What Alabama Must Do to Take Lead from Florida for Rising Prospect Trent Harris

Andrew Kulha@@AKonSportsSenior Analyst IIIMarch 5, 2013

Via 247Sports
Via 247Sports

Trent Harris is currently an unranked defensive end recruit, but that hasn't stopped some of the biggest programs in the nation from making him an offer.

Harris started the month of March off on an extremely high note, picking up offers from Florida and then Alabama the very next day. That's to go along with previous offers from the likes of Boston College, Florida State and Georgia, so it's obvious that Harris is picking up some steam on the recruiting trail.

His offer from Florida came during an unofficial visit, and for all intents and purposes, the defensive end recruit appears to be a Florida lean. That said, according to Corey Dowlar of ESPN.com, the offer from 'Bama definitely has Harris thinking:

Coming off his unofficial visit to Florida, the Gators seemed to have the inside track for Harris. This new Alabama offer has changed some things, of course, but it hasn't changed the Gators' position on top of his list. 

"UF is still on top," he said. "But this offer just made me think about my future a little more and what I need to do to get where I want to be." 

Dowlar also quoted Harris as saying that a decision could come soon, so this could end up being a very interesting race for the Gators and Crimson Tide.

Harris is from Winter Park, Florida, which is only about two hours away from Gainesville and the University of Florida, so it's worth noting that the Gators have quite a significant "home-state advantage" for his commitment.

That said, one would be remiss to count Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide out of any recruiting race, even one reportedly on the homestretch with 'Bama behind the leader.

Realistically, Alabama's pitch is short and simple: Come play for the Crimson Tide and win championships. You don't just compete for championships at Alabama, you win them. Saban has a proven track record of backing up that statement, and with the way he recruits, the Crimson Tide will always field a championship-caliber program.

Will Muschamp has the Gators trending in that direction, especially after a stellar 2013 recruiting cycle, but he cannot make that claim to a recruit just yet. Florida will be in position to compete in the SEC and even be a championship contender in the next few seasons, but the fact remains that Muschamp is still chasing that goal.

Saban has proven that he can achieve it and then some. 

With both programs having a ton to offer, especially defensively, that proven track record could be the one thing that separates Alabama from Florida in crunch time.

'Bama certainly has its work cut out in order to make up ground on Florida in what may be a short period, but Saban's prestige and draw on the recruiting trail is unmatched. 

It could come down to this question for Harris: Who would you rather play for, Saban or Muschamp?

I like coach Saban's odds in that head-to-head matchup on the recruiting trail, even though Muschamp is slowly but surely climbing that ladder. For now, though, the edge undoubtedly goes to the best coach in college football.

If Alabama can minimize Harris' recruitment to that one simple question, things could get real interesting for Florida in regards to its chances of landing Harris.