Alabama and LSU bring in elite recruiting classes on an annual basis, and the 2014 recruiting cycle has done nothing to disturb that trend.
While the Tide and Tigers take different approaches, both teams have assembled classes full of fine talent that warrant a closer look. However, supporters of both programs debate nonstop about which program is better, and now the debate extends to who has a superior 2014 recruiting class.
The Tigers are enjoying another good recruiting cycle. Fourteen players have committed to head coach Les Miles' program, and several elite uncommitted prospects are expected to sign with LSU.
Miles has nine 4-star prospects, says 247Sports, and eight are from Louisiana. The Tigers also have made a bigger push into the fertile grounds of Texas, as they have three commitments from the Lone Star State.
Florida, Mississippi and Oklahoma are also represented in LSU's 2014 recruiting class. Offense is the emphasis of the class, as eight pledges play on that side of the ball.
Alabama has signed some of the most talent-rich classes in modern history over the past several cycles. Expect it to land another fantastic assembly of talent in 2014.
Head coach Nick Saban has 18 commitments, and 12 are 4-star prospects, according to 247Sports. The Crimson Tide's recruiting reach has been on full display, evidenced by the 12 states represented in this class.
The state of Alabama leads the way with three pledges, but states such as California, Georgia and Florida also have multiple commitments.
With nine players on defense, eight on offense and a kicker, the class has excellent balance.
Receiver Trey Quinn, a 4-star recruit, is the Tigers' top offensive prospect. He is a 6'1", 200-pound receiver with great speed, instincts and ball skills.
Brandon Harris is a 4-star quarterback with a high ceiling who has the skills to make plays in the pocket and as a runner. Guards Will Clapp and Garrett Brumfield are 4-star blockers who should help LSU continue to be dominant at the line of scrimmage.
Safety Devin Voorhies is a great athlete, and the 4-star prospect also shows solid awareness.
Bo Scarbrough, who is 6'2" and 225 pounds, is a 5-star athlete who can play running back and receiver. He has great straight-line speed and is a powerful runner with the ball.
Outside linebacker Christian Miller, a 4-star recruit, is great off the edge and could see early playing time. Linebackers Zach Whitley and Shaun Hamilton are 4-star recruits who are perfect fits as inside 'backers in 'Bama's 3-4 defense.
Derek Kief will add more size and length to the Tide's roster, as the 4-star recruit is a 6'5" receiver. The offensive line will be infused with another great round of talent, as 4-star blockers Ross Pierschbacher, Dominick Jackson, JC Hassenauer and Viane Talamaivao all will play in Tuscaloosa.
The best player in the Tigers' class is 4-star defensive back Edward Paris of Mansfield Timberview in Arlington. The Texan is a huge defensive back who stands 6'1" and weighs more than his listed 190 pounds.
Paris has outstanding short-area quickness, as he can recover in a hurry when carrying receivers downfield. He has good strength to press and reroute at the line, can bully his opponents into the sideline and has good instincts.
Paris shows solid ball skills, will support the run by filling an alley and could be a better safety than cornerback.
Several players could be considered the class headliner, but 4-star quarterback David Cornwell of Norman North in Oklahoma is the selection.
Cornwell, who is 6'5" and 241 pounds, has a cannon for an arm. He can pick apart defenses from the pocket by reading coverages, delivers the football with velocity to his targets and has good accuracy.
Although he will not be a dynamic running threat, Cornwell is a deceptive athlete who has above-average mobility. He's a great pocket-passer who throws his receivers open and consistently attacks the third level of the defense.
Sorry, LSU fans, but Alabama has the better recruiting—for now. Until the Tigers land the several great uncommitted recruits high on their board, the Tide will be ahead of them.
Alabama not only has more commitments, but also better depth and quality. LSU has 14 total commitments, while 'Bama alone has 12 4-star pledges.
LSU will close the gap before the end of this cycle, but at the moment, it's party time in Tuscaloosa.