from eight recruits, including Eddie Williams, Kenyan Drake, and Reggie Ragland.
However, the Crimson Tide is also out in the lead for one of the country's top recruits for the class of 2013: Troup (LaGrange, Ga.) linebacker Reuben Foster.
Foster, who is 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, has tremendous size to go along with excellent instinct for such a young linebacker. He recently visited Alabama, where he got to spend time with current players and chat with head coach Nick Saban. He came away extremely impressed.
"They treat me like I'm part of the family already," Foster wrote in a text.
Asked if Alabama was his early leader, he replied, "Oh ya."
Foster also hopes to visit a geographically diverse group of schools that includes South Carolina, Texas and Oregon.
ZACH BANNER HAS OPTIONS
Zach Banner, one of the nation's top offensive linemen in the class of 2012, has plenty of options to weigh in the recruiting process. The 6-9, 310-pounder has received offers from across the country.
According to Lakes (Lakewood, Wash.) head coach Dave Miller, Banner has been recruited heavily by many Pac-10 programs, but he also has an interest in several schools far from home, including Ohio State and Michigan.
The Wolverines in particular seem to have piqued Banner's interest.
"Michigan is back in with Hoke, going back to the big road graders," Miller said. "Getting the offer from Michigan last week was really exciting for Zach."
Miller said that pedigree for producing top tackles could be an important factor in Banner's decision.
JAMIL POLLARD'S FIRST OFFER IS A BIG ONE
Florida has done well recruiting in New Jersey recently, landing the likes of Justin Trattou, Will Hill, and Josh Evans. The Gators are hoping to continue that trend by landing West Deptford (Westville, N.J.) two-way lineman Jamil Pollard.
Last week, Florida became the first program to offer the 6-5, 270-pounder, according to West Deptford head coach Clyde Folsom.
Pollard is thought to be a Rutgers lean, but the Scarlet Knights have yet to offer. By offering first, Florida has left an impression on one of the Garden State's best underclassmen.
COACHES ARE LINING UP FOR DORIAL GREEN-BECKHAM
Arguably the nation's top junior, Dorial Green-Beckham continues to be inundated with interest from colleges.
The verbal offers — from nearly every school in the country — had already poured in. Recently, Hillcrest was inundated with college coaches who are attempting to land the 6-6, talent-laden receiver.
According to Tracy Beckham, nearly a dozen head coaches visited the school in January before National Signing Day, from Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino to former Notre Dame head coach and current Florida assistant Charlie Weis.
With the sad news of Green-Beckham's younger brother Darnell being diagnosed with Leukemia, Green-Beckham may be more likely to play his college ball close to home, as the two share a close relationship.
DAVID PERKINS VISITS NOTRE DAME FOR JUNIOR DAY
David Perkins, a standout athlete at Washington (South Bend, Ind.), visited Notre Dame for Junior Day over the weekend.
The Fighting Irish have yet to offer Perkins, who claims offers from Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Louisville and several MAC schools.
Perkins transferred to Washington after originally beginning his high school career in Michigan. He finished his junior season with 63 tackles and 13 sacks.
BOSCO QUARTET FAR FROM MAKING DECISIONS
Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) boasts four juniors who will be highly sought-after in the next recruiting cycle: defensive end Darius Hamilton, wide receiver Leonte Carroo, and defensive backs Elijah Shumate and Yuri Wright.
The four played an instrumental role in Don Bosco Prep's 12-0 season last year, and figure to be key players for the Ironmen in 2011. All four have heard from numerous colleges and have yet to narrow down their list of schools.
Hamilton is the son of former New York Giants defensive tackle Keith Hamilton, who attended Pitt. The Panthers have already offered the younger Hamilton, who could be the mostly highly coveted of the four.
Photos by Jeff Napier and Dan Coppola.