Nick Saban has the Tide positioned to make another run at claiming the nation's top recruiting class for 2014.
Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide are currently in the middle of spring practice in preparation for the 2013 season, but he and his staff are still hot on the trail of several top prospects for the 2014 recruiting class.
The Tide picked up a pair of commitments from prep teammates and defensive backs Kalvaraz Bryant and Chris Williams earlier this month, joining in-state 5-star running back Bo Scarbrough as the three pledges making up the class thus far.
However, Alabama is in solid position with a number of the nation’s top prospects at this stage in the process.
With the evaluation period and summer-camp circuit on the horizon, which players currently figure to be the Tide’s top options across the board?
Find out inside this breakdown of Alabama’s top 2014 targets at every position.
One might think that Saban and his staff would think about skipping the thought of bringing in a quarterback in this cycle considering that they brought in three players at the position in the 2013 class.
That’s not the case, as the offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has his sights set on Norman (Okla.) passer David Cornwell—who was recently bumped up to a 5-star rating on 247 Sports.
With plenty of depth at the position, Alabama can afford to be selective here. Cornwell represents a talent that may be too tempting to pass up should he choose to cast his lot with the Tide.
Bo Scarbrough has already committed to join the Tide’s assembly line of freakish talents in the backfield, but that doesn’t mean they are done at the running back position.
Coach Saban has recently had success in rival LSU’s backyard, plucking talents such as Eddie Lacy, Kenny Bell, Denzel Devall and Landon Collins in recent years.
While getting those talents qualified as coups for the Tide, pulling Leonard Fournette—the nation’s top running back prospect according to 247 Sports—would be a crushing blow to the home-standing Tigers.
Similar to Cornwell, this is a case of Alabama simply trying to add the best talent available at a position that’s already stocked with elite talent.
A big coup in the Tide’s top-rated 2012 recruiting class came when Coach Saban snuck into the hotbed of South Florida and grabbed a top-flight receiver in Amari Cooper.
Two years later, he’s trying to pull the same trick with Homestead (Fla.) pass-catcher Ermon Lane.
Lane—a 4-star prospect ranked as the nation’s 29th-best player, regardless of position in this class by 247 Sports—is the top wideout in the Sunshine State and one of the nation’s top playmakers.
Like he did with Cooper, Saban is hoping to lure him away from the trio of home-state powers in Miami, Florida and Florida State.
Tight end is a position that Alabama has targeted in terms of trying to acquire difference makers.
Getting O.J. Howard in the 2013 class is a step in the right direction, and Saban and his staff have targeted California-native Tyler Luatua to be another threat as a receiving tight end in the Tide’s offense.
According to Barton Simmons of 247 Sports (subscription required), the battle for Luatua could come down to the Tide and their combatants in the BCS title game, Notre Dame.
However, Alabama could have an ace in the hole considering his brother Isaac is a redshirt freshman offensive lineman for the Tide.
With a pair of uppercalssmen (junior Jeoffrey Pagan and senior Ed Stinson) likely starting at defensive end, Alabama will have a need to add another talented pass-rusher.
Norcross (Ga.) native Lorenzo Carter would more than fit the bill, as he's a 5-star prospect ranked s the Nations's No. 3 player regardless of position, according to 247 Sports.
Carter visited Tuscaloosa last month and came away impressed, according to Charles Power of BamaOnline (subscription required).
After registering eye-popping stats (136 tackles, 45 tackles for loss and 18 sacks), Carter will be one of the nation's most coveted prospects—and a player the Tide will have to battle it out for until next February.
St. Paul’s Episcopal High School in Mobile has been kind to Alabama in recent memory—with current quarterback A.J. McCarron and former All-American safety Mark Barron serving as recent products who would go on to star for the Crimson Tide.
Coach Saban is hoping inside linebacker Tre Williams is the next St. Paul’s star to make his way to Tuscaloosa.
Williams—a 4-star recruit and one of the top talents in the state of Alabama—has narrowed his list to Alabama, Auburn, Florida, USC and Ole Miss according to Rebels 247 (via Ben Thomas, al.com).
Given Alabama’s recent success in the Mobile area in recruiting, Tide fans have to feel comfortable with their odds of keeping that pipeline going.
Corner may be one of Alabama’s top needs in this class, and the nation’s top prospect at the position happens to be an in-state star whois the son of former legendary Tide running back Bobby Humphrey.
Marlon Humphrey—a 6’1”, 175-pounder from nearby powerhouse Hoover High School in Birmingham—is the top player in the state and a Top 5 player nationally according to 247 Sports.
Fellow SEC powers Florida and South Carolina are in the mix with Humphrey, but with Coach Saban’s track record for landing top-flight defensive backs and his father’s history at Alabama, the Tide are the heavy favorites to land the state’s most prized recruit in the 2014 class.