Alabama Football Recruiting: Updates on 2014 Commits and Targets
One of Nick Saban's many strengths as a college football coach is his ability to bring in and develop talent better than anyone else.
Saban has signed the No. 1 recruiting class the last three years and is on track to make it a fourth straight, according to 247Sports.
With 24 commitments already, the class is just about wrapped up, but like always there will be a few moving parts and things to sort out before the Feb. 5 national signing day.
Stay tuned here from now until then for all of the latest news about Alabama's 2014 signing class. We'll be updating this with commitments, decommitments and all the latest Alabama recruiting news over the next few weeks.
All recruiting information comes via 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
Update: February 4
3-star safety Chris Williams has flipped his commitment to UCF to be closer to home.
Update: February 3
3-star JUCO tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith has commited to Alabama, according to Trevor Hewitt of BamaOnline.com.
Update: February 3
3-star safety Markell Boston received an offer from Auburn and committed to the Tigers, according to Kipp Adams of Auburn Undercover.
Update: Jan 30
5-star defensive tackle Matt Elam picks Kentucky.
Update: Jan 29
5-star corner back Marlon Humphrey tweets that he is committing to Alabama. The Tide now has commits from the top two cornerbacks in the country, according to 247Sports.
Update: Jan 27
The Tide saw yet another very impressive group of prospects come in for official visits this weekend, headlined by 5-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
Alabama also began to look at 3-star athlete Markell Boston, currently committed to East Carolina, and 3-star defensive tackle Elisha Shaw.
5-star defensive tackle Matt Elam announced via twitter that he will choose between Alabama and Kentucky on Thursday.
Update: Jan 21
Alabama has wrapped up a weekend of official visits that included top uncommitted prospects like defensive tackle Matt Elam, wide receiver Malachi Dupre and linebacker Rashaan Evans. 247Sports has a full list of the official visits here.
The Tide is set to host another impressive group next week, including cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
Update: Jan. 2, 6:45 p.m.
The in-game commitments at the Under Armour game are finished and Alabama came away with one, five-star cornerback Tony Brown, from Beaumont, Texas. Four-star corner Jalen Tabor chose Arizona over the Crimson Tide, while five-star running back Leonard Fournette expectedly chose to stay in-state with LSU.
During the current dead period, Alabama has shifted its focus on preparations for Oklahoma and the upcoming Sugar Bowl.
However, the Tide could get get some good news on the recruiting trail that day too.
A number of uncommitted prospects will be playing in the Under Armour All-American Game, which takes place on Jan. 2 at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN, and will be making decisions on national television.
This page will be updated with the latest news as prospects make decisions.
247Sports' Charles Power has put together a page that lists the decision dates of Alabama's top targets.
David Cornwell, 4-star pro-style QB; Norman, Okla. (Norman North); 6'5", 241 lbs.
2012 stats: 191-of-338, 2,742 yards, 27 TDs, 8 INTs, 128 rushes, 755 yards, 6 rushing TDs (2013 season cut short due to injury).
Analysis: Alabama's quarterback class begins and ends with Cornwell, one of the highest-rated passers Saban has recruited during his time at Alabama.
While Cornwell will certainly have a chance to compete for Alabama's wide-open quarterback battle this spring and fall, his biggest obstacle will be the knee injury he sustained this season. According to al.com's Matt Scalici, Cornwell injured his knee punting five games into the year.
It's highly unlikely that Saban would start a true freshman at quarterback, but whatever happens in the coming quarterback battle, Alabama will have an extremely promising quarterback prospect on the roster.
Leonard Fournette, 5-star; New Orleans, La. (St. Augustine); 6'1", 226 lbs.
2013 stats: 1,792 rushing yards, 16 TDs
Biggest competition: LSU
Update: Jan 2. 6:45 p.m. Fournette chooses LSU.
Bo Scarbrough, 5-star athlete; Bradenton, Fla. (IMG Academy); 6'2", 225 lbs.
2013 stats not available
Analysis: With Scarbrough committed, Alabama isn't exactly scrambling to find any more running backs. Its top two backs—T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake—are both rising juniors. And with four top prospects behind them as freshmen, the Tide aren't hurting at that position and can afford to be picky.
