Which Teams Pose a Threat to Alabama's Lead for 4-Star DT Elisha Shaw?

Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIIApril 30, 2013

Via 247Sports
Via 247Sports

Defensive tackle Elisha Shaw is an Alabama lean, but is it possible that Kentucky and new head coach Mark Stoops could challenge Nick Saban and his staff for the 4-star's commitment?

At least in the early going, Kentucky is making a good impression on the defensive tackle from Tucker, Ga.

Justin Rowland of Rivals.com reports that Shaw will take a visit to Kentucky:

Shaw is only now starting to learn about Kentucky, but Bradley Dale Peveto and his pitch have caught his attention already.

"I've talked to him like twice and he's just trying to get me down there," Shaw said. "I'm going to take a visit there."

According to Rowland, Shaw isn't sure if the visit will be official or unofficial, but he is planning on using all five official visits.

That said, Rowland does quote Shaw as saying that Alabama is his favorite: "Alabama is the leader.... They're just ahead (of other schools) by a little."

For Kentucky fans, Rowland's report presents a bit of good news, and then a whole lot of bad news.

Kentucky may be making a good impression on Shaw, but even the most diehard Kentucky football fan would be hard-pressed to believe that the Wildcats have a chance to out-recruit 'Bama for the No. 2 defensive tackle in the 2014 class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

For the record, Stoops does seem like the right guy for the job, and he's already made an impact on the recruiting trail (See: Jason Hatcher or Ryan Timmons). But to predict that he will be able to out-recruit Saban for Shaw would be utter foolishness.

Outside of Kentucky, there are a few other programs that Alabama should keep an eye on in this race. 'Bama is listed as the favorite on Shaw's 247Sports interest list, but Georgia is right behind, followed by Auburn and Florida State.

According to the 247Sports Crystal Ball feature, only three out of nine experts predict that Shaw will end up at Alabama, with the rest predicting Georgia—but please note that most of those Georgia predictions were made before Shaw named Alabama the favorite in Rowland's report.

Considering the "home-state advantage," Georgia should be considered a major player in this race. Auburn and Florida State can't be dismissed as factors as well. So Alabama does have competition.

When Saban has the lead, however, he rarely gives it up. That statement applies on the recruiting trail just as much as it does in actual games.

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