Alabama: Early offers

Many are focused on the class of 2012 and how it will finish. The University of Alabama coaching staff is also looking ahead to 2013. Several elite prospects have earned scholarship offers, and Alabama has landed one of the best in the country on the defensive side of the ball. Andrew Bone takes a look at who the Tide is targeting on defense.

Alabama has already picked up a commitment from one of the top overall prospects in the country. Rueben Foster, from LaGrange-Troup County, Ga., is a future five-star recruit and will likely rank as the top linebacker in the country. Foster, original from Leeds, Ala., grew up an Alabama fan. He held several scholarship offers, but he saw no reason to delay his decision.

Foster is likely the top linebacker in the country and possibly a top five overall recruit. He may even not rank as the top player in his own state. That title may go to Robert Nkemdiche, defensive lineman from Loganville-Grayson, Ga.

The 6-foot-4, 260-pound prospect is listed as a defensive tackle, but recruited as a defensive end and linebacker. Nkemdiche is the frontrunner for the No. 1 recruit in the country. He has scholarship offers from across the country. He recently named a top five consisting of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Miami. Alabama is considered the favorite.

Nkemdiche doesn't plan to make a decision anytime soon. He wants to take visits and enjoy the recruiting process.

Alabama is spending a lot of time in the Peach State. They have a commitment from Rueben Foster and likely the leader for Nkemdiche. Several other top recruits in the state who have earned early offers from the Tide.

Trey Johnson, outside linebacker from Lawrenceville-Central Gwinnett, in also a five-star candidate. He has plenty of scholarship offers, but recently trimmed his list. The favorites include Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Tennessee. Johnson plans to attend a few games in Tuscaloosa this fall.

Trey Matthews, safety from Newnan, Ga., was on the verge of committing to the Bulldogs. A recent trip to Tuscaloosa has pushed back any announcement with UGA and Alabama the top two schools. He has built a great relationship with Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart who is in charge of his recruitment. He still might make an early decision, but Alabama is giving him a lot to consider.

Issac Rochell, defensive end from McDonough-Eagle's Landing, Ga., will likely rank as a top 10 recruit in the Peach State. He reports early scholarship offers from Alabama, Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

Florida State is making a big splash in the state of Alabama with commitments from three National 100 recruits (Jameis Winston, Chris Casher, Justin Shanks) and four-star Alphonse Taylor.

The Tide coaching staff has offered one of the top linebackers in the country in James Hearns, from Tallahassee-Lincoln, Fla. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound prospect has several offers including Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame and South Florida. The Seminoles and Gators are major contenders. Alabama is also heavily in the mix.

Henry Poggi, defensive lineman from Baltimore-Gilman, Md., is an East Coast standout who has visited Tuscaloosa twice already. Alabama appears as an early leader for Poggi who could play on either side of the ball. Several schools have offered including Alabama, Auburn, Iowa, Michigan, N.C. State, Ohio State, Stanford, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Virginia.

Poggi's decision may become a little easier if the Tide can secure a commitment from teammate Cyrus Jones who is a member of the 2012 class. He favors Alabama and Auburn.

E.J. Levenberry, outside linebacker from Hyattsville-Dematha Catholic, Md., has an offer from the Tide. He comes from the same high school as Arie and Cyrus Kouandjio, but Alabama has ground to make up in the race for his commitment.

Levenberry currently favors Florida State, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Alabama and Florida were at the top of his list in the spring. There is still a lot of time remaining in the recruitment of the 6-foot-3, 225-pound prospect.

Alabama has offered Tony Conner, safety from Batesville-South Panola, Miss. Conner is the second player from South Panola in the 2013 class to land an offer from the Tide (Deon Mix). Connor has a great chance to rank as the top defensive player in the Magnolia State. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound prospect has offers from Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M. He has not named any favorites.

This is not a complete list of players who have been offered on the defensive side of the ball for Alabama in the class of 2013. These players have recently confirmed their scholarship offer.

Alabama: Early offers (offense)

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