Making moves in Texas

Alabama has been one of the most dominant forces both on the field and in recruiting over the last handful of years, and it has caused the program to look for talent nationally. The South is still where the bulk of the Crimson Tide comes from, but the state of Texas is quickly becoming a supplement. We detail Alabama's recent and future doing in the Lone Star State inside.

Alabama football already has a half-dozen football offers out in the state of Texas for the class of 2014 cycle, which is 11 months away from inking letters of intent.

In the following cycle, 2015, Alabama has already landed a commitment from the Lone Star State in defensive back Deionte Thompson. He's just a sophomore, earning his offer last weekend before committing to Nick Saban.

This isn't coincidence and just dabbing into a new market, this is potentially setting a new precedent in one of college football's most fertile recruiting grounds.

Alabama has made a big jump in Texas this offseason, all created by Texas A&M entering the SEC and its own success, of course combined with the lull of University of Texas football at the present time.

Take A'Shawn Robinson for instance, the No. 1 defensive tackle in the class of 2013 that ultimately signed with Alabama after being committed to Texas for the better part of his high school career. He always thought highly of the Crimson Tide, but Mack Brown's lack of winning of late helped to tip the scale towards ‘Bama's favor. Saban also signed defensive back Maurice Smith out of Texas in the 2013 cycle. Even though it appeared to be a trend, it was somewhat the norm at Alabama, but the 2014 cycle has the chance to set a new Texas standard.

In the Saban era, which began in 2007, there have been a total of eight Texans to sign letters of intent for UA. 2013 had a pair, 2012 had solely Alec Morris, 2011 had none, 2010 had a pair, 2009 had zero, 2008 had one and Saban's initial class had two Texas representatives.

Seven years, eight signees.

Then there is the class of 2014. It yields another big haul in the state of Texas with the top corner in the nation in Tony Brown. Brown, along with Texans Samaje Perine, Koda Martin and Thompson, were all at Alabama's Junior Day last weekend. Brown had long been offered by the Tide, and called his trip "a great visit!!"

Perine, Martin and Thompson earned offers while on campus. Thompson, the lone sophomore of the group, committed before leaving.

Perine grew up in Alabama but he has played his high school ball in Texas. The three-star was nearly set on taking his talent to a familiar Big 12 school for Texans, Oklahoma, before he learned of his Alabama offer.

"It's close between 'Bama and OU," he admitted. "It's because they (Alabama) offered and Coach (Saban) was talking to me about how they only have a few standouts on campus."


Perine's family "loved" it when 'Bama offered.

As for Martin, who is also closer to a decision than many juniors in his situation, it vaulted Alabama right into his top five.

"Alabama is definitely in my top few schools," he said after returning to Manvel, Texas. "Alabama, A&M, OU, LSU and Baylor are my top five."

Then there's Jovan Pruitt, who was invited to both Alabama and Texas' Junior Day. He couldn't make either, but wished he had been in the South after Alabama extended him an offer on Saturday, as they planned to in person if he would have shown up on campus. ‘Bama cracked another top five, though the offensive tackle isn't trying to make a decision any time soon.

But his reasoning, another sign of the rise of UA and slide of UT, was simple.

"Their head coach (Nick Saban)," he said as to why. "And they get the job done down there. They've won three of the last four BCS (championship) games.

"I'll give a top five of 'Bama, Notre Dame, UT, OU and Baylor."

Pruitt has an offer from both schools and will look to visit Alabama in the spring or early summer.

The Crimson Tide is making big moves in Texas, but it doesn't end with the Junior Day. Dallas (Tex.) Bishop Dunne standout Nick Watkins, an early four-star cornerback, is also high on the Tide. The early win for Texas, actually, was Demetrius Knox, who committed to Texas over Alabama and others in November. Since then, Alabama has claimed another national title and third in four years.

You may have heard.

Prospects sure have, and it has led to plenty of very interested Texas in 2014 that have yet to earn an offer. This includes four-star defensive back Jamal Adams, who is on the verge of an offer, quarterbacks Bear Fenimore and Foster Sawyer, centers Connor Mayes, Michael Leagan and Jacob Bragg, outside linebacker Justin Phillips and safety John Bonney to name a few.

So while the numbers and commits don't stack up to the recent high of two from Texas in the past, the likely double-digit offerees could yield Alabama's biggest pull in the state in the legendary coach's tenure.

Stay tuned.


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