Where They Stand: LSU vs. Alabama

With all the elite prospects high on both LSU and Alabama, the recruiting battles between these two powerhouses could be more intense than their match ups on the field. In this week's "Where They Stand" column, TSD's Hunter Paniagua breaks down those battles and which school has the upper-hand for now.

LSU offered a relatively unknown prospect from a small town about six weeks ago. Few people knew who that recruit was, so I called his coach to get a feel for what type of player he was, and how much interest LSU had shown before they offered.

The coach told me that the Tigers really hadn't shown much interest, that the offer was actually a big surprise. But he did tell me that one other school had started to show interest in the couple weeks prior to LSU's offer.

That school was Alabama. And it's not uncommon for LSU to keep a close eye on what the Tide are doing — and vice versa — then make a move in order to get a jumpstart on their SEC rivals. That's how the recruiting war has developed between these two national powerhouses, and 2014 will be no exception.

The stage is set for LSU and Alabama to butt heads numerous times on the recruiting trail as the two battle for some of the top prospects in the country. In this week's "Where They Stand" column, I'll break down some of the major recruiting storylines involving LSU/Alabama battles, and which program has the upper-hand for some of these highly-desired prospects.


For years, it's been an Alabama/LSU battle for the nation's top RB. Leonard Fournette long ago narrowed his list of offers down to just two, and it's been Tigers vs. Tide ever since. Most anyone would predict that Fournette winds up at LSU, but that obviously hasn't stopped Alabama from applying the pressure. Though LSU will certainly work to lock him up early, this is a recruitment that will likely go into January or February, and Tiger fans won't rest easy until he signs a NLI.

Though Fournette is LSU's clear No. 1 priority at RB, the No. 2 option has also started to receive Alabama interest. Darrel Williams received a visit from Alabama's Burton Burns on Tuesday, and he made sure to let Williams know he's on the Tide's radar. Williams plans to camp in Tuscaloosa this summer with hopes of earning an offer, as he does with LSU as well. Assuming both programs offer, LSU will still have an advantage, but there's mutual interest between Alabama and Williams, which definitely won't sit well with the LSU staff.

And don't forget about Racean Thomas. Long considered a heavy lean to Alabama, he mentioned LSU among his favorite schools. Expect LSU to get in the mix for this five-star prospect.


It's rare that Louisiana prospects LSU wants leave the state. But when they do, Alabama is a popular destination. There are three recruits from the Monroe area that seem like they might just do that this year. It hasn't been a secret that WR Cameron Sims wants to go to Alabama, and LSU isn't trying all that hard to stop him. After his performance in camp last summer, the LSU staff decided to target Malachi Dupre, Devante Noil and Trey Quinn, then left Sims on the backburner. Though LSU isn't too interested in him, Alabama is. They offered him a scholarship — pending he performs well at camp — and the Tide are his favorite.

Though LSU seems content with letting Sims go to Alabama, they wouldn't be so happy if two of Sims' close friends follow suit. Laurence Jones and Cameron Robinson both appear to be high on Alabama, and the Tide seem to be LSU's stiffest competition for these elite prospects. Sims is also a factor. All three have stated they'd like to go to the same school, and if they're serious in doing so, Alabama would be the option considering LSU's lack of interest in Sims.

That being said, Jones and Robinson are both capable of making their own decisions, and LSU is certainly not out of the running. Many would even consider the Tigers to still be the favorite. But after the duo ventured to Tuscaloosa two weeks ago for the Tide's Spring Game, opting not to trip to Baton Rouge, that obviously won't sit well with many of the LSU fans. This will certainly be a battle that the Tiger faithful sweat out until NSD.


Sharieff Rhaheed (LSU) and Shaun Hamilton (Alabama) are each committed to their respective schools, but that hasn't stopped the rival from pursuing them.

Shortly after Rhaheed made his pledge to LSU, the Alabama coaches called him up to inform him that he had received an Alabama offer. Though most considered it not-committable at that point, Rhaheed later spoke with Nick Saban who told him that it was an official offer. Rhaheed maintains that he's a solid commitment to LSU, but he did visit Alabama for their Spring Game two weeks ago.

That tactic isn't just limited to Alabama either. LSU is pulling a similar stunt with Hamilton, who committed to the Tide on April 17. LSU had shown interest in Hamilton for quite some time, trying to get him on campus a couple weeks before his decision date. But that interest hasn't stopped since he made his pledge. Brick Haley visited Hamilton last week to let him know LSU is still interested, though it isn't clear how mutual that is right now.

This game is quite common between LSU and Alabama, and it certainly makes fans uneasy when even the committed receive flirtation from the rival school.


There are some prospects that are heavy favorites to wind up at Alabama, but that obviously hasn't prevented LSU from hopping on board. The biggest of those names would be five-star DE Lorenzo Carter. The Norcross, Ga., standout has considered Alabama (and Georgia for that matter) to be his favorite school, but LSU joined the mix when they offered him in April. They're continuing to make him a priority, as Haley visited his high school on Wednesday.

Another heavy Alabama-lean — OG Jordan Sims — has received more interest from LSU recently. As he continues to cut weight, with hopes of dropping to about 315 pounds, LSU is taking notice and visited him at his school last week. Sims thinks an offer is coming soon, and if they do, LSU would join his top five schools, though definitely behind No. 1 Alabama.

LSU also extended an offer to Calera, Ala., LB Ronnie  Clark recently. He's considered a favorite to either Auburn or Alabama, but as with Sims and Carter, LSU is certainly putting in the work to get in the mix.


LSU's targets aren't free of the Alabama flirtation either. Kenny Young, Clifton Garrett, Tony Brown and Saeed Blacknall are some of those prospects, and that's only a portion of the list.

Young remains open in his recruitment, but he is one of LSU's top priorities at LB. He and teammate Malachi Dupre are about as familiar with the LSU program as prospects can get, but he recently tripped to Alabama for the Tide's Junior Day. He still plans to wait until NSD to decide, but LSU would certainly like to wrap him up early to prevent the Tide from getting too close.

Garrett visited LSU the same weekend as he checked out Alabama, picking up an offer from the Tide during his trip. The good news for LSU fans is that the Tigers appear to be well-ahead of Alabama after that trip.

Brown, though considered a heavy LSU favorite, also checked out the Tide's Spring Game. All signs still point to LSU, but that obviously hasn't stopped Alabama from going after him.

Same goes for Blacknall, who reportedly picked up an Alabama offer on Wednesday. He has said that LSU is his favorite right now, but expect the Tide to ramp up their interest and try to get a visit from him this summer.

Who will win these recruiting battles — LSU or Alabama?

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