Alabama Football Recruiting: Top Targets, Positional Needs and Predictions

Jonathan McDanal@@jdmcdanalContributor IIIJanuary 23, 2012

Alabama Football Recruiting: Top Targets, Positional Needs and Predictions

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    After watching all the substitutions in the BCS National Championship, I began to feel much better about the 2012 season.

    We saw glimpses of what is to come, such as Vinnie Sunseri in at free safety. There were some major players out on the field that weren't starters. In 2012, Alabama has a lot of experience that can be moved around to fill current holes left from the draft and graduation.

    You will recognize these targets as "commits" to Alabama already. The bottom line is that a verbal commitment is not legally binding. The decision these kids are facing is one of the most important in their lives.

    Make no mistake about it, these are targets, not signatures—yet.

    If Alabama gets four of these six recruits (Cooper or Black, Yeldon, Collins or Williams, and Griffith), they should have no issues (other than youth) contending over the next few years. Saban reloads, he doesn't rebuild.

    [Update: with three early arrivals according to 247 Sports, the total targets needed now stands at five of six. We're missing either Collins or Williams and Adam Griffith, all three of whom I hope to get on NSD.]

    If the Crimson Tide are going to weather the storm of 2012 and 2013 losses, 2012 Signing Day is where it all starts.

    *All Recruit stats are from

Wide Receiver: Amari Cooper

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    Alabama needs wide receivers. The tight ends are working wonders out there on the field and McCarron has found his groove. The only piece missing in the picture is some beastly deep-route runners to keep the opposing defenses truly on their heels.

    Alabama brought championship No. 14 to the Capstone with a defense that rivaled the best defenses in history. If championship No. 15's flag is to be raised in 2012, the offense will have to step up and cover for some of the youthful mistakes of the defense.

    That starts with the campaign for 6'1" Amari Cooper, who tips the scales at 175 pounds. Watching the video up top will give you an idea of the things he brings to the table and the things that need to be coached out of him at the Capstone.

    Prediction: He'll make a major play in the 2012 Missouri game.

Wide Receiver: Chris Black

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    The wide receiver slot gets two slides simply because Alabama seriously needs at least one threat lining up before each and every play. Chris Black comes in at 5'11" and 170 pounds.

    He has instincts that I believe are actually more college-ready than Amari Cooper. He has many of the same abilities as Cooper, but less of the attributes that need to be coached out of him.

    As far as taking the ball north after the catch, I think Black has the edge over Cooper. Cooper may surprise me by immediately eliminating the backward running when he arrives, but Black is already there.

    Prediction: He'll make a big play in the 2012 LSU game.

Athlete: Eddie Williams

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    This may be the most enviable position to hold at Alabama. An athlete is going to be coached up and placed where he can make the most impact. It's essentially a blank canvas for the coaching staff.

    Nick Saban, Kirby Smart and Doug Nussmeier are some of the best artists in the game today. With a 6'4" frame and a weight listed at 204 pounds, he has huge potential.

    Alabama needs to numb the sting of some huge defensive losses, and Williams may end up in the linebacker corps. But no matter where he ends up, he will be a household name before the end of 2013.

    Prediction: The next Dont'a Hightower. (He's destined to lead the defense as captain before he's done.)

Running Back: T.J. Yeldon

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    This recruit is about reloading in the future. With the Lacy-Fowler one-two punch and Hart coming back into the picture in 2012, it was difficult to include a running back in this article.

    However, Alabama is constantly on a three-year program with their featured backs, so every junior is basically a senior. Yeldon's presence will be felt in the future, and he needs to sign this year to get the development he requires to rush in the SEC.

    As shown in the video, he brings a deep-ball threat along with his Richardson-esque running style. He would be easily overlooked in the secondary as a receiving threat with either Cooper or Black in the package.

    He brings a 6'2" skeleton loaded with 205 pounds of muscle. With a little coaching from the staff that brought you Richardson and Ingram, he could easily cause opponents to dread having him as an assignment.

    Prediction: Yeldon gets his FSU-commit buddy to sign for the Tide.

Defensive Back: Landon Collins

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    Landon Collins is a beast at 6'0" and 199 pounds (listed). I trust Saban and Smart will not be relaxing their efforts following the "incident."

    Don't think for a minute that LSU is just going to sit back and say, "Well that's it, he's at 'Bama."

    Les Miles' staff is up against Nick Saban and Kirby Smart, and that should be enough to land him at the Capstone. I hope to see him join Sunseri in the secondary soon.

    Prediction: Sunseri/Collins will be the next Kirkpatrick/Upshaw as the headliners for the Tide defense.

Kicker: Adam Griffith

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    Adam Griffith is an absolute necessity, as Jeremy Shelley needs a successor. As thrilling as it was to see Shelley step up in the championship game, another kicker is going to be needed soon.

    Griffith's height and weight don't matter nearly as much as his leg, but he has the size to make a tackle if he needs to at 5'11" and 175 pounds. Griffith will be a welcome addition to the Tide, and I'm excited to see what he can do there.

    To adjust the old quarterback adage, "If you have two kickers, you don't have one."

    I hope Griffith's arrival prods Shelly along so that he can be the Tide kicker. However, if Griffith is really as good as says he is, then he's going to be 'Bama's kicker very soon.

    Prediction: Adam Griffith kicks off against Michigan.