The class of 2014 is already shaping up to be a very talented one in the south, and of course Alabama has already made an imprint in the area by handing out several offers to the best up-and-coming seniors. It has already led to one junior commitment in Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Northridge running back Bo Scarborough – and more pledges are likely on the way sooner than later.
With these juniors a handful of games away from becoming the top priority in recruiting it's not too early for us at BamaMag.com to take a look at the best of the best in next year's class. Let's break it down position-by-position, starting with the offense.
Offeree(s): E.J. Moss (6-4, 210)
Quick Take: Moss, who hails from Asheville (Ala.) has been on the Tide's radar for some time and UA leads for his services. The interesting note with him is that he has the versatility and athletic ability to play elsewhere at the SEC level. Even if quarterback is his eventual position, expect another one of the juniors – particularly Californian Brandon Dawkins – to be highly coveted the rest of the way. Dual-threat Pierre has early offers and in-state efficient QB Hodges has yet to throw an interception in 2012. Another two-QB class, especially with A.J. McCarron on the way out by the time this class fills out, is not out of the question.
Offeree(s): Leonard Fournette (6-2, 227), Sony Michel (5-11, 195), Racean Thomas (6-0, 197), Bo Scarborough *COMMIT* (6-2, 221), Jalen Hurd (6-3, 200), Dalvin Cook (5-11, 190) *Clemson commit*, Johnathan Vickers (5-11, 200)
Quick Take: If you thought the class of 2013 had drama at the running back position, then 2014 will blow you away. With one pledge already on board in Scarborough while Thomas, Hurd and Vickers have all maintained that Alabama is leading for their individual services – the staff may have to turn one of the three down unless it wants a four-back class. Even then, will it deny the top RB prospect in the entire class if he chooses ‘Bama down the road? Fournette holds that rank currently, and he places UA atop his list alongside home-state team LSU. Then there's Sony Michel, who may challenge Fournette for the top spot throughout next season. Each of the aforementioned prospects already has a verbal offer from the Tide, so the runners on the doorstep may have to wait a while before receiving that coveted extension.
Quick Take: The wideout position in 2014 is an interesting one. Unlike running back, there's isn't a group of elite prospects all clamoring to commit to Alabama for limited spots. The staff will have to work to try and pique the interest of the junior pass-catchers. Lane, Kitt and Dixon seem closer to favoring UA than the others offerees at this point. If the position group remains one without action, look for guys like Berrios and Malone to snag offers. Bingham, the in-state product from Foley (Ala.) High, has drawn early comparisons to former Tide great Julio Jones – who also went to Foley.
On the doorstep: Koda Martin
Quick Take: Alabama has a commitment from the top tight end in 2013 in O.J. Howard, and it's in good shape with 2014's top target in Luatua. His older brother, Isaac, is a freshman offensive lineman at UA this season. It appears as if it will be a two-team race for the Californian along with in-state favorite USC. Washington also has a home-town team that will be tough to beat in LSU, while Blazevich is wide open. It could open the door for a guy like Martin, but don't expect it to before either of the first three targets make a decision.
Quick Take: Robinson is the top offensive player in the country in 2014 at this point, and Alabama is right in the thick of the race for him along with LSU. Knox's longtime favorite is Texas, but he hasn't pulled the trigger just yet while Alabama and Ohio State make up ground on and off the field. Brown, the son of former NFL lineman Orlando Brown, is leaning SEC. Prince has dozens of offers, and it wouldn't surprise many if ‘Bama was next up for him. McDermott and Moss are also solid prospects in what looks like a deep class at the position.
On the doorstep: Corey Martinez
Quick Take: Stanley, Taylor and Clapp each has legitimate interest in Alabama, but each has stiff competition as well. Clapp may be the closest to focusing on a small amount of schools, with LSU and UA standing out. It looks like the SEC West rivals will battle it out for several prospects on the board in 2014, as they seemingly do every year. If one makes an early decision, Martinez could wind up with an offer. He is a bit unknown right now, but UA has him on radar enough to keep tabs on him. He's athletic and plays with tenacity in the tough football state of Florida.
Note: The fullback and center position are two that Alabama has yet to offer in the class of 2014, which is why each was left off of this report. Look for that to change the next time around.