Falkins Drawn By Chance To Be Best

On signing day, Alabama had successfully recruited every player that had previously committed to the Crimson Tide. That doesn't mean the Crimson Tide got every player it wanted. For various reasons, including the difficulty of competition, some prospects went looking elsewhere.

It is well known that a handful of rival schools recruit against Alabama with what is purported to be a Crimson Tide depth chart. In the past, those depth charts might have been rigged a bit. These days, though, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the faint of heart shy away from the competition of a true Bama depth chart (if Coach Nick Saban actually had such an item).

In this year's recruiting class, running backs came in to challenge one another and existing tailbacks. Ditto for quarterbacks, and for other positions.

One position where Alabama is stacked is wide receiver. As many as nine top-flight split ends, flankers, and slotbacks return from the 2012 national championship Crimson Tide team.

That didn't deter Raheem Falkins, though. Falkins, a 6-4, 195-pound wide receiver from G.W. Carver High in New Orleans, not only signed with Bama, he enrolled in The University in January in order to begin competing this spring.

Falkins, a three-star wide receiver, caught 47 passes for 1,058 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. He averaged 22.5 yards per reception. Falkins was all-state as a senior. As a junior he had 51 receptions for 800 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Falkins, who was coached by Bryon Addison, chose the Crimson Tide over LSU, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, USC, Illinois, and Ole Miss.

Falkins said that being an early enrollee "is excellent. You get a chance to come in and work hard. You get to come in and compete early and see what you can do for spring ball. I'm very excited."

When Falkins looks around the Alabama workout facilities he is likely to see men like Kevin Norwood, Christion Jones, and Amari Cooper, the starters in the national championship win over Notre Dame. He may remember the heroics of Norwood and Jones in the national championship win over LSU in Falkins' hometown the previous season.

He can also see long ball threat Kenny Bell, who is making recovery from a late-season broken leg; former starter DeAndrew White, also recovering from injury; and Chris Black, the highly-regarded freshman who was injured before the start of last season but who was ready to play if necessary in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game win over Georgia and/or the BCS title game against Notre Dame. He might also glimpse sure-handed Marvin Shinn, who was beginning to make a move up in the playing rotation at the end of the season. Or Cyrus Jones or Danny Woodson, Jr.

Daunting, yes?

"That's great," said Falkins. "Everyone is a competitor and everyone comes in and does his best. If you want to be the best you have to play with the best, be with the best, practice with the best, get the best work."

Falkins said he had gotten one tip from Amari Cooper. "Just come in and work hard and compete," Falkins reported.

Falkins said he watched Cooper as a freshman last season. "I applaud him," Falkins said. "He came in and did a fantastic job. We've had a lot of conversations and I look forward to working out with him."

Falkins said his receiving style is "a big style receiver; go up and get the ball; highest point type of guy."

Which begs the question as to whether he followed former Alabama star wide receiver Julio Jones.

"I paid attention a lot," Falkins said. "He set records and he tried to contribute. He kept going and going. I just hope I could be half of the player he was."

There is some intense feeling regarding Alabama football in the state of Louisiana, but Falkins said it wasn't difficult to leave. "You're going to make your choice of school, and this is the choice I made."

He added that he had some help in coming to his decision. He was impressed with "the hard work they put in on and off the field. Coach Saban makes sure you're as good a person off the field as you are on the field. He treats you like a man."

Saban also recruits well.

"He's a great worker," Falkins said. "He's going to do what he's going to do to get the best. He wants the kid that he wants. He puts his eye on you and he's going to try to grab you. And he grabbed me."

Saban grabbed 24 others, and now Falkins is part of one of the finest signing classes in Alabama football history. "But," he said, "we don't have time to worry about all that. Once you're here, you're here. High school is out the door now."

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