The 3 Recruits Who Will Make or Break Alabama's National Signing Day

Sanjay Kirpalani@@SanjayKirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystJanuary 19, 2014

The 3 Recruits Who Will Make or Break Alabama's National Signing Day

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    Can Nick Saban and Alabama finish their 2014 class by adding a few big names on national signing day?
    Can Nick Saban and Alabama finish their 2014 class by adding a few big names on national signing day?Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    National signing day has been filled with celebration for Alabama fans in recent years, and 2014 is shaping up to bring another banner class to Tuscaloosa, thanks to the efforts of Nick Saban and his staff.

    The Crimson Tide’s class sits with 24 current commitments, and they are hoping to close the deal on a handful of elite prospects who have the Tide in their final group of choices.

    Which prospects will make or break the Tide’s class on Feb. 5? Read on to find out.

3. Matt Elam

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    Despite having six defensive linemen committed in its 2014 class, Alabama is still hot on the trail of 5-star defensive tackle Matt Elam

    The Tide are locked in a tug-of-war with Kentucky, who will desperately try to keep one of its most talented homegrown stars in state.

    Elam took his official visit to Tuscaloosa last weekend, and he will be making his choice on national signing day.

    Landing the 6’5”, 372-pound Elam would add a critical piece to the Tide’s reloading efforts along the defensive line.

2. Marlon Humphrey

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    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    The season-ending losses to Auburn and Oklahoma exposed an Alabama secondary that endured its share of growing pains in 2013. With the graduation of top corner Deion Belue, the situation at cornerback is one of Saban’s chief concerns entering spring ball.

    Alabama took a huge step forward in filling the hole at corner by luring 5-star Tony Brown, who is an early enrollee. However, the biggest fish remaining on the board is Hoover (Ala). High School 5-star corner Marlon Humphrey.

    Florida State has been among the suitors who are threatening to pluck the son of former Tide All-American running back Bobby Humphrey. However, with defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt leaving Tallahassee for the same post at Georgia, FSU suffered a blow in its standing with Humphrey, which, in turn, strengthened the Tide’s position at the top of his list.

1. The Surprise Recruit

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Saban and his staff have had a knack for adding a surprise late addition to their recruiting classes in recent years.

    In 2012, the Tide picked up last-minute additions such as defensive linemen Korren Kirven and Dalvin Tomlinson. Last season, 5-star defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson was the most notable late pickup. 

    This year, they are targeting a handful of players who are either committed to other schools or strong leans elsewhere. 

    Can Saban and his staff pull off a shocker by flipping players such as Auburn 5-star running back commit Racean Thomas, LSU 5-star running back commit Leonard Fournette, Miami 5-star defensive end Chad Thomas or South Carolina 4-star linebacker pledge Bryson Allen-Williams?

    Or maybe the surprise will come in the form of landing a player such as 5-star linebacker Rashaan Evans or 5-star receiver Malachi Dupre.

    Whether Alabama is able to pull off another shocker remains to be seen. However, based on recent history, the bigger upset would occur if the Tide didn’t have at least one surprise addition to their 2014 class.