The 14 Most Heated 2014 College Football Recruiting Battles Right Now
Recruiting doesn't stop, and if your favorite program is not recruiting, then it's getting out-recruited by another one. Sure, there's dead periods, but a coach always must be doing something towards recruiting, as it is the lifeblood of any program.
Even though it is just now spring with the 2014 class, there are some heated recruiting battles already taking place. Some prospects are torn on whom to commit to and programs are hustling to make an impression, schedule an unofficial visit and really sell what they have to offer.
This read will just quickly look at the 14 most heated of those battles for prospects on the recruiting trail. Intensity is a must when reading this and you have to be on high alert!
14. USC vs. Stanford for Keller Chryst
Personally, neither team really needs an upper-echelon QB prospect in this class. However, I do subscribe to the theory that a QB should be signed in each recruiting class.
Stanford and USC are locked in a heated battle for Chryst, a talented QB prospect from Northern California. Each program doesn't want the other to land him, so the effort to keep him away from a conference rival only makes things that much more heated.
13. Iron Bowl Schools for Racean Thomas
Alabama is perhaps the premier program in college football. The Crimson Tide bring in great recruiting classes and win championships.
Auburn was on its way to really challenging 'Bama until a bad year in 2012 led to Gene Chizik's firing. Now, the Tigers are trying to reset and rebuild the program under new coach Gus Malzahn.
Thomas is the top RB in the state and one of the best in the country. Alabama and Auburn are his top two per 247Sports and it's an intense battle.
12. Iron Bowl Schools for Tre' Williams Too
Williams is a great LB prospect, who is from Alabama like Thomas. He's probably the best LB in the state and each Iron Bowl school is in the hunt.
Williams can say he's going take some trips around the country and things of the sort, but it's well known he's going to come down back to Auburn vs. Alabama.
Each school doesn't want to see their bitter rival land itself a good LB.
11. Michigan Schools for Malik McDowell
Michigan State is in Michigan's shadow and probably always will be. One way to start to change that is to start beating the Wolverines for good prospects on the trail.
Landing the 6'6", 300-pound McDowell would be a good start, as he's one of the top players in the country. Michigan is also in the hunt for McDowell, who is from inside the state, and this battle is going to stay hot until he decides.
10. Irish vs. Aggies vs. Horned Frogs for Braden Smith
From Kansas, Smith is one of the better OL recruits the 2014 class has to offer. He's 6'6" and will probably play his senior season weighing over 290 pounds.
With his good strength and ability to play big and nasty at the point of attack, Smith can play OT and OG. Once wide open in recruiting, 247Sports like Notre Dame, TCU and Texas A&M as his top three.
It doesn't sound as if any of the three are going down without a fight.
9. Sony Michel's Battle Royale
Michel is a top five player in my eyes and one of the best RB prospects I've seen in awhile. The 5'11", 205-pounder is from Florida and has a slew of offers.
It seems there is a top five of the three Florida schools along with Georgia and Notre Dame. Michel probably will be ready to decide on a school before the season starts, so you can bet your bottom dollar all five are pulling out all the stops this spring to land him.
8. Schools Jumpin' for Jabrill Peppers
Peppers is a 6'1", 205-pound ATH who can play many different positions. He can excel as a RB, CB, WR or S and has outstanding athleticism and instincts.
Once, it looked like Stanford vs. Ohio State for him, but Scout.com reports Michigan is in the mix. Also, keep an eye on Alabama and LSU too.
Those are five excellent options for Peppers and the battle between them is going to heat up more and more each month.
7. North Carolina Trying to Keep Elijah Hood Home
A RB that I really like this year is Elijah Hood. The Tar Heel State back has very good run strength, power and build-up speed.
There was a time when it seemed like Notre Dame and Michigan were the favorites for Hood, but a recent trip to Chapel Hill changed things. The Tar Heels appear to be the favorite, per 247Sports, and will have to intensely fend off a ton of schools until the end for Hood's signed letter of intent.
6. 10 in the Thunder Dome for Andrew Brown
The 6'4", 295-pounder is a playmaking DT who could be ready to play immediately in college. From Virginia, Brown has a top 10, which you can see here at Scout.com.
Virginia is a school to watch, as the Wahoos already have stud safety Quin Blanding committed. It could be a special year for Mike London, but nine other schools are trying their very hardest to beat him out for Brown.
5. SEC Title Game Schools Battling for Lorenzo Carter
Georgia and Alabama met in the SEC title game last year, with the Tide's running game coming through in the second half to win.
Georgia wants revenge and one way Mark Richt is eyeing his glory is by beating out 'Bama for DE Lorenzo Carter, a top 10 overall prospect.
The 6'6", 235-pound Carter is from Georgia, but Alabama has made a great impression according to 247Sports. Those two will be in the hunt until the end.
4. LSU Winning the Tony Brown Battle?
I currently have Brown as the top CB on my board and he's a good one. With his 6'0", 185-pound frame, instincts, press strength and range, he should be a solid player at the next level.
247Sports shows LSU leading schools like Texas A&M, Texas and Alabama right now. Some LSU fans think it is only a matter of time before he commits to playing in Baton Rouge.
3. Hand Could Be a Hoke-Ster or Stay Home
Right now, is seems like Michigan and Virginia Tech are the two standout schools for Hand. 247Sports shows that, though he seemingly enjoyed a recent trip to North Carolina.
Alabama, Florida and South Carolina are also in the mix. Hand is the top recruit this year, so there's no real need to explain how intense this battle is.
2. LSU vs. Alabama for Cameron Robinson
Robinson has a top two of in-state LSU and Alabama, says 247Sports. The big 6'6', 330-pound LT could make an early impact at either school and he really can't wrong with his choice.
The Tigers and Tide are always locked in heated recruiting battles, so this is not new. They'll slug it out both with power and stamina for Robinson until he decides a winner.
1. Les Miles Trying to Lock Up Leonard Fournette
Les Miles didn't sign a RB last year with the sole intent on sending a direct message to Leonard Fournette.
A special RB from Louisiana, Miles is trying to lock up Fournette as soon as possible. Alabama is also heavily involved and is recruiting the 6'1", 227-pound back hard too.
In the end, I think Fournette heads to LSU, but we've all learned to never count out Nick Saban and Alabama for a recruit.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.