The commitment from defensive end Da’Shawn Hand from Woodbridge (Va.) Senior High School on Thursday proved again Alabama is the most dominant recruiting school in the country.
The Crimson Tide already had the nation’s No. 1 class for 2014. The No. 1 prospect overall from Rivals just added to Alabama’s talent-rich class.
“Why not go where there’s a great possibility you can win a national championship?” Hand asked following his announcement on Thursday.
Alabama offers the best chance to win a title, and it isn’t close. That’s what helped the Crimson Tide beat out Florida and Michigan for Hand’s services.
Hand made it clear throughout the recruiting process that academics would be a big part of his decision. That was a key reason he eliminated in-state power Virginia Tech early in the recruiting process. Alabama offered everything Hand wanted from academics to football.
“They offer the best of both worlds,” Hand said. “I’ll start with academics. They have my major, civil engineering, and I met with the dean. I’ve seen the labs, fell in love, been on the campus. The campus life is amazing and I know half the players already.”
Alabama has 23 commitments for the 2014 class. Of those 23 commitments, 15 are ranked inside the Rivals250. Georgia (11) is the only other school in the country with more than 10 commitments ranked inside the top 250.
Hand’s commitment gives Alabama the nation’s top-ranked defensive end to go with the top offensive tackle in the country. Cameron Robinson from West Monroe (La.) High School committed to the Crimson Tide in September.
Another statement from Alabama’s impressive run in recruiting: look at the separation between Alabama and No. 2 ranked Tennessee in the 247Sports Team Rankings. There’s a wider gap between Alabama and Tennessee (36.92 points) than Tennessee and No. 13 Auburn (36.45).
Not only is Alabama No. 1, but there isn’t a close second.
The Crimson Tide will continue to recruit the nation’s top prospects. Leonard Fournette, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 1 running back by Rivals, visited Alabama last weekend.
“They are just Alabama,” Fournette, who’s also strongly considering LSU, told ESPN RecruitingNation. “They have a great program and great coaches.”
Alabama is also in the running for such highly-touted prospects as defensive end Lorenzo Carter, defensive tackle Matt Elam, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, safety Laurence “Hootie” Jones and linebacker Raekwon McMillan.
Alabama’s recruiting can’t actually get better, can it? Well, it kind of just did.
Alabama is about to sign the nation’s best class according to Rivals for the sixth time in seven years. But Alabama has never landed the nation’s No. 1 ranked prospect — until Thursday.
Vols’ commitment list continues to grow
Tennessee is up to 31 commitments for the 2014 class after they received pledges from defensive linemen Dimarya Mixon from Mesquite, Texas, and Cory Thomas from McCalla, Ala.
With spots on Tennessee’s commitment list filling up, Thomas said he didn’t want to “beat around the bush” with his recruitment. That’s why he told Volquest.com he went ahead and pulled the trigger on his commitment.
“I’ve known for a couple of months,” Thomas said. “Clemson was my No. 2, but nothing beats Tennessee. It’s a great school and they have so much to offer.”
Tennessee has offered scholarships to several uncommitted prospects despite a limited number of spots available in the 2014 class. It has been believed that Tennessee can only sign 30 prospects in 2014, although Jimmy Hyams of WNML Radio in Knoxville reported this week the Vols have a “secret” plan to bring in more than 30.
Still, with 31 players already committed, it’s worth asking how Tennessee plans to bring in so many players in the upcoming class.
The Vols are still recruiting such prospects as cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, wide receiver Josh Malone, defensive tackle Charles Mosley and offensive tackle David Sharpe. Several other prospects have committable offers from Tennessee, including Marrero, La., running back Darrel Williams, who just received an invitation from the Vols this week.
How will Tennessee fit everyone in? As coaches often say, “The numbers will work themselves out.” The Vols will have a lot of working out to do.
Missouri climbs the rankings
Missouri moved up eight spots in the recent update to the ESPN class rankings for 2014.
The Tigers improved from No. 40 to No. 32 in the rankings after they landed commitments from offensive linemen Andy Bauer and linebacker Brandon Lee. Missouri still has a ways to go to catch the top teams in the SEC, but it’s clear the Tigers are benefiting from their on-field success this season.
“I don’t think there’s any question about that. Yeah, it’s been very, very positive,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said Pinkel, according to ESPN. “That’s a benefit that happens with success. It’s nice to have a lot of people interested in us.”
Pinkel accurately stated Missouri hasn’t appeared out of nowhere. He and the Tigers had plenty of success in the Big 12 but stumbled in 2012 during their first year in the SEC.
“We had a great reputation for winning and a consistency of winning, graduation, APR ranking and all those other things,” Pinkel said. “It’s not like a brand new staff that’s just showed up somewhere.”
They just offer more credibility now when they call recruits about joining them in the SEC. Their success this season offers the proof.
Report: SEC leads for Morgan
The SEC continues to be the likely destination for linebacker Nyles Morgan from Crete-Monee High School in Crete, Ill., according to ESPN.
Morgan has already visited Ole Miss and Notre Dame and has trips scheduled to Florida and Vanderbilt. Tennessee and Texas A&M are battling for his fifth official visit.
Ole Miss has a strengthened connection to Morgan thanks to the arrival and success of freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, who was Morgan’s teammate at Crete-Monee. The Rebels have established somewhat of a pipeline to the school in recent years by signing Treadwell and linebacker Anthony Standifer, who was actually dismissed from the team last month.
Available playing time will certainly be a factor in Morgan’s decision. He told Rivals he has carefully studied each team’s depth chart.
“Actually, it seems like a lot of teams are losing their linebackers,” Morgan said. “I know people always tell you that, but when you start looking at depth charts it is actually true.”
Morgan is expected to announce his decision on Jan. 4, but he also plans to visit Vanderbilt in late January. That means his recruitment will likely last until close to signing day.
“It looks that way, unless I change my mind about the official,” Morgan said.