Between Ronnie Clark's two finalists, the Auburn Tigers need the 4-star outside linebacker much more than Alabama.
While going up against the Crimson Tide on the recruiting trail is no easy task, the good news for Auburn is that Gus Malzahn and his program have a 50-50 chance of landing the 4-star outside linebacker from Calera, Ala.
Chad Simmons of Scout.com reports that the race for Clark's commitment will come down to the two in-state powers. Clark talked about each school, per Simmons:
Alabama is a winning program and you know if you go there right now, you have a chance to win every game. They are doing everything right at this time and you just can't say anything bad about Alabama. They know how to develop players, get guys into the NFL, and you learn from the best there.
At Auburn, it is similar to Alabama in some ways and in some ways it is different. I really like the atmosphere the coaches have set up over there. It is like a family there, many of the coaches are Christian men, and I like that a lot. I like the coaches and I know they are good guys, so I am eager to see them coach this year on the field.
When we're discussing which school needs Clark more, it's best to look at each program's current situation.
Alabama has won three of the past four national championships and appears to be the favorite to win another one this season. Nick Saban and his staff have had another dominant year on the recruiting trail so far, and that's especially true at the outside linebacker position.
'Bama has already landed two big-time outside linebacker commitments this cycle, represented by 4-star Christian Miller (a former Florida commitment) and 4-star (247Sports) Keith Holcombe, who recently flipped from Mississippi State.
Alabama is good at outside linebacker. Even if the Crimson Tide were to recruit Clark as a safety, the argument could be made that 5-star Laurence Jones is the most "needed" recruit for them at that position.
Then again, does Alabama truly have many needs to begin with?
Auburn, on the other-hand, is trying to rebuild and start the Gus Malzahn era off on the right foot. Malzahn and the Tigers impressed by closing out the 2013 recruiting cycle in a big way, but there's no doubting that they could really use a commitment of Clark's caliber.
Clark could really benefit from playing on the same unit as current freshmen Montravius Adams, Carl Lawson and Elijah Daniel. He could play outside linebacker or the hybrid safety in the 4-2-5 defense, and he would have the opportunity to make a ton of plays.
Sure, the immediate national championship aspirations won't be there, but he could be a huge part of an epic turnaround for Auburn.
Either way, Auburn needs this commitment the most.