Alabama Football Recruiting: Checking in with the Tide's Top 10 2013 Commits
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While Alabama is busy chasing a national title on the gridiron, the Tide are also trying to capture another repeat title when national signing day rolls around in February.
Nick Saban and his staff have done a tremendous job in locking up commitments from several of the nation’s top players in the class of 2013.
Alabama currently has 19 verbal pledges, and they are still actively in the running for some of the country’s top uncommitted prospects with the few spots remaining in this cycle.
How are Tide’s future stars faring in their final season on the prep level?
Find out as we check in with the Alabama’s top 10 commitments for the 2013 class.
10. Maurice Smith, CB
The only pure cover corner currently committed for this class, Smith checks in at No. 83 in the ESPNU 150 and is listed as the nation’s 12th best cornerback by the same outlet.
The 2013 Under Armour All-American selection has racked up 63 tackles and three interceptions for Dulles High School in Sugar Land, Texas.
Smith has also spent time playing receiver (four touchdown receptions) and as a return man on special teams this season.
Dulles will face Brazoswood on Friday in the opening round of the Class 5A Texas state playoffs.
9. Grant Hill, OL
Courtesy, 247 Sports
Hill is one of three home-state products on this list, and the 4-star offensive lineman is ranked as the second-best guard prospect (and the No. 66 recruit in the country) by 247 Sports.
Hill and his trench mates helped propel the Huntsville Panthers into the second round of the Alabama 6A state playoffs by paving the way for three running backs to rush for over 100 yards in a 37-19 victory over Florence, per Jimmy Lay of al.com.
The 2013 Under-Armour All-American selection was one of the first pledges in the 2013 class, and he is the highest rated commitment on the offensive line—which is one the Tide’s biggest needs in this cycle.
Hill’s Huntsville squad will square off against Vestavia Hills in the second round of the Alabama 6A state playoffs this Friday.
8. ArDarius Stewart, AtH
Courtesy, 247 Sports
Stewart has been one of the state’s most electrifying playmakers for Fultondale High School in the Birmingham area.
The 6’1”, 190-pound athlete has played at quarterback, running back and wide receiver in addition to lining up as a defensive back on the other side of the ball.
A glance at the stat line from his latest performance may leave fans asking if there’s anything the 4-star athlete cannot do (h/t, Blake Ells, al.com).
Stewart is rated as the nation’s fourth best athlete and checks in as the No. 72 prospect in the class of 2013 by 247 Sports—and judging by his stellar senior season to date, he appears to be an underrated gem in a class heavy on star power.
Stewart and Fultondale will host Fyffe in the second round of the 2A state playoffs on Friday.
7. Tyren Jones, RB
Jones is one part of what will likely become the nation’s top haul of running backs making their way to Tuscaloosa next season.
One of the top five recruits from neighboring Georgia, Jones is rated as the nation’s fifth best running back (and the No. 53 player in the nation) by 247 Sports.
Despite currently nursing a sprained knee, the 4-star rusher is averaging close to 200 yards rushing per game and has scored 16 touchdowns in his senior season for Walton High School in Marietta, Ga., according to Charles Power of 247 Sports.
Jones has been selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American game in January.
Walton will face Parkview in the opening round of Georgia’s class 6A playoffs.
6. Cooper Bateman, QB
With the transfer of Phillip Sims before the season, the need to secure an elite quarterback to possibly replace A.J. McCarron down the road became a priority for Saban in this cycle.
The Tide’s staff seems to have accomplished that goal with pledges from Parker McLeod (a Georgia native who is a teammate of Tyren Jones) and Bateman.
247 Sports rates Bateman as the sixth best pro-style quarterback and the No. 64 player in the country.
The Salt Lake City native concluded his senior season by passing for 2,484 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Before arriving in Tuscaloosa in January as an early enrollee, Bateman will play in the 2013 Under Armour All-American game.
5. Altee Tenpenny, RB
Considered as the top prospect from the state of Arkansas by ESPN, 247 Sports and Rivals, Tenpenny is rated as the nation’s third-best running back and No. 33 overall by 247 Sports.
The 5’11”, 212-pounder has rushed for 918 yards and 13 touchdowns helping his North Little Rock squad earn a first-round bye in the state playoffs, which started last week.
Tenpenny—whose team will face Cabot in the second round of the Arkansas class 7A playoffs on Friday—used the time off to visit Tuscaloosa last weekend to take in the Tide’s loss to Texas A&M.
He is another future Tide star that will participate in the U.S. Army All-American game in January.
4. DeMarcus Walker, DE
Courtesy, 247 Sports
Walker is a consensus top 100 prospect for the 2013 class, with 247 Sports listing Tide target (and the nation’s No. 1 player) Robert Nkemdiche as the only defensive end better than Walker for the class of 2013.
One of the top prospects from talent-rich Florida, Walker has enjoyed a stellar senior campaign racking up 14 sacks and 24 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
With Alabama losing Damion Square and Quinton Dial to graduation, the 6’3”, 276-pound Walker is a player that is physically capable of making the transition to college and potentially getting on the field in his freshman season.
3. Derrick Henry, RB/ATH
The final piece to the Tide’s three-headed monster at running back was added when Henry committed to Alabama in late September.
The beastly 6’3”, 240-pounder is closing in on a significant piece of history, needing just 102 yards to break the all-time national high school career rushing record according to Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel.
Henry will get that chance on Friday when his Yulee club squares off against Taylor County in the first round of the Florida Class 4A state playoffs.
Henry—who has been actively recruiting other top uncommitted stars since his pledge—has the potential to become the next great back in the stable of talented rushers to come through the Tide program (h/t, Andrew Kulha, B/R).
2. Jonathan Allen, OLB/DE
Courtesy, 247 Sports
The U.S. Army All-American selection is rated as a 5-star prospect and the third-best outside linebacker in the country according to 247 Sports.
Grabbing the top prospect from the state of Virginia (per 247 Sports) was a coup for Saban considering that Allen is one of the nation’s top pass-rushers.
His role on the college level figures to be as a ‘Jack’ linebacker in Alabama’s 3-4 scheme.
Allen has racked up a monster senior season with 102 tackles and 15 sacks to date, with his Stone Bridge squad set to take on Langley in the semifinal round of the Division 5 Virginia state playoffs.
1. OJ Howard, TE
Rated as the nation’s top tight end prospect by Rivals and 247 Sports, the former of those recruiting networks lists Howard as the fifth-best player in the country regardless of position.
His final season on the prep level came to an end with last week’s loss to Clarke Prep in the second round of the AISA playoffs.
The 6’5”, 221-pound Howard represents a commodity that is missing on a roster loaded with freaks—with his hands and athletic ability likely to bring an added dimension to the Tide’s passing game as soon as next season.