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Alabama Football Recruiting: 2014 Recruits Nick Saban Must Target Early

Ian BergCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2013

Alabama Football Recruiting: 2014 Recruits Nick Saban Must Target Early

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    Alabama is closing in on another No.1 rated recruiting class for the 2013 recruiting year. The Tide have landed fixes for every need heading into the new year. 

    While the 2013 class is strong, the attention will soon shift to the 2014 recruiting year. The Crimson Tide have a number of top prospects already eyeing the program. Owning the state of Alabama is always the No.1 goal for the Crimson Tide staff, but reaching out to other top talents is also a part of the Saban process. For next year to be as dominant on the recruiting trail as this one, Nick Saban must zero in on these eight targets early. 

    If the Tide can finish the 2014 class with half of these names, they will challenge for the top spot in recruiting yet again. 

Leonard Fournette: Running Back, St. Augustine (New Orleans, La.)

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    Alabama is always loaded in the backfield, and the 2014 class will feature at least one running back for the Tide.

    Alabama has its sights set on Leonard Fournette, the No. 1 running back in the 2014 class according to 247Sports Composite Rankings. 

    Fournette is high on Alabama and LSU, both teams that run the downhill style of offense that will fit his 6’0”, 215-pound frame. 

    While it will be a tight race for the signature of Fournette, the stronger Alabama comes at him early, the better off they will be when 2014's National Signing Day rolls around. Look for Nick Saban and Co. to bring the full-court press against Fournette in the coming months. 

Marlon Humphrey: Cornerback, Hoover High School (Birmingham, Ala.)

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    Marlon Humphrey is a big instate recruit that is very high on Alabama heading into his senior year. He has a long list of interested schools inside the SEC, but the Crimson Tide is his No. 1. 

    Humphrey is 6’1”, 175-pounds and is a rising senior. He has the frame to add bulk and become that physical lockdown corner the Tide like to employ. 

    This year is another cycle season for the secondary, where a number of key players will begin to shuffle out due to graduation and early departure for the draft. The Tide need to seal up secondary players early, and Humphrey should be at the top of the list. 

    He is rated as the No. 1 corner in the country, and the No. 4 overall player on the 247Sports Composite Rankings. 

Racean Thomas: Running Back, Oxford High School (Oxford, Ala.)

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    Racean Thomas has made it well known that he is very high on the Crimson Tide. He is one of the best running back prospects in the country for the 2014 season and would be a great fit for the Tide offense. 

    He is 5’11”, 191 pounds and has the frame to add at least 20 more pounds of bulk.

    He is rated as the No. 4 running back and the No. 26 overall player in the country by the 247Sports Composite Rankings. 

    Thomas would be a huge instate pickup, further marking the state with crimson and white. Nick Saban knows that the key to success is instate recruiting, and since his arrival, Alabama has been his playground. 

Tre’ Williams: Linebacker, St. Paul’s Episcopal (Mobile, Ala.)

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    Tre’ Williams is another top instate recruit that would make a major impact on the 2014 class with a commitment to the Tide. 

    Williams is in the recruiting hotbed of Mobile, Ala.—a town that the Tide and Tigers battle for every year. With Dameyune Craig now at Auburn, the Alabama must pick up the focus on Craig’s hometown, or they will lose their footing quickly. 

    When the Tide are evaluating their linebacker needs, there isn’t a doubt that there is a place for Williams on roster. He is 6’2”, 217 pounds, but he has the frame to add a lot of bulk. 

    Williams could be a solid inside linebacker for Alabama, and he could play in the 240-pound range. Look for this No. 3 rated inside linebacker to lean heavily to the Tide during this recruiting season.

Tyler Luatua: Tight End, La Mirada High School (La Mirada, Ca.)

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    The Crimson Tide landed the No. 1 tight end in the country in 2013 when O.J. Howard enrolled for spring classes, but there is still a need for an additional playmaker at the position in the Tide’s offense. 

    Alabama will begin to utilize the tight end a lot more as the Doug Nussmeier offense begins to take hold. The short throws and middle seam routes are always open when you have athletic and physical tight ends. 

    Luatua is the No. 1 tight end in the 2014 class according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. He is very high on USC and Alabama at this point, with Doug Nussmeier leading the recruiting efforts of the California prospect. 

Elisha Shaw: Defensive Tackle, Tucker High Scool (Tucker, Ga.)

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    Elisha Shaw is high on two schools currently—the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Shaw is a huge defensive tackle prospect—6’5”, 295 pounds—and would be a great fit in either 3-4 scheme ran by the Bulldogs or Tide. 

    Nick Saban knows defensive line talent when he sees it, and that is why he has to be high on this player. Not only is Shaw rangy, but he is also very aggressive and low off the ball, and keeps his hands attacking at all times. He has a vicious punch, and he has the ability to shore up the middle and handle double teams.

    Watch for the Tide to really turn up the heat on Shaw. Picking up elite defensive linemen is not easy. This would be a huge steal for the Tide from Georgia if Shaw ends up in Tuscaloosa. 

    Shaw is the No. 6 defensive tackle and the No. 64 overall recruit in the 2014 class according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. 

Josh Frazier: Defensive Tackle, Har-Ber High School (Springdale, Ark)

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    Josh Frazier is a beast of a defensive tackle.

    As a rising senior Frazier is 6’3”, 324 pounds. He has the frame to play at 340 and convert a lot of his current mass into muscle. 

    He is rated as the No. 4 defensive tackle and No. 44 overall player according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. 

    He would be a sizable addition to the Tide’s lineup from day one, and he could fit into the center nose tackle position with ease. He is a tough body to move, and has a surprising first-step burst for his size.

    He would be a run-stuffer, but he also has the skills to create issues in the backfield on passing downs.

Mason Cole: Offensive Guard, East Lake High School (Tarpon Springs, Fl.)

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    Alabama has had superb offensive line play in the past few seasons, but the talent that has anchored those tough fronts will soon all be gone. The Tide are especially thin on the interior. 

    A guy like Mason Cole would be a great fit for the Tide on the line, and he would be able to come in and provide, at the very least, quality looks early. 

    Nick Saban knows the gaps that are present on the line, and he knows that Cole is one of the best interior linemen in the 2014 class. Expect the Tide to begin to pick up the steam on the young Florida lineman in short order.  

    Cole is the No. 5 offensive guard and the No. 79 overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. 

     

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