Tennessee vs. Alabama: Whose 2014 Recruiting Class Is Better Right Now?
Tennessee and Alabama are set to play each other this weekend in Tuscaloosa. This will be an emotional game, as the two storied SEC programs do not like each other.
Alabama has been a bully to the Vols in recent years, but Tennessee is operating with renewed confidence under new head coach Butch Jones. The Volunteers' new energy has also helped them on the recruiting trail, where they have assembled an impressive list of commitments.
However, 'Bama has also done an exceptional job of acquiring players. With this Saturday's game right around the corner, it's time to see which program has the better recruiting class.
Tennessee's 2014 Recruiting Class Capsule
Tennessee's rise in recruiting is one of the biggest stories of the year. The Volunteers are back to their old ways, as they have one of the best classes in the SEC.
Head coach Butch Jones has been fearless on the recruiting trail. He has 27 commitments, and more than 10 different states are represented in Tennessee's recruiting class. Not only is the class talented, but several players could help immediately in Knoxville.
The group features 11 offensive players, another 11 defensive recruits, four athletes and a kicker.
Alabama's 2014 Recruiting Class Capsule
Alabama is a dominant recruiting program, and it is doing nothing to damage its reputation. Properly evaluating players is emphasized in Tuscaloosa, and its 2014 class is loaded.
Head coach Nick Saban has assembled a great 21-man recruiting class. He's plucked players from 12 different states, including Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, California and, of course, Alabama.
'Bama has 10 defensive commitments to go along with nine offensive recruits, one athlete and a kicker. The offensive line has six commitments, while the secondary will receive five new players next season.
Tennessee's Top 2014 Commitments
Todd Kelly, a 4-star recruit, is a future team captain for the Vols. The 6'1", 200-pound safety has good size and intelligence.
Dillon Bates is a tough 4-star linebacker with deceptive straight-line speed. Derek Barnett plays defensive end now, but the 4-star prospect likely will develop into a good defensive tackle. Joe Henderson will help pressure passers in Knoxville, as the 4-star defensive end has solid quickness off the line.
Lavon Pearson and Dominique Booth are 4-star receivers who could immediately help Tennessee's offense. JUCO offensive tackle Dontavius Blair, a 4-star blocker, has excellent size at 6'8" and 302 pounds.
Alabama's Top 2014 Commitments
The Crimson Tide's ability to get after quarterbacks will be helped by the addition of 4-star outside linebacker/defensive end Christian Miller. The South Carolina native is a perfect fit for 'Bama's hybrid 3-4/4-3 defensive scheme.
Quarterback David Cornwell has elite size at 6'5" and 241 pounds, plus he possesses exceptional arm strength. The offensive line will receive a great boost from 4-star prospects such as Ross Pierschbacher, Viane Talamaivao, Dominick Jackson and JC Hassenauer.
Receivers Cameron Sims and Derek Kief are 4-star recruits who will give Alabama's offense more firepower on the perimeter. They will face great competition in practice from 4-star cornerbacks Kalvaraz Bessent and Stephen Roberts.
Tennessee's 2014 Recruiting Class Headliner
The best player in the Vols' recruiting class is 5-star recruit Jalen Hurd, who likely will play running back. Looking powerful at 6'3" and 220 pounds, the Tennessee native actually has a running style that is based on speed and quickness.
Hurd does a great job of reading blocks behind the line of scrimmage. He displays a terrific burst to and through holes to quickly reach the second level of the defense. Although he runs upright at times, Hurd's acceleration helps him skate past defenders in alleys.
He has quick feet, evidenced by his ability to make speed-cuts. Hurd is elusive in the open field, where he rarely allows defenders to get clean shots on him. The future Vol also can help in the passing game due to his great hands.
Although he needs to run better behind his pads, Hurd has a chance to play early for Tennessee.
Alabama's 2014 Recruiting Class Headliner
Alabama has a class full of elite talent, but the top prospect is left tackle Cameron Robinson, who is from Louisiana. The 5-star offensive lineman is so talented that he could be ready to play for the Crimson Tide now.
Robinson is a dancing bear at 6'5" and 330 pounds. He can explode out of his stance to keep his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage when setting up deep in the pocket. Robinson bends naturally at the knees, which helps his fantastic athleticism and agility.
He slides well in space plus displays the quickness to adjust to inside moves. Robinson also has the ability to perform several various types of blocks on running plays and can get his hat on linebackers on the second level.
He needs to improve his hand placement and footwork, but there is no doubt that Robinson has the potential to be an All-American left tackle.
This was one of the closest battles of the year, as both classes have great quality and quantity. However, the winner is Alabama.
Tennessee has 14 4-star-or-higher recruits, but Alabama checks in with 15. Plus the Vols have 13 3-star prospects, while 'Bama only has six.
Tennessee is not far behind the Crimson Tide, but the folks in Tuscaloosa are still out in front.
2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map
The 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map can be used to track recruits from all over the country. It is an informative interactive resource that should be used by all recruiting fans!