Marlon Humphrey is the nation's top cornerback recruit, according to the 247Sports composite rankings, so naturally, Alabama appears to be his favorite. That said, the Florida State Seminoles have an X-factor that even Nick Saban and his staff don't possess. At least, not anymore.
Florida State still seems like a slight outlier at this point, but if the Seminoles want to make a legitimate run for Humphrey's commitment, their X-factor is undoubtedly defensive coordinator and former Crimson Tide defensive backs coach Jeremy Pruitt.
Pruitt has been leading up the Seminoles' recruiting push for Humphrey, per Corey Dowlar of ESPN.com (subscription required):
Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, Florida State's strongest current tie to the state of Alabama as the Crimson Tide's former defensive backs coach, leads the Seminoles' efforts for Humphrey. The two have a strong relationship.
Pruitt remains persistent, asking the top prospect from Alabama to keep an eye on Tallahassee.
"He is a pretty good guy," Humphrey said. "He keeps telling me to look at Florida State; they have a great program here. I want to play two sports, and I can do that here -- they've got guys doing that already. A lot of good things about Florida State."
Why is Humphrey talking about Pruitt and Florida State?
According to Dowlar's report, he had stopped by at the Jimbo Fisher Camp to unofficially visit FSU. During that visit, he talked to Florida State star commitments Kain Daub and Trey Marshall, per Dowlar. He also said that he'll "definitely" take an official to Tallahassee.
While that's all great news for the Seminoles, he did admit that 'Bama was his leader, according to Dowlar's report:
The Crimson Tide currently hold an edge, but Humphrey said the race is still yet to be run, and where and when he crosses the finish line is unknown.
"Probably Alabama as my leader," he said. "But I kind of have all of them together. I'm not even thinking of committing anytime soon.
Humphrey may be an Alabama lean, but at the very least, he's left the door open for programs like Florida State.
If there's a recruiter out there who can capitalize, it would be Pruitt.
FSU's new defensive coordinator played a huge role last cycle in flipping one-time Alabama commitment DeMarcus Walker, landing 5-star outside linebacker Matthew Thomas and flipping former USC commitment Jalen Ramsey.
He's known as a great recruiter, and his connection to Alabama has certainly helped him gain an "in" with some of the best defensive recruits in the nation. In fact, according to last cycle's 247Sports recruiter rankings, Pruitt was the national recruiter of the year.
Pruitt is easily one of the elite recruiters in college football, and it's going to take an elite effort for FSU to out-recruit 'Bama for Humphrey.
The good news is, it seems as if the Seminoles' ace is already making an effort to get Florida State higher up on the 5-star cornerback's interest list.