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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Will Hamilton Begin Strong Week For Alabama?

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxAlabama seemed past due for a commitment when the week began.

The Crimson Tide entered the week with only three commitments for the 2013 class. It had been almost a month (March 19) since defensive back Chris Williams from Kingsland, Ga., had given his pledge to Alabama.

That’s why the timing was right for linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton to commit to the Crimson Tide on Wednesday. The standout from Carver High School in Montgomery, Ala., chose Alabama over Auburn and Tennessee.

“(Alabama) is a great program,” Hamilton said, according to AL.com. “Coach (Nick) Saban is a great coach. They’re known for winning championships, you know they’re going to be in a BCS bowl every year. I just love Alabama.”

Alabama would love to add to its class this weekend. With A-Day coming up for Alabama on Saturday, many of the nation’s top prospects will be in Tuscaloosa to see the Crimson Tide play their spring game.

The list of talented prospects planning to visit Alabama this weekend include quarterback David Cornwell from Norman, Okla., linebackers Clifton Garrett from Joliet, Ill., and Tre Williams from Mobile, Ala., cornerback Marlon Humphrey from Hoover, Ala., and defensive tackle Elisha Shaw from Atlanta.

That’s just the beginning of a strong list of prospects who plan to visit Tuscaloosa this weekend. The list is also fluid, of course. Prospects often plan to make trips only to change their mind and stay home.

Humphrey, who’s been busy with his track season, could decide to stay home this weekend, according to TideSports.com. But that wouldn’t diminish his importance to Alabama’s class.

Humphrey, whose father played football at Alabama, is one of the top targets on the Crimson Tide’s board. A recent profile from ESPN RecruitingNation explained why:

“Not only is Humphrey the top player in the state, he’s also an Alabama legacy. However, the coaching staff wants him because of his ability to play. He’s physical. He’s long. He’s fast. He makes plays. He’s just what Nick Saban wants in a cornerback.”

Alabama fans would probably like to see more commitments. Alabama’s 2014 class is ranked No. 14 in the nation by Rivals.com, which is sixth best in the SEC. Still, only Southern California has four or less commitments and is ranked higher (No. 12) than Alabama.

Crimson Tide fans have nothing to worry about with the 2014 class. Alabama still has its championships and Nick Saban to sell to prospects.

And with a large collection of highly-touted prospects on campus this weekend, expect more prospects to follow Hamilton’s lead and commit to the Crimson Tide soon.

 

ESPN150 Released

ESPN revealed its top 150 list for the 2014 class on Thursday.

The nation’s top prospect: running back Leonard Fournette from New Orleans. Fournette’s size (6-1, 232) and versatility are two of his best attributes, according to ESPN.

“They don’t come around this big and this fast often, and what makes Fournette such a rare prospect is the fact that he is also elusive and can make defenders miss just as effectively as he will run them over. If he lands in a downhill offense, we see major production at the next level, and it should come early. While an excellent running back prospect with immediate impact ability, he might be just as impressive at outside linebacker, which shows the real significance of his five-star value.”

Many LSU fans hope Fournette will decide to stay in-state and play for the Tigers, while rival Alabama has also made a strong push. He’s previously indicated he will take his time with schools such as Florida, Texas A&M, Florida State, Southern California and Texas showing heavy interest.

The highest-rated SEC commitment on ESPN’s 150 list is actually a projected running back: Bo Scarbrough, who’s committed to Alabama. The Crimson Tide has two other commitments among the top 150: Hamilton and cornerback Kalvaraz Bessent from Kingsland, Ga.

Florida and LSU lead the SEC with four commitments each on the ESPN150 list.

Florida, led by running back Dalvin Cook (No. 20), has nine commitments total for the 2014 class. LSU, with safety Ed Paris Jr. (No. 53) topping its list, has eight commitments for the 2014 class.

Other SEC schools with commitments on the ESPN150 list: Arkansas (1), Ole Miss (1), Tennessee (2) and Texas A&M (3).

 

Tennessee hopes for spring game splash

The Vols have created several headlines in recruiting this spring, most notably with commitments from running back Jalen Hurd and safety Todd Kelly Jr. (both ESPN150 members).

Tennessee, which has nine commitments for the 2014 class, will host several highly-touted prospects this weekend for its spring game.

Prospects expected to be in Knoxville this weekend include athlete Derek Barnett from Brentwood, Tenn., quarterback David Cornwell (Sunday following his Alabama visit), athlete Rashaan Gaulden from Nashville, Tenn., safety Nick Glass from Suwanee, Ga., and safety Cortez McDowell from Locust Grove, Ga.

McDowell will be one prospect to watch this weekend. The nation’s No. 17 safety by Rivals has shown serious interest in the Vols and could pull the trigger on a commitment. Tennessee safety Byron Moore, who’s been aggressive in helping recruit for Tennessee, issued a public challenge to McDowell this week.

Tennessee hopes recent momentum will carryover into the weekend and summer months. Tennessee’s nine commitments is well ahead of its pace in recent years.

 

Wiggins Watch

The college basketball world continues to focus on top prospect Andrew Wiggins, who’s still considering Kentucky, Florida State, Kansas and North Carolina.

Sporting News is the latest to weigh in on the upcoming decision of Hungtinton Prep’s standout forward.

One analyst called it a “coin flip” between Kentucky and Florida State. Another analyst gave the edge to Florida State.

“I believe Wiggins chooses Florida State because of his father’s (and mother’s) alumni status, his best friend Xavier Rathan-Mayes (who’s already committed to FSU) is attending, and he wants to be the guy, not just one of many,” the analyst said.

It’s worth pointing out that many people are speculating on what Wiggins will do. He reminded everyone of that last week.

 


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