Big December ahead for Tide recruiting

Alabama is coming off of a heart breaking loss over the weekend, but a quick fix for Crimson Tide faithful may be on the way in adding to the No. 1 recruiting class on With one elite target announcing Monday and several others closing in, the month of December can be a very good one for Nick Saban and company off the field.

For the Alabama Crimson Tide, November couldn't have ended much worse. Auburn had made the play of the century to earn a most improbable Iron Bowl win over the top-ranked Tide.

However, December is sure to provide plenty of gifts for the future of Alabama football.

The month not only will provide the setting for major visitors to Tuscaloosa, but a handful of major decisions involving Alabama's top recruiting targets in the class of 2014 will be made.

Monday, December 2 kicks off with the commitment of four-star Monroe (La.) Neville safety Laurence Jones. "Hootie," as he's konwn locally, is set to go public with a decision between Alabama and in-state power LSU. The Crimson Tide has pledges from two Monroe-area standouts in Cameron Robinson and Cameron Sims and despite Jones and his mothers' recent trip to LSU for an official visit, both Scout and Alabama feel good about its chances of landing an elite target to kick off the week.

Alabama has made up considerable ground for McMillan.

Soon after, an offensive target will come off the board. Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) William Dwyer four-star wide receiver Johnnie Dixon, long believed to be considering a final three of Ohio State, Miami and Alabama, will also make his commitment. Dixon officially visited Alabama for the LSU game, and has an announcement scheduled for December 8. Like Jones, he is making his decision this month because he's an early enrollee candidate, set to begin his college career at his school of choice in January.

In that same conversation is yet another elite four-star Alabama has high hopes for. Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty County four-star Raekwon McMillan, the No. 5 middle linebacker prospect in America's senior class, is set to announce two weeks from Monday. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder has kept things close to the vest, but again Nick Saban's group feels that its work has been par to others' in the race for his commitment and signature. Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia and Auburn are also in the mix at this time.

Two more elite defensive backs are looking to enroll early, both having already visited Alabama officially down the stretch. Five-star Beaumont (Tex.) Ozen cornerback Tony Brown, rated as the top player at his position nationally, will enroll in January, so a commitment to one of his top schools could happen at any time. LSU is considered the slight favorite with his sister already running track for the Tigers, but Alabama, Texas A&M and others remain in the mix.

Several schools are also looking for a late push on Ole Miss commitment C.J. Hampton. The Meridian (Miss.) four-star safety has been a Rebel for nearly 18 months, but he's taken official visits to Alabama and Florida State of late. LSU and Auburn are also in talks with the top-10 talent at his position. He's spoken of a "final decision" on several occasions, making many wonder if he is set on enrolling at a school other than Mississippi come January. Jones' commitment to Alabama, should it happen, could dramatically increase 'Bama's chances on landing Hampton, who has become close to Jones. Saban pitched the two on playing together over the summer, and each has admitted a desire to do so.

As of late November, Alabama had also positioned itself to get official visits from two additional top targets in mid-December. With the new recruiting dead period taking effect December 16 and running into the new year, the weekend of December 13 will be a big one for visitation.

Four-star offensive tackle Brian Wallace and four-star cornerback Jalen Tabor have both locked in 48-hour visits with the defending champions for that weekend, as it could be the final pitch for each down the stretch. Wallace has Iowa, Arkansas, Nebraska and Missouri in the mix as well, while Tabor is looking at local school and current favorite Maryland and Florida in addition to Alabama.

Alabama fans won't have to wait until the 25th to receive some gifts on the recruiting trail.

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