The Alabama Crimson Tide have once again put together a very solid recruiting class. Although nothing is official yet, they will likely have the top recruiting class once again, which could help them regain some composure in the SEC after shakily finishing last season.
Alabama has a few positions that need tightening up, and they've already took some big steps toward that. Their biggest roster holes lie on defense, with the defensive line and secondary both needing some help. What could possibly aid Alabama most this coming season is its incoming recruiting class.
They have 22 signees so far (you can track them all here, courtesy of B/R's Mike Chiari), including 5-star prospects such as defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and defensive back Marlon Humphrey. Both players will have a chance to contribute right away and will also fill a position of need for Alabama.
They're losing several key defenders to this year's NFL draft and may need to lean on guys like Hand and Humphrey to maintain and improve what they've had going defensively.
Hand will be especially helpful in the pass-rushing department, which is where 'Bama struggled at times in 2013. As the No. 1 guy in Rivals100's prospect rankings, Hand is extremely powerful and quick off the edge. He will bring a new dimension to the Tide's defense and will be an impact player right away.
Alabama was also able to land 3-star defensive tackle Elisha Shaw out of Georgia. Although he is already a talented player, Shaw does have room to improve. If anyone can bring out the best in him, it's Nick Saban and his coaching staff.
He has great size (6'6", 295 pounds) but has the frame to put on plenty more size during these next few years, and he could turn into a star player for the Tide.
Another position of need for 'Bama is offensive tackle, which will be remedied by incoming freshman Cameron Robinson. The 5-star lineman has the ideal size for a tackle and could end up being the replacement for former college football star Cyrus Kouandjio (he's already 20 pounds heavier).
While there's no guarantee he'll be ready to start immediately—especially at left tackle—Robinson has as good a chance as any to land a starting spot as a cog in Alabama's machine.
There'll be a whole lot of new faces on the field for the Crimson Tide next season, and they could be what pushes them over the edge on their road back to the top of the SEC.