There is no such thing as a "lock" in college football recruiting. The sooner you figure that out as a recruiting fan, the easier your life gets.
Honestly, it was a tough lesson to learn as an analyst as well, but once it starts to make sense, it really puts the whole world of college football recruiting into perspective.
That's why even though 89 percent of the 27 experts who predicted 4-star wideout Cameron Sims' 247Sports Crystal Ball will wind up at Alabama, one still doesn't feel comfortable telling you that he's a lock. After all, 11 percent did pick Ole Miss, and they obviously have some sort of gut feeling or information that they're choosing off of.
Still, it's easy to see why Sims may look like he's leaning toward the Crimson Tide. For one, it's Alabama, and any recruit worth his salt knows that Nick Saban provides his team with the best chance to win a national championship in the here and now.
Two, Alabama's 2014 class only has one wide receiver committed so far, 4-star Derek Keif out of Cincinnati, Ohio. The depth chart is always going to be stacked in Tuscaloosa, but at the very least, Sims wouldn't have much competition within his own class.
Three, Sims recently took an unofficial visit to Alabama with No. 1 recruit Cameron Robinson, and now he's ready to make a commitment, per his assistant coach, Dean Smith, on Twitter (h/t Wesley Sinor of AL.com):
Wanting to make a decision so soon after visiting could indicate good news for Alabama, but there are still four other schools to think about as well.
Coach Smith also went on to tweet Sims' top five:
As you can see, this is far from a one-school race. Alabama may be the most notable team on that interest list, but the other four schools are there for a reason. In particular, don't count out Ole Miss. Hugh Freeze and the Rebels landed a plethora of elite recruits last cycle, and believe it or not, they can compete with Alabama for a big-time recruit.
That's why even though 'Bama looks set up nicely here, Sims still isn't a lock.
In recruiting, anything can happen. It's fickle in nature and unexpected to say the least.
Remember, these are kids we're talking about, and kids sometimes go back on their word. Kids have a hard time making decisions, especially with something as big as education and football at the college level.
If somebody claims to know that a kid is a lock to a certain school, I'd take it with a grain of salt.
Even if you hear it from the recruit personally, it may not come to fruition. Even national letters of intent can be reversed nowadays under the right circumstances.
Anyhow, that's all just a lot of words to get across one simple message: There's no such thing as a lock in recruiting, even for Alabama.