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Alabama Football Recruiting 2014: A Primer

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Kicking off a series of analyzing the recruiting outlook of the class of 2015 for the Alabama Crimson Tide

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Who remembers where you were the moment you heard that the once-in-a-generation receiver out of Foley, Alabama, Julio Jones, committed to play for Nick Saban?

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What about biting your nails and fidgeting, just waiting for the decision of the brash cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, or sitting all the way through the UnderArmour All-American game to see if elite safety prospect Landon Collins would spurn his home team, LSU (famously against his own mother's wishes)?

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But do you remember when the wide receiver from Florida, Eddie Jackson, first committed to play? Or even when 5-star athlete, Bo Scarbrough announced his decision to play for the best team in the nation?

Yeeaahhh... Me neither.

Outside of Reuben Foster momentarily cheating on us with some irrelevant secretary briefly committing to Auburn University, and maybe some rumors that Derrick Henry might flip his commitment back to Georgia, I feel like our excitement towards recruiting has dwindled. Maybe it is because recruits are committing earlier and earlier these days (possibly out of fear of not enough open spots), or maybe we have just become numb to the hordes of elite High School talent flooding its way onto campus in the spring and summer.

In the coming weeks, and leading all the way up to the end of the season, when recruiting coverage really gets ramped up, I will be occasionally previewing each position by looking at the players already on roster, the recruits already committed, and even guys that may be considering coming to play for Nick.

For now, I am still playing around with the post editor here, and just getting my feet wet with the features. I made up a handy little chart that shows a breakdown of each position by age, the number of players I expect to leave the team from that position at the end of next year, and the number of commitments we already have for that position right now. Hopefully, this will give us some insight into where the recruiting efforts should be more heavily focused.

Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Losing Commitments
QB 2 1 1 1 1 1
RB 1 2 2 0 1 2
WR 4 2 1 2 3 2
TE/FB 1 1 2 2 2 1
OL 6 2 3 3 3 4
DL 5 5 3 2 2 3
LB 5 3 3 2 2 3
CB 4 2 2 0 0 3
S 2 0 3 2 3 3

*Note: I assumed Landon Collins, Amari Cooper, and T.J. Yeldon would leave for the NFL, and put Bo Scarbrough as a commit for next year.

The first thing to jump out at me is the lack of depth at safety. Most positions have more Freshman and Sophomores than Juniors and Seniors, but not the safety position. Jarrick Williams and Nick Perry will both be gone after this year, and with Collins likely to make the jump to NFL, we are left with Jabriel Washington and Geno Smith (assuming he even is still a safety) as seniors. Hootie Jones and Ronnie Clark are both on campus now, but those will be the only four left. That is scary.

So what does Nick Saban do? Go out and get commitments from Deionte Thompson, Ronnie Harrison, and Shawn Burgess-Becker (who happens to be in contention for my early favorite in this class). Pretty cool, right? Saban is one organized man and a master recruiter. I am constantly in awe of how well he manages this roster.

So, as of right now, I'm compiling my own database of recruits- their measurables, rankings, etc.- and my next article will be about the process I use to scout and compare players. Hopefully the rest of you will find it as interesting as I do. Once that is out of the way, we can start breaking things down, position-by-position. (If I ever manage to figure out how to get the .gifs to work like I want...)

So let's get ready to kick this season off with a bang, and remember that it started with what was once a small spark.

Roll Tide!