Alabama's 5 Most Critical Remaining 2014 Recruiting Targets

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IJanuary 14, 2014

Alabama's 5 Most Critical Remaining 2014 Recruiting Targets

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    Alabama has the No. 1 class in the 247Sports recruiting rankings. Head coach Nick Saban has assembled a crew of prospects that includes four 5-star recruits and 14 4-star players.

    However, Saban is not done with 2014 recruiting, as several elite uncommitted prospects are still interested in the Crimson Tide. However, the list can be whittled down to a solid five crucial targets.

    A big nose tackle is still up for grabs, while a guard could give 'Bama the best offensive line class ever. Plus, a certain 5-star cornerback remains Saban's top recruiting priority.

    Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

Elisha Shaw, DL

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    Alabama is known for playing stout defense, so stocking the defensive line will always be a priority for the Crimson Tide. Elisha Shaw, a 6'4.5", 295-pound defensive lineman from Georgia would be a great fit in 'Bama's 3-4 defense.

    Shaw has solid quickness at the snap, but his strength at the point of attack is what is most impressive. The talented 4-star defensive lineman has the skills to play several positions in the defensive trenches. 

    Shaw recently told Rachel Klein of (subscription required) that he will likely decide between Alabama and Georgia. This could be interesting, as former Alabama defensive line coach Chris Rumph had a close relationship with Shaw, but has left for Texas. 

Rashaan Evans, DE/OLB

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    Rashaan Evans is a 4-star outside linebacker from Alabama who actually plays more like a defensive end. However, at 6'3"and 220 pounds, Evans also has the athletic ability to play the rover position.

    Auburn is Evans' leader, according to 247Sports. Yet, Alabama and UCLA are also in the mix, per Chad Simmons of (subscription required). Prying Evans away from the Tigers would be a nice way for Alabama to get revenge from the epic game played between the two schools in 2013. 

Damien Mama, OL

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    From California, 5-star offensive lineman Damien Mama would be a terrific fit in Alabama's offense. At 6'4" and 370 pounds, Mama is a road-grading blocker who punishes defenders at the point of attack.

    He has quick feet, plus he displays the power and leg-drive to bury defensive linemen and linebackers. Powerfully running the football is the mantra of the Crimson Tide's offense, which Mama can help with.

    USC, UCLA, Alabama and BYU are his finalists, per 247Sports. Mama also plans to take his two-year Mormon mission after a year of college football, according to Talo Stevens of (subscription required).


Matt Elam, DT

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    At 6'5" and 372 pounds, 4-star defensive tackle Matt Elam is a natural space-eater in the trenches. He excels at leaning on offensive linemen and anchoring in the middle to make a mess versus running plays.

    Elam, who is from Kentucky, is down to his in-state school and Alabama, says 247Sports. Landing a player who can play on top of centers and clog holes would help the Crimson Tide's defense continue to smoothly operate. 

Marlon Humphrey, CB

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    Without question, the most crucial recruiting target for Alabama is 5-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey. An in-state recruit for the Crimson Tide, Humphrey's father, Bobby, played running back at Alabama in the late 1980s.

    At 6'1" and 175 pounds, Humphrey is a smart defensive back who is great in off-man and zone coverage. His length and quickness project to him to be an effective press-coverage cornerback, plus he has good ball skills.

    It'll be Alabama or Florida State, according to 247Sports

2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map

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    Don't forget to use the 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map to track all of Alabama's top remaining recruiting targets!

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.