Lovin' Louisiana

Alabama has had success in the Pelican State over the last few cycles, but will the 2014 recruiting class bring in unprecedented Louisiana signees? Not only is the group as talented as ever before, but it's deep as well. Get inside for the ins and outs of the trend and to see where the Tide stands with the state's elite.

It's no secret what Nick Saban accomplished at LSU, highlighted by a national title before trying the NFL and establishing the current dynasty at Alabama.

But he hasn't had as much success recruiting in those same areas since taking over at the SEC West rival.

While notables like Eddie Lacy and Landon Collins immediately come to mind when thinking about big-time talents fished out of LSU's backyard, Saban has only signed 10 recruits from Louisiana during his current tenure.

Seven cycles, 10 players.

Of course, as always in recruiting, things happen in waves. As the talent in the SEC expands with conference realignment and the Tide dips elsewhere, like into Texas, more than it used to - certain places see less attention.

Understandable.

In his best Louisiana haul, Saban brought in a trio of players. It was in 2009, when Lacy, Kenny Bell and Darrington Sentimore all inked Crimson (Sentimore ended up at Tennessee after one year at Alabama). The group was solid, and looked to establish an "in" on those fertile recruiting grounds.

But low and behold, the 2010 class didn't yield a single player from the state and Saban hasn't inked more than two in one class since.

But in the class of 2014, even with Texas' gates now open, Louisiana has the chance to be the state to produce more Alabama freshmen than any other besides the Yellowhammer State itself. Alabama has already offered a dozen juniors from the state, and most are already high on Alabama.

It all starts with the No. 1 player in America, New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette. He recently tripped to Alabama and remains sky-high on potentially signing with Saban though hometown LSU will be tough to beat out among others.

Cameron Robinson is another five-star, and the nation's top offensive lineman. The West Monroe (La.) star is also considering Alabama highly alongside LSU, and some say UA even has the inside track for his signature at the moment. A big reason why could be former teammate Cameron Sims, a four-star wideout from Ouachita Parish High in West Monroe. The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder maintains Alabama as his leader and he says he will likely make things official with the staff during this summer at camp.


Sims may be the link to Alabama landing Robinson.

Another elite player has a connection to Alabama from the Bayou, Gerald Willis. He's the younger brother of Landon Collins, who famously chose Alabama over LSU on national TV. Little brother is a five-star defensive lineman from New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr High, but he actually has the Tide chasing his top group of Florida, LSU and Texas A&M at the moment. Willis' teammate is Devante Noil, another offeree at the four-star level that is taking his time in recruiting.

Another powerhouse school in Louisiana is John Curtis Christian in River Ridge, La., and Alabama has offered both Kenny Young and Mattrel McGraw from the school. Young is a four-star with a huge offer list, not ready to be trimmed just yet, and McGraw all but has Alabama as his leader despite it being the only school recruiting him to play cornerback.

Along with Sims and McGraw, Covington (La.) defensive end and outside linebacker Garrald McDowell has Alabama on top. The four-star has added offers since seeing Tuscaloosa, where he earned his, but it hasn't shaken Bama's lead in his eyes. Another in which Alabama is sitting pretty for is Jermaine Roberts, the St. Augustine product who is close to top player Fournette. Each visited Alabama two weeks ago. Roberts, a cornerback, has UA in his top three with Texas and Texas A&M.

Staying in the secondary, Alabama has also been in on Laurence Jones for some time. The No. 4 safety in the country is also from the Monroe area (Neville High), and he's also been linked to Alabama despite holding one of the most impressive offer lists in the country.

Back up front, a trio of offensive linemen round out the offers Alabama has out currently to Louisiana prospects. Williams Clapp has one, but he chose LSU in an early commitment. Still undeclared are Garrett Brumfield and Bailey Granier. Brumfield was teammates with 2013 Alabama signee Tim Williams at University Lab in Baton Rouge, La., while Granier is one of the hottest prospects in the South over the last month. The Galliano (La.) offensive tackle has picked up seven offers over the last few weeks, but isn't in a hurry to make a commitment.

For those keeping track, that's 12 offers out to Louisiana prospects in the class of 2014 alone. Even if a fourth of them decide Alabama is the spot for them, it will equal Saban's biggest haul from the state he used to begin recruiting with while at LSU.

With even more offers likely to go out in the state over the next 10 months, it's safe to say that the 2014 cycle will be the biggest in Alabama history within the borders of the Bayou.


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