Despite Alabama's 2013 class approaching capacity, Nick Saban is still pursuing a handful of the nation's top prospects.
If Alabama wants to have a shot at claiming its third consecutive top ranked recruiting class, Nick Saban and his staff will need a strong finish in adding to its current 18-man class.
Despite picking up recent commitments from tight end Josh McNeil and linebacker Walker Jones, Alabama has lost its grip on on the top spot they have held for most of the summer.
A pair of decommitments (linebacker Reuben Foster to Auburn and offensive lineman Andy Dodd to LSU) have dropped Alabama’s class ranking to second according to 247 Sports, fourth per ESPN, and seventh on Rivals.
However, there are a handful of big fish left on Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide’s board—and landing some of them could help Alabama make a climb back to No. 1.
With the 25 scholarship cap in place as mandated by the SEC, the Crimson Tide have less than 10 spots left for the current class—with maneuverability depending on decommitments and the possibility of having early enrollees.
So which targets on Saban’s ultimate wish list would help them secure a top-rated class?
Here are eight targets that top the Tide’s remaining wish list for 2013.
The only true safety that is part of the current class is 4-star Woodbury (N.J.) product Anthony Averett, but with a safety unit that features three upperclassmen, adding another talented prospect at that position would seem ideal.
Fisher, who is currently committed to Virginia Tech, plans to make a visit to Alabama per JC Shurburtt of 247 Sports in the video linked above.
The Virginia native had a standout performance at The Opening camp earlier this month, and he would give Saban a versatile piece to play with considering he has the ability to play linebacker as well (Saban’s use of current safety Vinnie Sunseri comes to mind).
The 4-star talent is a player whose stock has steadily been rising, and Saban is hoping the Tide’s steep tradition of excellence in the secondary is enough to lure him away from the Hokies.
Alexander is the nation’s second-best corner and a 5-star prospect according to ESPN, which makes the former Tennessee pledge one of the most coveted defensive backs in the country.
The Immokalee (Fla.) corner is being pursued by the likes of Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame and Clemson amongst others, but he did make his way to Nick Saban’s second camp session held earlier this month.
Pairing him with fellow corner commit Maurice Smith and incoming freshman Geno Smith would give the Tide a solid foundation of young corners to help them eventually replace a unit heavy on upperclassmen.
While the Tide already have a commitment from fellow 5-star linebacker Jonathan Allen, adding Thomas would give their defense a dynamic duo on the edges of their 3-4 scheme.
Thomas named Alabama his leader back in April, but since has elevated Florida State to the top spot after visiting Tallahassee two weeks ago for Jimbo Fisher’s camp.
The Tide are still in his top group of schools, and if Saban and his staff can secure an official visit from the Miami native, Alabama could be in prime position to pull another elite talent from the Sunshine State.
One area that Alabama has not addressed thus far in its 2013 class is on the defensive line.
With three upperclassmen anchoring the defensive end segment for the Tide this fall, getting at least one elite end prospect is paramount for Saban and his staff.
Walker, who plans to decide on Friday (likely between Alabama and Florida), is the nation’s second-best strong side defensive end per 247 Sports—and securing his services would fill the biggest remaining need for the Tide’s 2013 class.
Alabama signed five interior defensive line prospects in its 2012 class, but Saban would likely jump at the chance to add the ultra-talented Adams to his group of trench warriors.
Auburn and Clemson—the last two schools Adams has taken a trip to see—appear to be the front-runners, but the Tide have nothing to lose by putting the full-court press on Adams.
With the luxury of having depth at the nose tackle spot, Saban can turn his focus strictly on the 6’4”, 310-pound manchild.
Since the 6’3”, 240-pound athlete decommitted from Georgia last month, the team that figured to gain the most from Henry reopening his recruitment was Alabama.
That belief was validated when he named the Crimson Tide his leader earlier this month.
Adding Henry—who prefers to do his damage in college as a running back—to a backfield with 4-star backs Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones would give Alabama a wealth of talent and versatility in their backfield moving forward.
With the recent loss of Dodd, the Crimson Tide are left with three offensive line commitments—including just one that projects as a tackle in college (JUCO recruit Leon Brown).
With three tackles on the current roster entering their junior or senior year, adding an elite young tackle would offer a nice complement to the elder Brown.
Tunsil—a consensus 5-star prospect—is the nation’s top prep offensive tackle prospect.
The 6’6”, 295-pounder visited Alabama early in June, and appears to be favoring the Tide along with Florida and Georgia.
If Saban is able to pull him from the Gators’ backyard, it will further cement his noted prowess on the recruiting trail—as well as giving the future of the offensive line a significant boost.
With no seniors and only two of the Tide’s nine wide receivers entering their junior season, adding another pass catcher to pair with 4-star commit Raheem Falkins is not a necessity for Saban.
However, the rangy 6’3”, 190-pound Foster is one of the nation’s top receivers and would give the Tide another big target to lineup on the outside.
The Pennsylvania native made his way to Tuscaloosa for the spring game in April, and returned to sneak in a visit last week while his team was participating in a 7-on-7 event in nearby Hoover, Ala.
Snaring an elite game-breaker like Foster would put the icing on an already loaded collection of skill talent making its way to the Capstone.