With him being such a top talent (one major college coach told NOLA.com's Jeff Duncan that Fournette would be the best running back on the Saints right now), Fournette appears to be the only running back left Alabama would take right now.
Scarbrough grew up in Tuscaloosa and transferred to IMG for the current season and is expected to come to Alabama as a running back, though, he could later switch positions.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Travis Rudolph, 4-star wide receiver; West Palm Beach, Fla. (Cardinal Newman); 6'1", 185 lbs.
2013 stats: 63 receptions, 1,237 yards, 15 TDs
Biggest competition: Florida State, Florida
Update Jan. 21: Rudolph has committed to Florida State, but Alabama has another top wide receiver in its sights that could pick the Tide on signing day:
Malichi Dupre, 5-star wide receiver; New Orleans, La. (John Curtis); 6'2.5", 187 lbs.
Dupre was mostly thought to be an LSU lock, but has give Alabama more than just a passing glance as of late. He made an official visit to Tuscaloosa this weekend and tweeted "Im goin down a road less traveled" while on campus."
Dupre is one to keep an eye on down the stretch.
Update February 3: Alabama has received a commitment from 3-star tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith.
Cameron Sims, 4-star wide receiver; Monroe, La. (Ouachita Parish); 6'4", 199 lbs.
2013 stats not available
Derek Kief, 4-star wide receiver; Cincinnati, Ohio (LaSalle); 6'5", 197 lbs.
2013 stats: 46 catches, 587 yards, 7 TDs
Ty Flournoy-Smith, 3-star JUCO tight end; Moultire, Ga. (Georgia Military College); 6'3" 230 lbs.
Analysis: With two commitments for the 2014 class already, there isn't a significant need to land yet another top prospect. Rudolph's commitment would certainly be welcomed, but it isn't necessary.
Like running back, Alabama is loaded at wide receiver. Alabama only loses Kevin Norwood and Kenny Bell from a stacked group, with playmakers like Amari Cooper, Christion Jones and DeAndrew White all returning. Chris Black, Robert Foster, Raheem Falkins and ArDarius Stewart are all waiting in the wings as well.
At tight end, Alabama returns veteran Brian Vogler, and game-changing O.J. Howard will look to improve on a solid freshman season. Brandon Greene also made the switch from offensive line to tight end during fall camp.
Brian Wallace, 4-star offensive tackle; Saint Louis, Mo. (Christian Brothers College); 6'6", 305 lbs.
Biggest competition: Iowa
Update Jan. 21: Wallace has committed to Arkansas.
Cameron Robinson, 5-star offensive tackle; West Monroe, La. (West Monroe); 6'7", 335 lbs.
Ross Pierschbacher, 4-star offensive tackle; Cedar Falls, Iowa (Cedar Falls); 6'4", 290 lbs.
JC Hassenauer, 4-star center; Saint Paul, Minn. (East Ridge); 6'2.5", 292 lbs.
Dominick Jackson (JUCO), 4-star offensive tackel; San Mateo, Calif. (College of San Mateo); 6'7", 304 lbs.
Joshua Casher, 4-star center; Mobile, Ala. (St. Paul's Episcopal); 6'1", 297 lbs.
Montel McBride, 3-star guard; Plant City, Fla. (Plant City); 6'4", 329 lbs.
Analysis: Just looking at the list of commitments, it isn't hard to figure out that offensive line was a major point of emphasis for this class. After losing three starters to the NFL last year and potentially two more after this year, it was time to re-stock the cupboard with blue-chip talent.
Under Saban, offensive lineman typically redshirt their first season, but some (like Cyrus Kouandjio and Grant Hill, recently) are talented enough to come in and contribute right away. Robinson could start next season, filling Kouandjio's place at left tackle. Robinson is listed as the top offensive lineman and third-best overall prospect by 247Sports Composite.
Wallace would be the icing on what is already a very large and talented cake.
Matt Elam, 5-star defensive tackle; Elizabethtown, Ky. (John Hardin); 6'6", 350 lbs.
Biggest competition: Kentucky, Notre Dame
Update Jan 30: Elam chooses Kentucky.
Lorenzo Carter, 5-star defensive end; Norcross, Ga. (Norcross); 6'5", 232 lbs.
