Nick Saban's first summer camp session featured a number of 2014's top prospects that made their way to Tuscaloosa.
Some of the country’s top recruits began their week participating in Nick Saban’s first summer camp session.
Touted 2014 recruits such as West Monroe, La. 5-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson and Norman, Okla. (North HS) 5-star quarterback David Cornwell are just a pair of elite prospects that were in attendance.
The summer camp circuit is often one of the most critical portions of the recruiting calendar, because it gives coaches a chance to get top targets on campus and work with them on the field for an extended period of time.
So what have Tide fans learned after the conclusion of Saban’s first summer camp?
Much has already been made about Saban’s preference to watch quarterbacks throw before accepting any commitments, according to Mike Herndon of AL.com.
One quarterback, Bossier City, La. (Parkway HS) dual-threat 4-star Brandon Harris, already visited Tuscaloosa late last month.
Cornwell headlines the crop of field generals from the class of 2014 that participated in the camp, according to Matt Scalici of AL.com.
Additionally, Ricky Town, who is rated as the nation’s top passer in 2015, was also present and earned an offer, according to Charles Power of BamaOnline (subscription required). Two other class of 2015 passers, Kennesaw, Ga. (North Cobb HS) 4-star Tyler Queen and Charleston, Ark. 4-star Ty Storey, also earned offers.
The 2014 board remains intriguing because none of the players in attendance have earned a committable offer. Aside from Cornwell and Harris, Saban and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will continue to evaluate another trio of passers that were in attendance.
Goose Creek, S.C. (Stratford HS) 4-star Jacob Park, Mobile, Ala. (Faith Academy HS) 3-star Malik Rosier and Blackshear, Ga. (Pierce Co. HS) 4-star Tyler Harris are campers hoping to earn a committable offer from the two-time defending national champions.
Town, Storey and Queen are a trio of players in the 2015 class that Saban and his staff have gotten a jump on in the evaluation process, but a handful of rising high school juniors were on hand to showcase their skills in Tuscaloosa this week.
A pair of in-state stars, Phenix City (Central HS) athlete Traveon Samuel and Troy (Charles Henderson HS) linebacker Richard McBryde, are two players that the Tide got a closer look at. Samuel already has an impressive offer list, including one from Alabama. McBryde received a 4-star rating in 247 Sports first set of class rankings for 2015 and is ranked as the fourth-best junior in the state entering the season.
Also, Mekhi Brown, the highest rated of the Tide’s three 2015 commitments, was on hand to get more familiar with his future home on the college level.
Brown and five of the Tide’s eight commitments in the 2014 class came together to work on the field and to try and persuade some of the top talent in attendance to join them in the Tide’s quest to finish with another top-rated class.
With several top-tier talents seriously considering the Tide in attendance, it doesn’t hurt Alabama’s chances to have other top players sharing the reasons why they have already chosen Tuscaloosa as their college destination.
With some of the country’s top defensive tackles on hand, there figured to be some separation gained from players on the board vying for a spot in the Tide’s 2014 class.
Players such as Elizabethtown, Ky. (Hardin HS) 4-star Matt Elam, Tucker, Ga. 4-star Elisha Shaw and Brighton, Tenn. 4-star Charles Mosley entered the camp with a buzz surrounding them. While they all appeared to do nothing to hamper their status as elite prospects, Rochelle, Ga. (Wilcox County HS) 3-star Johnny Dwight was the defensive lineman that flashed enough skills to become the Tide’s ninth commitment for the class of 2014.
However, the 6’3”, 303-pound Dwight could slide over and play defensive end in the Tide’s 3-4 scheme, which means that Alabama could take another wide-bodied tackle to pair with commitment O.J. Smith.
Of the players left on the board, Elam appears to be the player that made the strongest impression on the Tide staff, according to Tim Watts of BamaOnline (subscription required).
In addition to names such as Robinson and Cornwell, more of the nation’s top prospects were on hand to compete in the camp.
Additionally top out-of-state targets such as Homestead, Fla. 4-star wideout Ermon Lane, Monroe, La. (Neville HS) 4-star safety Laurence Jones and Meridian, Miss. 4-star safety and Ole Miss commit C.J. Hampton are all coveted prospects that spent time in Tuscaloosa earlier this week.
Getting top talent on campus is beneficial for several reasons.
The drills and techniques taught at these camps are no different than what players will encounter at practice should they choose to sign with Alabama. The Tide’s staff gets a chance to demonstrate exactly what they expect their players to do on the field.
It also helps the Tide’s coaches to form a better evaluation of each recruit in attendance, and in turn, sort out the recruiting board at each position.
The bumper crop of skill talent on hand at Alabama this week is a testament to the job done by Saban and his staff in making his camp a hub for the nation’s top prospects to gather and compete against one another.