Nick Saban has already helped the Alabama Crimson Tide assemble an imposing recruiting class for 2014, but the Tide have the potential to land a few more stellar young athletes to truly make this group one to remember.
Instead, the Tide are waiting on three more big recruits to announce their decisions to fill out the remainder of what most recruiting services consider the top class in the nation.
Only time will tell if Alabama can land each one, but it’s hard to doubt the staff’s recruiting mastery.
Elam may be on the Kentucky Wildcats’ home turf, but the Tide are still considered strong contenders for the 4-star defensive tackle’s services.
It’s no surprise why Alabama is interested; a quick glimpse of his highlight video shows that he could be a force in the middle.
Mark Stoops and the Wildcats have wooed the Elizabethtown, Ky., native, but it’s impossible to ignore the influence of the Tide.
"There's a lot to like about Alabama—the defending national champions, the coaching staff, it's just one of the best in the country,” Elam told Wescott Eberts of SB Nation. “And then to get to play on the biggest stages against the best competition, you can't really get that against Kentucky, so there are some pros and cons with that."
Elam, however, might be unable to resist the appeal of his hometown team: 247Sports’ Crystal Ball predictions give Elam a 61 percent chance of choosing Kentucky.
"When Stoops and his staff came in, I feel like they changed the program," Elam told Eberts. "I talked to (Kentucky commit) Drew (Barker) and he was like, 'Man, I wasn't considering them at first, but when Stoops came, I put them to the top of my list.' I feel like that's definitely the case with me, they made such a jump because of what he did at FSU and especially with the defensive line."
Elam plans to announce his decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 4, so Saban and company won’t know for sure until then.
The Tide might’ve already nabbed a stellar offensive tackle in Robinson, but they might able to land another if they can sign Wallace.
The 4-star tackle is a physical beast at 6’6” and 305 pounds, and given his impressive technique, it’s no surprise that Saban has his eye on him.
Wallace is also being pursued by the Arkansas Razorbacks, but it seems increasingly likely that he’ll go with Alabama instead. He’s visited both schools, but he seemed particularly taken with Tuscaloosa.
"Everyone was telling me how impressive Alabama was, and I actually got a chance to see it for myself," Wallace told 247Sports (subscription required).
The Crystal Ball prediction for Wallace heavily favors the Tide, giving Alabama a whopping 82 percent chance of landing the tackle.
Wallace will also wait to announce his decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but it seems like Tide fans can feel pretty confident about his commitment.
The Crimson Tide are surely happy to have landed Brown, widely considered one of the best cornerbacks in the 2014 class; however, Saban isn’t willing to settle for just “one of the best.” Not when Marlon Humphrey, the nation’s top cornerback and the son of former All-American Alabama running back Bobby Humphrey, is still available.
Humphrey may be just 6’1” and 175 pounds, but his speed and technique are both superb, as his highlights suggest.
While the Tide are largely considered heavy favorites to land Humphrey, one team could swoop in and steal him away, as SB Nation’s Bud Elliott explains.
Humphrey's dad Bobby was a star for the Crimson Tide, and son Marlon lives just down the road from Tuscaloosa. If there is a school that can sign Humphrey away from the Tide (it) is Florida State, as Humphrey has a great relationship with Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who coached defensive backs at Alabama for several years previous to joining FSU's staff in 2013. This one will come down to official visits, but (it) is very difficult to pick against the Tide and a chance to be coached by Nick Saban when a five-star Alabama legacy is concerned.
Humphrey has yet to make official visits to either school, but he is set to head to Tallahassee, Fla., on Jan. 17 and Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Jan. 24.
He plans on making his official decision on Feb. 1, but with the Crystal Ball predicting that he has a 95 percent chance to sign with the Tide, the announcement may be a mere formality.
Alabama certainly doesn’t need to sign any of these recruits to still have assembled the best class in college football, but on the heels of a disappointing season (by Saban’s crazy standards) and a loss in the Sugar Bowl, it’d be huge for the Tide to prove that they’re still the premier program in college football by completely dominating in the recruiting arena.
That class produced a bevy of first-round draft picks and a trio of national titles for Saban, and there’s no reason that the Tide won’t aim to accomplish the same things this time around.