Biggest Recruiting Win: Cameron Robinson
Taking any elite out of the state of Louisiana is a big deal for Alabama, but especially a potential franchise left tackle that challenged for the top spot in America regardless of class. It was one of what became several classic Alabama-LSU recruiting battles over the last few cycles, and probably Nick Saban's biggest victory against his former program. It also helped the Crimson Tide land Louisiana natives Cameron Sims, Laurence Jones and Ronnie Clark in the same cycle. It also fills arguably the most glaring need for Alabama's 2014 roster, as Robinson is expected to play and probably start sooner than later.
Highest Potential: Tony Brown
Another prospect Saban kept away from LSU in this cycle, Brown is already considered the No. 4 prospect in the entire class. But the scary thing here is that he played mostly safety in high school, and he'll play cornerback at the next level. Brown has a unique ability to break on the football and explode, despite not having the amount of reps at the position that Marlon Humphrey already does. Once the five-star settles in Tuscaloosa, at one position, it could be time well spent for the program going forward.
Instant Impact: Dominick Jackson
The top junior college player in America is expected to compete right away for playing time. The big tackle prospect has already put together a plan with Tide offensive line coach Mario Cristobal on what he needs to do, and he's already begun. Jackson admits that he'll be behind mentally, but physically he feels that he can possibly play right tackle from the moment he steps on campus. If he can improve his pass blocking to go along with his plowing run-blocking technique, we agree with him.
Honorable Mention: Rashaan Evans, who could lead the team in sacks as a freshman.
Mr. Versatile: Bo Scarbrough
Bo knows he is an offensive weapon, as does Saban, who talked about the five-star being used all over the field despite coming in and being listed as a running back (he was listed as an ATH on the signing day handout by the sports information department). At 6-foot-2, 235 pounds, Scarbrough can run over, through, around or by most defenders he lines up against. He has a devastating stiff-arm in between the tackles to go along with his frame, and he's polished up his pass-catching skills over the last year to the point that he looked like he'd been playing the position his entire career among the nation's best at the Under Armour practices.
Scarbrough earned his fifth star late in the process.
Honorable Mention: Ronnie Clark, who probably played more positions than any other signee.
Sleeper: Keith Holcombe
One of two legacies in the class (Humphrey), this four-star outside linebacker rose from a top-30 prospect in the state of Alabama to a clear top 10 standout during his senior season. He tracks the ball well in space, can run with middle-tier wide receivers, makes big hits when he gets to the point of attack and may be the best pass rusher in the entire class not named Rashaan Evans or Christian Miller. If he can add some good weight to his long frame, this class may one day be looked at as the best pass-rushing class of all time.
Honorable Mention: Johnny Dwight, who may end up being the best interior defensive linemen in the class with added strength.
Class Project: Christian Miller
And he knows it. The Scout100 prospect actually wants to redshirt because he knows he needs to add weight and strength to his 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame. Miller is a terror off the edge , with an incredible first-step, long strides, polished moves and even some counter moves. There's a reason why he broke the 20-sack barrier as a senior despite playing with a back injury that resulted in post-season surgery.
Honorable Mention: Derek Kief, who also knows he needs to add weight to his 6-foot-5, 195-pound frame. If he also adds some explosion, he could become the ideal red zone wide receiver target.
Best Interview: Joshua Casher
This one wasn't close. If you give the No. 4 center in the country a microphone, you better check the batteries on that bad boy, because he may take the interview the distance. Case in point, when we sat down with him shortly after his commitment to Alabama this fall, and our planned three-minute piece developed into nearly 12 minutes of Casher classics. The three-star actually didn't have a working phone for some time this fall, which may have been a blessing in disguise for those of us working on deadline.
Honorable Mention:A four-way tie between very thorough and articulate speakers David Cornwell, Rashaan Evans, Da'Shawn Hand and Christian Miller.
Windiest Road to Alabama: D.J. Pettway
This one was easy to pick out, too, as the four-star signed with Alabama for the second time in three years in December. He was a freshman contributor on the 2012 national title team before being dismissed from the team about a year ago after the arrest of four players. Pettway is the only one back, which he reiterated how thankful he was for the fact on Wednesday, as he adjusts to Tuscaloosa once more. He did pick up a JUCO national title in the meantime, along with fellow defensive line signee Jarran Reed at East Mississippi Community College.
Honorable Mention: Ty Smith, who was also in the SEC two seasons ago before an off-the-field occurance.
Top Recruiter: David Cornwell
Perhaps as fitting as can be, the four-star quarterback was the headliner on the recruiting trail as well. From the moment he committed, he'd collaborate with Saban's staff on who to target, speak to and even when to visit campus in order to gain another edge on the trail. It worked, as the arm helped put together arguably the best class in recruiting history.
Honorable Mention: Bo Scarbrough, who took credit on Wednesday for helping ‘Bama land Evans, Clark, Hand, Humphrey, Brown, Casher and Shaun Hamilton.
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