Super 15 have Saban's Tide near the top again in recruiting rankings
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Jul 03, 2013 | 3766 views |  0 comments | 60 60 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama head coach Nick Saban has a recruiting class that is ranked at least No. 2 in the country by four different major recruiting services. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Alabama head coach Nick Saban has a recruiting class that is ranked at least No. 2 in the country by four different major recruiting services. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
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No matter which of the four major recruiting sites one chooses to check, Alabama currently has a top two class for 2014.

According to 247Sports, the Crimson Tide have the No. 1 recruiting class with 15 commitments -- one five-star, nine four-stars and five three-stars. The Tide has public commitments from players throughout 10 states. ESPN.com, Rivals and Scout each have Alabama's class ranked No. 2. Michigan (ESPN), Texas A&M (Scout) and Texas (Rivals) each have one No. 1 ranking.

If Alabama finishes with the No. 1 recruiting ranking, it will mark the sixth time in seven years at least one of the major services has tabbed the Tide's class as the best in the country.

“Really impressed with the reach they’ve had, getting guys out of California and other places out-of-state,” said JC Shurburtt, national recruiting director for 247Sports. “They’ve made some good calls in-state as well. The main storyline of this class will come down to how much of a factor they are with some of these elite Louisiana guys.”

Shurburtt mentioned St. Augustine (New Orleans) High five-star prospect Leonard Fournette, the top running back in the class, and West Monroe (La.) High five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, the top lineman in the class, as two players who could help secure the No. 1 spot for the Tide.

Shurburtt also added Woodbridge (Va.) High defensive end Da’Shawn Hand, 247Sports top-rated prospect, as a player that would bolster the Tide’s class. Shurburtt noted that LSU is the Tide’s biggest competitor for the Louisiana prospects, while Michigan is a team the Tide will have to hold off in order to land Hand.

“The chances of getting Robinson are pretty good. The consensus is that he likes Alabama and is leaning that way at this point.,” Shurburtt said. “Anytime you go in that state and try to beat LSU on a kid, it can get precarious. At the end of the day, LSU is the school in the state, and they sign 90 percent of the top guys out of that state. If you’re Alabama, you hope Cameron Robinson is one of the 10 percent, kind of like Landon Collins.”

Arguably, the Tide’s biggest commitment of the summer has been Norman (Okla.) North High quarterback David Cornwell. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Cornwell is the top-rated pocket passer in the class.

“I hate player comparisons, but Cornwell reminds me an awful lot of (Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback) Ben Roethlisberger,” Shurburtt said. “Big guy, but can also move his feet like Roethlisberger can. The other guys they signed last year, I don’t think any of them have the upside Cornwell has at all. So if you’re David, you’re looking at going into a pretty good spot competitively.”

In the past week, the Tide received commitments from two offensive lineman, junior college tackle Dominick Jackson and Plant City (Fla.) High three-star Montel McBride, who committed Tuesday at The Opening -- a 7-on-7 competition camp for top recruits in Beaverton, Ore.

Jackson, 6-6, 310 pounds, changed his commitment to the Tide after previously being committed to UCLA since June 5. The offensive tackle from the College of San Mateo (Calif.) is considered one of the best overall players at the junior college level.

“Getting Jackson was a great flip for them. They’re not afraid to take the top junior college player,” Shurburtt said. “They’re about taking the best player possible and filling needs. Too many teams miss out on great players they could have because they have, I guess, this prejudice against junior college players.”

In addition, 247Sports lists McBride as a defensive lineman, but Shurburtt said he’ll be switched to offense after a solid performance at The Opening.

“On the interior of the offensive line, he’s got plus athleticism,” Shurburtt said. “Kind of a developmental guy and doesn’t project to be a four-star guy, but there are three-star players all of the NFL, including (former Tide standout) Chance Warmack.”

There has been talk of five-star athlete Bo Scarborough, the first commitment and highest rated player of the Tide’s class, switching positions. Scarborough, who recently transferred from Tuscaloosa's Northridge High to Tuscaloosa County, plays running back, but is being recruited as an athlete. Scouts project him as a running back, wide receiver and/or linebacker.

“Talk of him playing wide receiver is a little bit far-fetched,” Shurburtt said. “Linebacker is a different story. That would be something, physically, he could reach his highest upside playing. I’ve never gotten off him being a running back. He may just be a bigger running back. If I had to pick one of the three, the least likely would be receiver with the most likely being running back. But I don’t vehemently disagree with those that say linebacker."
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