Alabama landed its 12th commitment for the class of 2014 this afternoon when Derek Kief announced his intent to play for the Crimson Tide on his twitter account.
Of all the positions on the football field, wide receiver is probably the one most associated with self promotion. In that respect, Kief appears to be more "rule" than "exception", as evidenced by his website - DerekKief.com.*
Derek is a consensus four star wide receiver hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio. At 6'5" 200 pounds, Kief has the raw measurables to be the type of big target that Bama has found to be few and far between.
Kief doesn't have any official 40 times posted anywhere that I can find, but his tape shows that he has plenty of speed to go along with that frame, as he runs past some well-regarded DBs, even when given a large cushion. He's considered to have good hands, but one thing that I noticed when watching his tape is that he sometimes has a tendency to let the ball come all the way to his body, rather than reach out and catch it away from himself. In all, that's a small quibble, and Kief looks to have the potential to make some serious waves in a few years.
Given the absurd depth at wide receiver right now, I would expect Kief to come in and redshirt his first year, taking the opportunity to fill out his frame and hone his fundamentals. 2015 should be a big year for wide receiver turnaround, though, and Kief should be in the thick of the conversation when the battles for playing time heat up.
As far as the class of 2014 is concerned, Alabama's depth at wide receiver has led to the general thought that Coach Nick Saban will only add two pass catchers in the class of 2014. With the addition of Kief that leaves potentially one open slot. The leading target is Ermon Lane of Homestead, Florida followed by Cameron Sims of Ouachita Parish HS in Monroe, LA.
Lane is ranked as the top 1 or 2 receiver and has been impressive at the various 7-on-7 competitions around the country. He looks to be leaning towards Alabama over Miami and Florida. The freshman success of Miami native Amari Cooper surely has increased the appeal of playing in Tuscaloosa.
The Tide recruiting staff has been making serious inroads into northern Louisiana (Denzel Devall, O.J. Smith) and Sims is a part of that. He is not ranked as high as Lane but looks to be favoring Alabama over Georgia, Auburn, Oklahoma State, and LSU.
Other things to consider, Bama 2013 signee Robert Foster is still waiting on the NCAA Clearinghouse to clear him so that he can enroll this summer. 2014 commit Bo Scarborough has been playing some receiver at the 7-on-7's and has looked good.
Here's a highlight video from DerekKief.com (**terrible music alert**)
And here's another video, this time from Rivals Under Armour Camp. Soundtrack is again original and customized. Someone in his family has the hype machine for this kid at full throttle.
* It should be noted that the website indicates that it is run by Derek's uncle, and is not reflective of Derek's "demeanor". Do with that info what you will, but I tend to disregard it entirely. The uncle apparently takes trips with Derek, and is obviously fed information to post on the site. Whether Derek expressly or tacitly endorses the site, its existence represents a stamp of approval. All of that being said, I couldn't care less about whether a kid runs a website to self promote and try to land in the best situation possible.