In 2013, Alabama nabbed elite lineman A'Shawn Robinson from under the noses of the Texas schools. Last year, the Tide pulled the freakishly athletic corner, Tony Brown, from the same place. Alabama continued this streak in 2015 with the commitment of Kendall Sheffield.
Sheffield is the top ranked cornerback in the nation by Scout.com, and is a five-star player on every major recruiting site except Rivals.com. 247Sports composite rankings list Sheffield as the 3rd best corner in the nation, and the 18th overall player.
At 6'0" 181 pounds, Sheffield has the length to succeed as an outside cornerback at the college level, but could afford to put on some more muscle to his slight frame. At Nike's SPARQ combine, Sheffield ran a 4.48 forty-yard dash, along with a blistering 4.09 twenty-yard shuttle and an explosive 41-inch vertical jump. His final SPARQ score was a 119.58, (here is my article on the components of SPARQ) which puts Sheffield in the top 3.3% of all high school cornerbacks in pure athleticism. He also has unofficially been clocked at running as high as 4.36 forty-yard dash.
Sheffield is an elite athlete, and his speed and fluidity really stand out on the field. He is an impressive man-cover corner who has the ability to be left alone on an island with any receiver. Sheffield can backpedal and flip his hips with a smoothness that even ice-skaters dream of having, and has the recovery speed to catch back up with a receiver if he is beaten. And look, Alabama fans, he can even cover deep bombs on the right sideline!
Sheffield is also impressive with the ball in his hands as a receiver and kick returner, and could possibly factor in for Bama as a return man with the graduation of senior Christion Jones.
Sheffield endured a fair amount of criticism for his tackling ability through his sophomore and junior years, so it seemed as if he focused on that aspect throughout his senior year. He is willing to come up to support in the run game and goes for the tackles fearlessly. He will need to add some size to his frame upon transitioning to college though, or he may struggle as a tackler at the next level.
Sheffield is an elite talent that has the potential to come in and contribute immediately. On Alabama's roster, nobody ever truly locked down the corner spot opposite of Cyrus Jones this season, so Sheffield will have to opportunity to put himself in the mix for that position in 2015.