Alabama Football Recruiting: Top 10 2013 in-State Recruits Who Can't Slip Away
There is no better place to bring in highly-talented recruits than a school's home state. The home state loyalty and travel distance goes a long way in getting commitments and the state of Alabama is always brimming with talent.
There are plenty of players available, some of them are the best of the best and others are unsung heroes that have bright futures. Alabama can land all the 3-star recruits they want, but the 4-star and 5-star players can get tricky.
Alabama has already received verbal commitments from some of these prospects, but nothing can be written in stone until February of 2013.
Here are my picks for the Top 10 athletes in the state of Alabama that Nick Saban and the Tide cannot let slip away, as well as one player to really keep an eye on.
Offensive Lineman, 6'5", 315 lbs., 4-star
Bradley Bozeman is a welcome addition to the Tide, who will be in short supply of offensive tackles in the near future.
D.J. Fluker will be headed to the NFL soon and Barrett Jones will exhaust his eligibility at the end of this year.
The depth chart behind the Kouandjio brothers would be looking rather thin without the addition of Bozeman.
Bozeman is a massive prospect, already tipping the scales at over 300 lbs. as a junior in high school. Some of that is certain to be baby fat, but strength coach Scott Cochran will take care of that.
He seems to be a lock with the Tide, as he committed in the summer of last year before the Tide brought home another crystal football.
Offensive Lineman, 6'6", 275 lbs., 4-star
Austin Golson could join Bozeman as an elite tackle in an elite recruiting class, but he is sadly committed to Florida State already.
That should mean little to Nick Saban, but I am unsure as to how much effort Saban will put forth to steal this recruit away.
Florida State has infamously been taking recruits out of the state of Alabama lately, including highly-touted quarterback Jameis Winston.
Though the Tide could certainly use his services it is also important to keep Alabama athletes in the state.
Golson would be a healthy addition to a strong program, but only time will tell if he changes his mind. It's not likely, though, as Alabama already has two elite offensive tackles verbally committed.
Offensive Lineman, 6'6", 315 lbs., 4-star
Grant Hill will cap off a great recruiting season along with fellow tackle Bradley Bozemen. They likely won't be joined by Austin Golson, but the pair of Bozeman and Hill are about the best you could ask for in offensive tackles.
Hill is a big prospect with immense size and reach. By the end of his senior year he'll likely be listed as a 5-star offensive tackle.
Hill committed to the Tide in February, 2012, and as a Huntsville, AL native (Huntsville is swarming in 'Bama fans; I live there) I doubt his commitment was due to him being star struck by the national title.
He will remain committed to the Tide, as he surely knows that Alabama and Nick Saban send offensive tackles to the NFL on a regular basis.
Tight End, 6'5", 221 lbs., 4-star
Ignore the Auburn shirt, for O.J. Howard seems like a very firm lock for Alabama. He verbally committed in July of 2011.
Howard is a special player, though he is somewhat undersized at the moment for the position he plays.
His potential is through the roof, but what makes him unique is that he's a promising prospect at both the tight end position as well as wide receiver.
He needs to add muscle to be a true tight end in the SEC, but he's so athletic that he could pose an incredible threat in the passing game.
Alabama has a true successor for Michael Williams in Malcolm Faciane, so it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Nick Saban may explore Howard's possibility at wide receiver.
Either way, he's already a highlight of the 2013 recruiting class, and his commitment must stand firm.
Wide Receiver, 6'0", 190 lbs., No Rating
Jarren Johnson has yet to be given a star rating by both Rivals and Scout, but when it's all said and done he could certainly be a 4-star prospect.
The lack of recognition may have played a part in very few schools being interested in him.
Arkansas State, a small school powerhouse, and Alabama schools Troy and Jacksonville State have all offered him. They are respectable schools in the smaller circles, but they aren't Alabama.
Nick Saban has yet to offer this guy a scholarship but I believe he will in the near future. He's one of those quality players that slips through most cracks.
He has good size all around, so all Johnson needs is a good team and a good quarterback. He'll have that at Alabama, and if Saban should offer him a scholarship he's certain to pounce on it.
Quarterback, 6'6", 215 lbs., No Rating
Jeremy Johnson is a promising prospect that Nick Saban has yet to offer, but the coach better get in gear.
He has not been given a rating by the two major recruiting sites yet but he has the ideal size for a quarterback and he has used it well. He passed for 2,700 yards and 26 touchdowns last year, very good numbers for a short high school season.
On top of that he is not a scrambler that can sometimes throw, he is a pro-style passer that can run.
He has two major offers thus far, Ole Miss and Auburn. As a Montgomery native in the heart of Auburn country, Johnson won't be available much longer.
Unless Nick Saban hopes to recruit a quarterback out of state again he had better offer Johnson soon because, in the end, this guy will be too good to pass up.
Defensive Lineman, 6'4", 255 lbs., 4-star
There are two very good reasons as to why Alabama cannot miss Dee Liner.
First, he is an amazing pass rusher. He racked up 17 sacks and five forced fumbles in his junior year, as well as seven sacks and 10 tackles for losses the year before.
Second, he is verbally committed to Auburn. Though he could certainly play a huge part at the Capstone, it could really be a punishing blow if he were to play for the Tide's arch nemesis.
He has the potential to play defensive end in college as he did in high school, but his potential as Alabama's pass-rushing Jack linebacker doubles his chances for early playing time.
Should he recognize what Alabama could do for his future he will switch his commitment before national signing day.
Athlete, 6'1", 160 lbs., No Rating
Jason Smith is one of those guys that did a bit of everything in high school: quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back.
He has no future playing quarterback at Alabama, but he has good height to play receiver or cornerback at the Capstone. All he needs is a bit of muscle.
Smith would be lucky to get a 4-star rating before it is all said and done, but he should easily get a 3-star rating at some point during his senior year.
With some schools showing solid interest in Smith, his high school coaches would do well to play him full time at either wide receiver or cornerback.
Alabama has already offered him a scholarship but he has yet to declare where he will play college ball.
Athlete, 6'3", 190 lbs., 4-star
ArDarius Stewart is definitely a player that Alabama cannot let slip away. Like Jason Smith he can do it all, only better.
He could possibly play quarterback at the Capstone but his true strength lies in his receiving ability.
He's blazing fast and has excellent size. He is one of those players that is just destined to play wide receiver and spend a career leaping and catching over the opposition's heads deep down the field.
He recently committed verbally to Alabama and looks to keep that commitment.
Middle Linebacker, 6'3", 225 lbs., No Rating
Cameron Toney has not received a rating from the scouting agencies yet, but he is a 4-star or 5-star prospect in the making.
During his high school junior campaign he racked up 120 tackles, eight sacks, four forced fumbles, three interceptions and three pass break-ups, all from the inside linebacker position.
He is a smart, instinctive player and is a perfect fit for Alabama's four linebacker system.
Toney has offers from almost every SEC school, including Alabama. The Crimson Tide will be all the better with his commitment, and Nick Saban cannot let this one slip away.
In the Mix: Trey Roberts
Running Back, 6'0", 190 lbs., No Rating
At this point in time, Trey Roberts is not yet a "can't miss" prospect, but that soon may change.
He is a bit light, but a 6'0", 190-lb. junior running back can hold a lot of promise. It would not be a stretch to see him at well over 200 lbs. by the time national signing day rolls around.
Roberts has a good combination of speed and power, but it is his vision that makes him special. He has a knack for finding the crease.
The most notable school that has offered him so far is Southern Miss, but I am certain he will pique Nick Saban's interest sometime soon.