Alabama Crimson Tide 2014 Recruiting Update: Defense

Alabama is looking to change the helmet number on a regular basis. - Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The second in a two-parter examines the Class of 2014 recruiting on the defensive side.

The Crimson Tide currently has 14 verbal commitments for the Class of 2014:

Name Pos Location Ht Wt
David Cornwell QB Norman, OK (North) 6'5" 235
Derek Kief WR Cincinnati, OH (La Salle) 6'4" 199
Bo Scarbrough ATH Northport, AL (Tuscaloosa County) 6'2" 222
J.C. Hassenauer C Woodbury, MN (East Ridge) 6'3" 295
Viane Talamaivao OG Corona, CA (Centennial) 6'3" 300
Dominick Jackson OT San Mateo, CA (College of San Mateo) 6'7" 312
Kalvaraz Bessent DB Kingsland, GA (Camden County) 6'1" 188
Stephen Roberts DB Opelika, AL (Opelika) 6'1" 179
Chris Williams DB Kingsland, GA (Camden County) 6'2" 180
Johnny Dwight DT Rochelle, GA (Wilcox County) 6'3" 298
O.J. Smith DT Bossier City, LA (Airline) 6'2" 330
Shaun Dion Hamilton LB Montgomery, AL (Carver) 6'0" 241
Zach Whitley LB Galena Park, TX (North Shore) 6'2" 222
JK Scott K Denver, CO (Mullen) 6'5" 185

Alabama is limited to 25 total scholarships per year. Figuring out the defensive targets is not quite as clear as it was for the offense. As we have seen so far, the Alabama staff has a special criteria for the players they want. Which means, the highest "rated" players may not especially be on the Tide's board. Hence you get some lesser known guys. But rest assured, Coach Nick Saban & staff have seen most of these guys up close - mostly at Alabama camps.

Many things could happen between today and February 5, 2014. Below is a breakdown by position for how 2014 recruiting looks for Alabama ... for now.

Cornerback - Kalvaraz Bessent (6-1/190) of Kingsland, GA and Stephen Roberts (watch this kid's reel. You will love him) (6-1/180) of Opelika, AL are already on board.
It is in this observer's humble opinion that Marlon Humphrey (6-0/185) is a firm "silent" commitment to Alabama. Being a top 10 player, the Hoover 5-star has the luxury of waiting until February to announce.
I am not sure if there is much more room for corners after these three but other possibilities include:
* Jalen Tabor, 6-0/180 4-star from Washington, DC - Florida the favorite over Bama, FSU, Maryland, and Vanderbilt.
* Tony Brown, 6-0/185 5-star, Beaumont, TX - LSU is the favorite.
* Chris Lammons, CB/ATH 5-9/170 4-star, Plantation, FL - Miami lean.
* Nick Watkins, 6-1/180 4-star who attends Catholic school in Dallas, TX, is a Notre Dame lean.

Safety - Bessent's teammate Chris Williams, 6-2/180 has committed. The Crimson Tide is also looking at C.J. Hampton, 6-2/195 from Meridian, MS who committed to Ole Miss over a year ago but may be wavering.
Also on the radar is Laurence Jones, 6-2/210 4-star from Monroe, LA.

(Seeing how Saban was trying out some offensive players at DB this past spring, there appears to be a need in the defensive backfield. By the way, I don't see 5-star Jabrill Peppers flipping from Michigan unless something crazy happens.)

Defensive Tackle - O.J. Smith (6-2/330) is a recent Bama commit. The Bossier City NT turned in a solid performance at Bama’s OL/DL in June. Johnny Dwight (6-3 300) has committed as well.
Many of you are well aware of 5-star Matt Elam. The 6-6/325 Elizabethtown, KY native is one of the top D-linemen in the nation. It appears to be coming down to whether he is willing to leave his home state for the potential glories of Tuscaloosa. UK might have a slight edge.
Charles Mosley is a 4-star DT/OT prospect out of Brighton, TN who really likes the Crimson Tide. Saban offered him on NSD 2013 and was one of the first to offer him. Elisha Shaw, (6-6/300) 4-star from Atlanta, looks to be down to UGA, and newcomer Ole Miss but Bama is still in the chase. Josh Frazier, 6-3/335 4-star is a hard lean to his home state team Arkansas. Brooklyn's Thomas Holley is a wild card.

Defensive End - Lorenzo Carter (6-5/230) from Norcross, GA is a strong Bama lean. He is on everyone's overall top 5 and deservedly so (click on his name for video).
One of 2014's top-rated overall player is Da’Shawn Hand of Woodbridge, VA. The 6-4/250 lbs defensive end has Alabama in his final 3 along with Michigan and Florida. Get comfortable. This might take a while.
Davon Godchaux, DE 6-4/270 4-star (5.8) Plaquemine, LA - was a top performer at the Rivals 5-star Challenge and at Bama’s OL/DL camp, subsequently receiving an offer from Alabama. The Crimson Tide staff have some catching up to do on him. Dante Sawyer, 6-3/235 4-star from Suwanee, GA is looking at Auburn, Bama, and UGA. Jesse Aniebonam, 6-4/225 4-star, Olney, MD is leaning towards his home state team Maryland with Alabama right behind.

Linebacker - Shaun Dion Hamilton, (6-0/235) 4-star from Montgomery is a commit, as is Galena Park, TX 4-star Zach Whitley (6-2/225).
More LB candidates include:
* Ronnie Clark (6-3/205) also plays on offense for Calera, AL. The 4-star is a Bama lean over Auburn.
* Christian Miller (6-4/200) 4-star from Columbia, SC de-committed from Florida in May. The Tide leads with Florida still a possibility. UGA is playing catch-up. (Note: S. Carolina & Clemson are not being considered at th is time)
* Raekwon McMillan, 6-2/245 5-star, Hinesville, GA - Ohio State seems to have a spell on him but Bama is still in the running. This one likely comes down to February.

Punter - JK Scott, K/P 6-5 185, Denver, CO - Bama commitment.

* As space is limited in this article, there are so many other prospects out there that could not be mentioned. If history tells us anything, it's that Saban will probably have most of his Class of 2014 locked down by Christmas 2013.

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