With the Alabama Crimson Tide landing the top recruiting class of 2013, Tide fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Not so for head coach Nick Saban, who has already had his eye on the class of 2014 for a while.
Certain prospects were born to play certain positions. Take Trent Richardson for example. His power, speed and vision all blended together to form a running back with first round talent. Other prospects possess a more versatile set of skills. Some might have the speed of a wide receiver, but also the uncanny ability to read defenses. Some might have the vision of a running back, but the size of a linebacker. For many of these guys, their position in college won’t be decided until a year or two from now.
Today we continue our 2014 position-by-position breakdown as we check in with several of the nation’s top athletes. Since it’s impossible to predict which side of the ball these prospects will end up on, it’s also impossible to predict how many Alabama will sign.
6’2” 220 lb
The very first commitment of Alabama’s 2014 recruiting class is a name Alabama fans should already be familiar with. Long thought to be a lean since his high school is located just five miles from Alabama’s campus, Scarborough finally made it official this past September. He is extremely close with Reuben Foster and it’s been suggested that he played a key factor when Foster ultimately chose to attend the University of Alabama. Although it’s a long way until signing day, Scarborough’s commitment is as solid as they come. He’s been calling and encouraging many of the nation’s top prospects to visit Tuscaloosa.
Scarborough has primarily played running back in high school and is expected to be given an opportunity to continue in that role once he reaches college. Many analysts believe his body hasn’t stopped growing, and if he gets much bigger, the Alabama coaching staff might be more inclined to move him to one of the receiver positions. Although, from a personal standpoint, I need to see see Scarborough carrying the ball out of the back field at least a few times. I’d love nothing more than to see an Alabama running back named “Bo” jump over a scrum of Auburn and Alabama players and into the end zone for a winning touchdown. I’ve already decided to dub it “Bo Over the Top Too.”
6’0” 180 lb
Lattimore is arguably the best player from the state of Ohio this year,and will be tough to pull away from Urban Meyer. His position in college is largely dependent on where he decides to play. If he signs with Alabama, he’s likely destined for a cornerback slot. If he signs with Michigan or Ohio State, he’s much more likely to end up at running back or wide receiver.
He favors Ohio State at this point in his recruitment, and it’s tough to see him deciding to leave the state. He did pick up an Alabama offer earlier this week in addition to previous offers from Florida, Georgia Tech, USC, Michigan Penn State and Tennessee
5’10” 180 lb
New Orleans, LA
More than any other prospect on this list, Noil fits the dictionary’s description of an athlete. His speed and quickness are as good as any you’ll find among the class of 2014 and his stat line over the past two seasons are something you’re much more likely to see in a video game. He’s combined for nearly 4,000 yards passing, over 2,100 yards rushing, and 248 yards receiving. He’s also crossed the goal line a remarkable number of times. He’s combined for 50 passing touchdowns, 28 rushing touchdowns, and three receiving touchdowns.
He was initially offered scholarships by Alabama, LSU and Texas before his sophomore season ever began. But when asked to name a leader, he didn’t budge:
“They’re all equal, and I’m trying to see what’s the best fit for me.”
Ultimately however, LSU is expected to be the team to beat for his signature. He has several family ties to the Tigers including current LSU recruiting coordinator, Frank Wilson.
6’3” 205 lb
The quality of prospects from the Yellowhammer State are as strong as ever for 2014, and Clark is no exception. He’s a powerful hitter who finished with over 150 tackles the previous two seasons. Once a runner breaks into the open field, they rarely-if ever-get past Clark. He’s also a threat on the offensive side of the ball as evidenced by his nearly 2,500 all-purpose yards and 24 touchdowns the past two seasons.
He’s already visited Alabama several times and continues to give Tuscaloosa high marks. Most recently he visited for the Crimson Tide’s Junior Day event in January where he met with Nick Saban and several assistants. Clark made it clear that he doesn’t have a preference for offense or defense and that he’d trust the coaching staff’s judgement when it came to which position he ends up playing in college. He currently holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee and USC.