John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
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.
A position once that looked stacked will look a lot less so following the departure of Kevin Norwood and Kenny Bell after the 2013 season. That leaves 6-foot-1 Amari Cooper, 6-foot-4 Raheem Falkins and 6-foot DeAndrew White as the only scholarship wide receivers over six feet tall. Today we continue our 2014 position-by-position breakdown as we check in with several of the nation’s top wide receivers who might help Alabama fill the need for a tall, rangy, outside wide receiver.
6’3″ 185 lb
Lane doesn’t play in a wide-open offense in high school, so his stats don’t pop off the screen the way others might. Over the last two seasons he’s caught a total of 52 passes for 1,480 yards and 15 TD’s. The most impressive statistic hidden in those numbers is his yards per catch. Over the past two seasons, he’s averaged over 28 yards per catch. Lane’s best trait is his ability to run crisp routes. He’s very similar to Amari Cooper in this regard, but is a bit taller. Lane has the potential for a big play every time he approaches the line of scrimmage.
As of February of this year, Lane already reported having 18 scholarship offers, including ones from Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ohio State, Nebraska, Florida, Florida State and Miami. He received his offer from the Crimson Tide last year when he visited Alabama and Coach Nick Saban during summer camp. He’s gone back and forth on his favorites over the past year. Last July he listed Alabama, Miami and FSU as his top three, but more recently he’s claimed that no team has separated itself from the pack. Any team that can offer early playing time is expected to have an edge.
6’4” 195 lb
If you’re looking for a comparison, take a peek at Raheem Falkins profile from last year; they’re almost mirror images of each other. The one thing Sims may have on Falkins however is a slightly faster 40 time.
Like the previous receiver on this list, Sims may not currently play in the most wide open offense, but if you look close enough, his explosiveness is there. He averaged over 26 yards per catch and one TD for every three receptions he made as a sophomore. After rival coaches had a season of scouting him, he still managed to average 25 yards per catch as a junior after racking up 37 receptions for 917 yards and eight touchdowns.
How talented is Sims? In addition to football offers from Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, TCU and Cal, he also has basketball offers from Louisiana Tech and Louisiana Monroe. He averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds per game this past season as a junior. You’ll notice one school that wasn’t on his list of offers, LSU, which is one reason Sims hasn’t named a favorite. If LSU offers, it’s expected to be a tough task for any school to pull Sims from his home state Tigers.
6’3″ 205 lb
You’ll have to forgive folks in South Alabama if they start comparing Bingham to another Foley native, Julio Jones. The size and position make the association seem natural, but comparing Bingham to one of the greatest Alabama receivers of all time is probably a bit unfair. It’s an often overlooked trait, but few – if any – high school wide receivers possessed the run blocking ability that Julio brought to the table. After visiting with the Alabama coaching staff during a recent unofficial visit, run blocking was the main skill Bingham was encouraged to work on. The one area where comparisons are warranted is Bingham’s ability to catch the ball at its highest point. After watching him do this on tape a few times, you’ll see why the comparisons to Julio are out there.
Bingham doesn’t currently hold offers from any Division 1 team, but that’s expected to change over the summer when he hits the camp circuit. Although he lists Alabama, Auburn and LSU as his three favorites, the Crimson Tide will be the overwhelming favorites to land Bingham whenever they choose to extend an offer.