Alabama Football Recruiting: Incoming Studs Who Will Lead Crimson Tide in 2013
If you are Alabama head coach Nick Saban, there are two things you don't need to worry about. One is job security, because after winning three BCS championships in four years, you are set for a long time. The second is recruiting, because everyone and their brother wants to play for you right now.
It also helps that Saban is such a great talker and is able to get anyone he wants. He's also the best pure-talent evaluator in the country. Talent carries you a long way in sports, but you need the right combination of coaching and drive to get those players to perform up to their potential.
National signing day is, unsurprisingly, going to be a very good day for the Crimson Tide. Frankly, given the talent that is leaving for the NFL, they need all the talent that is coming in.
Here are the players whose talent and ability is going to carry them when they get to Tuscaloosa next season.
Recruit list and measurements courtesy of 247Sports.com.
Athlete Derrick Henry
Henry might be the best high school recruit in the country. He is a freak of nature, listed at 6'3", 240 pounds and able to play running back, tight end, defensive end or linebacker. That kind of versatility is something that Saban loves in his recruits.
His best position might be running back, which he has played in high school. He is not a great lateral runner, lacking the burst to get to the outside before cutting upfield. He does everything else well, especially when he is barreling forward.
Regardless of where Henry ends up playing, he is physically ready to step into the Crimson Tide lineup right away and be a star player. He is bigger and more physical than Eddie Lacy, who is leaving for the NFL following his breakout 2012 season.
Offensive Tackle Brandon Hill
Which Player Will Have The Most Impact In Alabama Next Season?
Playing offensive line does require more than just brute size and strength, but when you can find a high school player who is already listed at 6'6", 390 pounds, you are willing to take your chances on him figuring out how to handle the position at the college level.
The strength of the Crimson Tide offense during this run of championships has been the trenches. They always win the battles up front, making it easier for everyone in front of them on offense and behind them on defense.
While Hill does not play the same position as senior Chance Warmack, he is going to have to help the Crimson Tide handle the blow of losing the All-American to the NFL. He still needs to learn the fundamentals of blocking, so he is far from a finished product.
But that product is 6'6" and 390 pounds right now. You have to believe that, under Saban's tutelage, Hill will thrive sooner rather than later.
Tight End O.J. Howard
Alabama is losing senior tight end Michael Williams, who had 24 catches, 183 yards and four touchdowns in 2012. The Crimson Tide don't often use their tight ends in the passing game, but they do require that position to be a threat in the red zone on play-action passing.
Howard is a superior player to Williams. The two are almost identical as far as measurements, though Howard needs to add more bulk. Howard is listed at just under 6'6", 220 pounds; Williams is 6'6", 270 pounds.
That length is an asset every coach dreams of finding, especially at the tight end position. Howard is too big for cornerbacks to matchup with and too fast for linebackers to keep up with. His blocking on the line is decent, though he needs to get more physical and use his size to drive defenders into the ground.
But the power that Howard displays as a runner in the passing game will make him a lethal weapon over the middle for A.J. McCarron in 2013.
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