Alabama added another top-tier prospect last weekend, when class of 2014 receiver Cameron Sims announced his intentions to join the two-time defending national champions in Tuscaloosa.
The big-bodied wide receiver provides Nick Saban's team with another premier target on the outside and a player physically developed enough to warrant consideration for early playing time.
Sims, a 6'3", 200-pound Louisiana product, visited Alabama's campus this month and made the decision prior to the start of his senior season at Ouachita Parish High School in Monroe, La. He selected the Crimson Tide after weighing several options, including Arkansas, Georgia and Notre Dame, according to 247Sports.
Since Saban arrived at Alabama in 2007, he's made it a point to pick up versatile combo receivers in each recruiting class, highlighted by class of 2008 star, and current NFL Pro Bowler, Julio Jones. Sims' playing style and physical frame fit the mold, which is almost necessary for success when you consider the unparalleled size and speed scattered throughout SEC defensive secondaries.
Sims has above average north-south speed for his size, registered a 4.60 seconds in the 40-yard-dash, and may exceed 6'4" by the time he finishes growing. Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier immediately opened up the team's downfield passing efforts upon his arrival from Washington last year, and the air attack flourished when going up top to receivers matched up one-on-one.
The Crimson Tide are established as a juggernaut on the ground, implementing an arsenal of All-American offensive lineman and running backs each season. As opposing defenses attempt to deny room for the rushing game, Alabama exploits strung out back sevens with well-designed post routes and crossing patterns.
Sims, who hauled in 39 receptions for 948 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior, is a dangerous cover on a fade route and his physical prowess gives him the courage to consistently snag intermediate passes despite dealing with traffic in the heart of defensive coverage. He does an excellent job of attacking the football at its highest point—evidenced by this ESPN.com highlight film—and protects the ball well by keeping a low center of gravity, which minimizes his target for defenders.
Sims will already be 19 years old before his freshman season kicks off, and there are plenty of reasons to assume he has an excellent opportunity to see the field early. Alabama is set to say goodbye to crucial members of its receiving corps.
Kevin Norwood and Kenny Bell, the squad's second- and third-leading receivers last season, are seniors. Meanwhile, 2012 freshman sensation Amari Cooper could be on the fast track to leaving for the NFL following the 2014 campaign.
An opportunity awaits for Sims to seize a significant role in his first season with the Crimson Tide. This chance to shine contributed mightily in his decision to pull the trigger on a commitment.
"The main factor was to be able to play my freshman year and showcase my talent," Sims told ESPNU during a post-announcement interview (h/t AL.com).
It's clear Sims has intentions to make noise early in Tuscaloosa. Now that a commitment is official, the onus is on him to make it happen.
B/R college football columnist Tyler Donohue spent three seasons with the Rutgers University football program's recruiting department, contributing to three classes (2007-09) under head coach Greg Schiano.