Class Snapshot: Alabama
There is a lot of talent heading to Tuscaloosa yet again. Alabama currently has the No. 1 class for the 2014 cycle and should the Crimson Tide finish at that spot, it will be the fourth straight top-ranked class for Nick Saban and staff.
Class Snapshot: Alabama (24 commits)
Current Rank: No. 1 nationally, No. 1 Southeastern Conference, (0.8953 average 247Sports Composite Rating)
Top Commit: Offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La.) has already enrolled and is the top offensive line prospect in the 2014 class. The 6-foot-7, 335-pound Robinson has excellent feet and quickness and is massive. With development, he can become a very rich first round draft pick in time. Robinson is the No. 1 offensive tackle prospect and the No. 4 overall prospect for the 2014 cycle according to 247Sports Composite rankings.
Class Strength: Defensive line. An argument can be made for the secondary or offensive line here and it may end up on signing day that those positions are stronger, but currently there plenty is depth and talent heading to Alabama on the defensive line, led by five-star defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbrige, Va.), who is basically college-ready. The Tide has a pair of talented junior college players, Jarran Reed and D.J. Pettway, both from East Mississippi Junior College, already enrolled. Pettway is returning to the program after leaving briefly. The Tide went into northwest Arkansas and beat the local Razorbacks (and Texas A&M) for 6-foot-3, 334-pound nose tackle prospect Josh Frazier (Springdale, Ark./Har-ber) and has two other interior prospects from out-of-state in O.J. Smith (Bossier City, La./Airline) and Johnny Dwight (Rochelle, Ga./Wilcox County). Both are three-star prospects who the Alabama staff is high on. The Crimson Tide could add more talent here as they are still in hot pursuit of and battling in-state Kentucky for 6-foot-4, 370-pound U.S. Army All-American defensive tackle Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./Hardin) and trying to flip five-star defensive end Chad Thomas (Miami, Fla./Booker T. Washington) from the hometown Hurricanes. Both are expected to be signing day decisions.
Sleeper: Safety Chris Williams (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County) has good size at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds and had a big senior year at one of the Peach State’s top high school programs. As long as he develops once he arrives on campus, because of his size, physicality and athleticism and thanks to a big senior season, Alabama fans may soon hear his name often ahead of some of the other more highly-regarded prospects in this class (Williams has an 0.8879 247Sports Composite rating, which equates to three stars).
Top Remaining Target: Five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala.) is the No. 3 prospect at his position in the 2014 class and the No. 12 overall prospect according to 247Sports Composite rankings. Humphrey is the son of former Crimson Tide running back Bobby Humphrey and plays high school football and runs track for one of the top programs in suburban Birmingham. He made an official visit to Alabama this past weekend and by all accounts, the Tide is in the driver’s seat to land him. Florida State was poised to give Bama a run for its money, but Humphrey’s lead recruiter for the Noles, Jeremy Pruitt (an Alabama native and former Tide assistant) left Tallahassee to take the defensive coordinator job at Georgia earlier this month, hurting the Seminoles’ chances to be a big factor here.
Remaining Needs: Well, prior to today Alabama could have used a quarterback that is ready to step in and compete for the starting job next season. That’s no longer a need as Tim Watts from BamaOnline.com broke the news earlier today of former Florida State quarterback and Yellowhammer State native Jacob Coker committing to the Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-5 passer gave Jameis Winston a run for his money during the Seminoles’ quarterback battle in the preseason and he will be eligible to play immediately as soon as he graduates from FSU this semester. Otherwise, it’s cornerback, but as long as Humphrey does as expected, then those needs are definitely met as well.
Top Recruiter: Wide receivers coach Billy Napier is currently the No. 1 recruiter nationally and No. 1 in the SEC according to 247Sports recruiter rankings for the 2014 cycle. Napier has led Alabama’s charge into the northern part of Louisiana this recruiting cycle and is the primary recruiter-of-record for Robinson, Smith, four-star wide receiver Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish) and four-star safety Laurence “Hootie” Jones (Monroe, La./Neville). He also was the lead recruiter for Frazier. The former Furman quarterback has long been known as a stellar recruiter, going back to his early days as an assistant at Clemson under Tommy Bowden and then Dabo Swinney.
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