Biggest competition: Georgia, Florida, LSU
Elisha Shaw, 3-star defensive tackle; Tucker, Ga. (Tucker); 6'4.5", 295 lbs.
Biggest competition: Georgia, Ole Miss
Jarran Reed (JUCO), 4-star defensive tackle; Chatham, Va. (Goldsboro); 6'4", 310 lbs.
D.J. Pettway (JUCO), 4-star defensive end; Scooba, Miss. (East Mississippi Community College); 6'3", 250 lbs.
Da'Shawn Hand, 5-star defensive end; Woodbridge, Va. (Woodbridge); 6'4", 254 lbs.
Josh Frazier, 4-star defensive tackle; Springdale, Ark. (Har-Ber); 6'3", 335 lbs.
O.J. Smith, 3-star defensive tackle; Bossier City, La. (Airline); 6'2", 320 lbs.
Johnny Dwight; 4-star defensive tackle; Rochelle, Ga. (Wilcox County); 6'5", 232 lbs.
Analysis: Matt Elam will be a name to watch down the stretch for the Tide. He is a true nose tackle, and his size would give him an opportunity to play right away.
Alabama knows games are won in the trenches, which is why both lines were shored up in this class. Da'Shawn Hand was a big get away from Michigan and could play outside linebacker in Saban's base 3-4 defense.
D.J. Pettway will get another chance to play for Alabama after he was dismissed from the team following February's robberies on campus.
Rashaan Evans, 5-star outside linebacker; Auburn, Ala. (Auburn); 6'3", 220 lbs.
Biggest competition: Auburn
Christian Miller, 5-star outside linebacker; Columbia, S.C. (Spring Valley); 6'4", 222 lbs.
Ronnie Clark, 4-star outside linebacker; Calera, Ala. (Calera); 6'2", 215 lbs.
Shaun Dion Hamilton, 4-star inside linebacker; Houston, Texas (North Shore); 6'0", 240 lbs.
Keith Holcombe, 3-star linebacker; Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Hillcrest); 6'4", 210 lbs.
Analysis: Evans will decide between Alabama and his home-town Auburn Tigers, with many believing Auburn has the edge. But whether or not he chooses the Tide, Alabama already has a very strong class of linebackers to join an impressive group.
With C.J. Mosley playing his last game in the Sugar Bowl, there will be a big hole to fill on the defense inside. And after next season, all four starting linebacker spots from this year could be open.
Update: Jan 29. Humphrey commits to Alabama.
Jalen Tabor, 4-star cornerback; Washington, DC (Friendship Academy); 6'1", 182 lbs.
Biggest competition: Arizona, Maryland
Update: Jan. 2 6:45 p.m. Tabor chooses Arizona.
Update: Jan. 2 6:45 p.m. Tony Brown chooses Alabama.
Markell Boston, 3-star athlete/safety; Newnan, Ga. (East Coweta); 6'1.5", 200 lbs.
Update: February 3. Boston commits to Auburn.
Update February 4: 3-star safety Chris Williams has de-committed from Alabama and flipped to UCF.
Tony Brown, 5-star cornerback; Beaumont, Texas (Ozen); 6'0", 188 lbs.
Laurence "Hootie" Jones, 4-star safety; Monroe, La. (Neville); 6'2", 220 lbs.
Marlon Humphrey, 5-star cornerback; Birmingham, Ala. (Hoover); 6'1", 175 lbs.
Analysis: Defensive back is the position that stands the most to lose in the coming weeks.
After missing out on C.J. Hampton and Hootie Jones opening his recruitment back up, the Tide could be left empty-handed for a top safety prospect this year. So they need to hit, at the very least, two of their three remaining defensive back targets to feel good about the secondary.
Alabama couldn't get consistent play from its No. 2 cornerback this year, and with Deion Belue graduating, cornerback will be a major position of concern heading into spring practice. The anticipated departure of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will also leave Alabama very thin at the safety position.
JK Scott, 3-star punter/kicker; Denver, Colo. (J.K. Mullen); 6'4", 185 lbs.
Analysis: JK Scott will have big shoes to fill in potentially replacing four-year starting punter Cody Mandell. Scott handled both kicking and punting duties in high school and should take over for the rock-solid Mandell.
Freshman kicker Adam Griffith is expected to take over full-time place kicking duties in 2014.